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Actor Sebastian Pigott enjoys the bare-bones nature of his Honda motorcycle.

Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Sebastian Pigott

Profession: Actor and musician

Age: 28

Hometown: Toronto

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Notable achievements

  • Finished in top 10 in Canadian Idol Season 6
  • Plays in a band called Pigott Brothers with his brother Oliver
  • Released debut album Pigottry in 2009
  • Acting credits include The Listener, Heartland, The Border, Deadliest Sea, SAW 3D, Small Town Murder Songs
  • Plays Kai Booker, Erica’s on-again-off-again boyfriend on CBC’s Being Erica; the show’s fourth season starts Sept. 26

Upcoming

  • Appears in upcoming film High Chicago and the TMN movie Committed
  • His first screenplay, The Two Deaths of Henry Baker, was just optioned

He first came on the scene as a singer, finishing in the top 10 of Canadian Idol Season 6. Nowadays, Sebastian Pigott stars in CBC's Being Erica. But he has other passions besides music and acting.

Riding motorcycles also shares space atop his list of loves. It's a new-found infatuation which started after he bought his first bike, a Honda Rebel 250, last year. And he's already upgraded to a bigger two-wheeler – a 2011 Honda Shadow RS 750.

Why did you buy a Honda bike?

Frankly, I got it because I was tired of failing my driver's test.

I knew I could pass a written test and get a motorcycle. I was passionate about it and I bought a Honda 250 because they're plug-and-play bikes.

It's not like it's a Harley Davidson where you always get your hands dirty. Harleys are for people who really like to tinker and I just like to ride. So I got a Honda Rebel 250-cc – a starter bike and I drove all over the province and I got into fishing.

As a city boy, exploring the most rural parts of Ontario really turned my crank and brought out the romantic in me.

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How many times did you fail your driver's test?

Back in high school I failed it twice.

It just made me gun shy ... When I thought about taking the driving test it gave me the willies. That's where I got the idea to get the bike originally.

What does a Honda Shadow RS say about you?

It's a really stripped-down bike. That's what I like about it. There's nothing fancy about it. It's really bare bones.

It's got a hell of an engine in it; it's fuel-injected. And you can take it anywhere. It's more about substance than flash. But I think it looks bad ass in a really meat-and-potatoes way. I love it. She's just a beauty.

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How do people react when they see you on this "bad-ass bike?"

Ha. I hope they're impressed. I love the bike.

You see other people on bikes and you immediately have an affinity. For me it's a lot about fishing, being out on my own.

I do a lot of writing. If I'm preparing a script, I'll get on the bike and in 45 minutes I can be out of the city, sitting by a river, writing.

The wonderful thing about it is when you're on a bike you can't do anything else. It's not like being in a car. It's a totally different experience – you can't drink a coffee or listen to the radio.

It can be quite Zen. All you can do is drive. You have to stay present.

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It's a real endurance test. I did a 14-hour drive to northern Ontario. I love the meditative, Zen quality of riding.

Do you like to drive fast?

Yes. Sure the more speed you have, the more fun it is.

But I'm definitely afraid of dying on a motorcycle so I keep it pretty real. I don't push it too much. No speeding tickets, yet.

I'd love to get it on a track and just open it up. I've never touched the top; I've never opened it up.

I've had it up to 150 for moments here and there to get the feel of it. I'd love to touch the top of the range on that thing.

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Any mishaps on the bike?

It freaked the hell out of me the first time I got up to speed. I got up to 80 km/h and I thought I was going to poop my pants!

It's insane, man. I thought I would die. The 250 was incredibly light – a couple of times I'd have to pull over because the wind would lean you right over and blow you literally off the road. It took me a long time to get comfortable.

Last year, I didn't know what I was doing; I was new to bikes.

I overfilled my oil on my Honda Rebel and I was trying to drive up to Alberta for a concert. I got to Espanola and my bike broke down because I overfilled the oil. The air filter was all clogged up so I was stuck in Sudbury.

I'm sitting on the side of the road with my manual and screwdriver and this guy on a Harley saw me looking up with doe eyes completely lost and took pity on me. He took me to this body shop and in exchange for a case of beer they hoisted my bike up, fixed it and I went on my way.

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What does your mom think about you riding a motorcycle?

She doesn't like it. But thankfully I'm at the age where she can't tell me what to do.

When I was about 10 I saw this guy drive by on a racing bike and I remember saying, "I'm going to get one of those, ma." And she said, "Over my dead body."

When I was a boy my father passed away and when he found out he was sick my mom asked what would you like to do with the time you've got left? One of the things he said he wanted to do was ride a motorcycle across Canada. He never got the chance to do it.

I don't know if subconsciously it fed my desire to ride. I'd love to do that trip. We live in such a beautiful country and I never really started discovering it until I got the bike.

What bike would you like to add to your garage?

I'd like to try an old Triumph. I love retro and I love basic meat-and-potatoes stuff. Those old Triumphs – that's the real stuff.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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