Oh, Ride with Norman Reedus, how I love thee.
We’re only in the third week of Reedus’ new AMC motorcycle travel series, so it’s still cool to gush about it, right? I swoon over everything this show has to offer: the commentary, the cinematography, the sense of adventure. And, tonight, my ever-expanding enamor with the show includes Jason Paul Michaels.
If you’ve been tuning in (which, c’mon, you should be), you know that each week The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus grabs a bike, a fellow gearhead — or three — and hits the road to explore iconic biker routes and local businesses along the way.
Last week, it was Death Valley with Balthazar Getty and the badass chicks from Babes Ride Out. This week, though, Reedus picked up Michaels in Atlanta, and the two took on the Great Smoky Mountains’ beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, the “Dragon” and Fontana Dam.
They cruised through Asheville as well, where they spent a rowdy night partying with the good people at A Broken Spoke motorcycle shop.
Throughout the episode, I couldn’t help but wonder about Michaels. At the risk of sounding superficial, this guy is pretty darn good-looking. But above and beyond that, he was incredibly charming, funny and well-informed about biker culture.
So what’s the 4-1-1 on Reedus’ Smoky Mountains biker buddy? Here are a few interesting tidbits I unearthed in my sleuthing.
1. He’s been a gearhead since the age of seven
On this week’s episode, Michaels alludes to the fact that he started pulling the filter off his lawn-mower-powered mini-bike at the age of seven to find a way to increase air intake. What we didn’t hear is that he wound up doing precisely that by cutting up and using some pantyhose he, ahem, borrowed from a local department store. He soon moved onto popping wheelies on a Kawasaki KX80 to impress girls riding the bus he passed by on his way to school.
2. He’s head over heels for his wife — who’s also a biker
A quote on Michaels’ site bio reads, “My teeth chatter, my bones ache, my soul shakes and my heart only stops for two things: my lovely and amazing wife and the other love of my life, motorcycles.” Fortunately, his wife doesn’t mind sharing his affection with a few motorcycles since she happens to be a biker babe herself. Named Leticia Cline (known as Letti), she describes herself as a “writer and rider” who “grew up with my dad building bikes in the living room of our house.”
3. He’s viral
Well, to clarify, he has gone viral… along with Letti. Last year, David Tinsley, founder of TinMen Productions, pitched an idea to Michaels — why not shoot a video showing what it’s like when he and Letti get ready, specifically that Michaels takes a comically longer time to primp than his wife? Soon after the vid was posted, it garnered in excess of 35 million views, 200k likes and 40k comments. Understandably, too, ’cause it’s on point.
4. He moonlights as a model
As a brand ambassador and modern icon of biker culture, Michaels maintains a steady stream of gigs repping well-known biker brands. His campaigns include Roland Sands Design, Triumph Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, Ural Motorcyles and more. In the biker world, he’s kind of a big deal.
5. He may work with chrome daily, but this guy’s heart is gold
In partnership with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Ride for Kids, Michaels’ company Standard Motorcycle Co. will be taking a brand new CB1100 motorcycle and rebuilding it to pay homage to Dick Mann’s iconic Honda that helped him secure a victory at the Daytona 200 in 1970. Then, they’re going to give it away. Why? To raise awareness about pediatric brain cancer, which Michaels is sharing information about on his blog and social media throughout the giveaway process.
6. He has a wolf dog
Yes, as in a dog-slash-wolf hybrid. To be precise, “he’s a timber Alaskan malamute,” Michaels told a fan on Instagram. He (the dog, not Michaels) is apparently the shop wolf, so keep that in mind should you ever make your way to see Michaels in action. Sidebar: Damn, could these people be any cooler?
7. He offers a moto-centric AirBnB
I know what you might be thinking: What exactly is a motocentric Airbnb? Well, according to Michaels, it’s “a place to host all our friends, family and wayward moto travelers that make their way down south. It’ll be complete with an outdoor shower, access to a full-service moto shop, the latest moto mags, and a set of keys to a bike from our fleet.” So, if you’re looking for a pretty fucking rad place to bed down for a night or two in the near future, look no further, my friends.