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My Bike

Crashes can’t keep Dean McDermott down Add to ...

Dean McDermott

Profession: Actor

Age: 44

Hometown: Toronto

Notable achievements

  • Married to Mary Jo Eustace for 12 years before he hooked up with his co-star Tori Spelling on the set of the movie Mind Over Murder
  • TV and movie credits include Kiss the Bride; Always and Forever; Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe; Without A Trace; NCIS; Tori & Dean: Inn Love; Due South; Kojak
  • Received a Gemini Nomination in 1997 for Best Supporting Actor in Lives of Girls and Women

Currently

  • Stars in reality series Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, Tori & Dean’s sTORIbook-Weddings
  • Will appear in movie, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, this September

Dean McDermott’s major claim to fame is tying the knot with Hollywood actress Tori Spelling after dumping Canadian TV host Mary Jo Eustace. Nowadays, he and Spelling star in a series of hit reality TV shows and are expecting their third child this fall.

McDermott is an avid motorcycle racer and rider. He owns a 2008 AMA GSXR 1000 race bike, a 2009 Triumph Scrambler and a 2008 Ducati Sport Classic 1000 Biposto.

What’s your favourite bike?

I don’t have a favourite. They’re all different.

The GSXR is for racing; it’s pure speed and precision. It’s an incredibly crafted bike.

The Triumph is a gorgeous, beautiful-looking bike that’s sort of a tribute to Steve McQueen. It looks old school; it’s just straight up and down and it’s the most comfortable ride ever.

My Ducati I love because it was the first bike I bought living in California. It has a vintage café racer look. It has beautiful lines and it’s got power – it’s a meld between the two other bikes.

I know motorcycles. If you’re a Ducati owner you appreciate the art, the manufacturing and the motors of Ducati. A big V-twin engine that generates a ton of power. It’s a piece of art. I look at it and just gush.

Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous – as an actor, isn’t there anything in your contract forbidding you from riding?

No. The network for our show hasn’t said anything.

I did a movie and I rode my motorcycle to set all the time and they didn’t say anything, which I was surprised at. Usually they do – no skydiving, no scuba diving, no riding motorcycles.

People always say it’s dangerous and aren’t you afraid of getting hit on a motorcycle. No. I’m not being cocky. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 16.

I’m a good rider. You don’t jump on a motorcycle and check out, pump up the tunes and a/c. You’re present. That’s what’s so great about riding. You are in touch with the machine, the road, and your surroundings.

That’s the key to riding motorcycles – to be aware of your surroundings. I think so many riders aren’t and those are the ones that get taken out. I’m very confident in my riding abilities and my future as a rider.

But you’ve had a few accidents?

I crashed twice at the track, which is part of the process. Race tracks are designed for crashing.

My first crash was at 110 miles an hour. I had a quarter-size burn on my hand and that’s it. My second accident was at 60 miles an hour and I fractured my shoulder blade. But the worst one, where everybody was, like, ‘you got to stop riding motorcycles’ was on a dirt bike.

We were out on a ride – we weren’t even on the trails, doing 10 miles an hour and I ran into the back of my friend in front of me. I went up and over the handle bars, collapsed my left lung, had a rock stuck in my side – it put me in intensive care for three days. I’ve crashed at much, much higher speeds but dirt bike crashes are really, really nasty.

People say you shouldn’t race – okay, I understand what you’re saying.

But the safety level is a lot higher at a race track and the crash zones are there. Crashing in the street would be terrible at any speed – you have mailboxes, lamp posts, bus stops and other vehicles. Crashing at 110 with nothing happening to you says a lot about the sport of racing and the safety precautions.

What motivated you to get back on the bike?

It’s in your blood. Even after crashing and intensive care, I still love it.

It was my first mode of transportation. I was 16 and I got a motorcycle. To me, it equates freedom – I could go places. And it also instilled a sense of responsibility.

It defined who I was. I grew with the motorcycles. It’s in my blood – people who don’t have it, don’t understand it and I don’t expect them to because it’s difficult to explain. Motorcyclists will know what I’m talking about.

What sparked your interest in bikes?

I was living with my sister, Dawn, and her husband Ted. He was a mechanic and he had a 1973 Honda 400 Super Sport. He never rode it and it was in great condition. He was going to sell it and I needed a vehicle.

I couldn’t afford a car so I bought it off him for $700 and, boom, I had a mode of transportation. I bought it and I didn’t know how to ride. He taught me basically in front of the house. As soon as I took off, I was hooked.

Does Tori know how to ride?

I had a friend who had a Victory Trike and I got her out there.

She doesn’t know how to drive standard so I showed her how to work the throttle, clutch, and gears and away she went. She’ll never do it again.

How’s Tori doing after her car accident [on June 13]?

She’s good. The kids were in the car, too, but thank God they're all good. The car not so great.

What do you listen to when riding?

I like the older tunes. I like listening to the Doors and the Stones when I ride. Rock and roll – Zeppelin.

What other bikes have you owned?

I’ve had a Virago 1100, a Kawasaki 750, a Honda CBR600RR, a FJ1200 – my favourite bike.

There was a period when I didn’t have any bikes. My wife at the time didn’t like bikes so my FJ was sitting in the garage so I sold it and it broke my heart.

I took about a 10-11 year hiatus from motorcycling and then Tori rented me a Ducati for Father’s Day. I’d always wanted a Ducati. And that’s it – it was on again.

But isn’t Tori worried about you getting into another accident?

Totally – she’s totally worried about me all the time. As much as I tell her I know for a fact I’m not going out that way and I’m a good rider, she just won’t believe it. I’m going to live to be a ripe old age. My grandmother was 99 when she passed. I plan to do the same.

Any bike you want to add to the garage?

A Victory Cross Country. I rode one last year; it looked like a street glide. It had the short fairing and windshield in front, it had saddle bags, it had cruise control, stereo.

It was a big bike, but it rode and handled beautifully. I want to add it to the garage.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Correction: The name Ducati was spelled incorrectly in the story above. It has been corrected.

 

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