By: Red Rider Magazine staff
It isn’t every day that you have a chance to talk motorcycles with a Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who heads up all research being conducted toward the next era of mind-boggling scientific achievement in a super-secret government community founded by Albert Einstein and Harry S. Truman, a self-contained rural town that doesn’t even appear on any map. Well, we didn’t actually have the opportunity to do so either, so we did the next-best thing: We spent a morning chatting with actor Ed Quinn, who portrays Dr. Nathan Stark on the Sci-Fi Channel’s hit program Eureka, where all the aforementioned drama takes place.
Despite all the intrigue, science and fiction that Ed deals with in his professional life, when it comes to motorcycles he’s just your average dyed-in-the-wool motorcycle fanatic who loves riding sportbikes and watching races—especially live and in person whenever his busy schedule allows.
Here’s a chance to scan his brain and discover what causes Ed’s pulse rate to accelerate every time he gets near his Honda CBR1000RR.
Honda Red Rider: Where did you spend your childhood?
Ed Quinn: I grew up in northern California, in Berkeley.
HRR: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
EQ: We definitely were not a motorcycling family! My parents definitely didn’t want me to have anything to do with motorcycles. Luckily for me, my uncle Andrew was really into bikes. He raced enduros, took me dirtbike riding and took me to the motorcycle races when I was young. We went to Carnegie Cycle Park in Livermore, California, and I saw Roger DeCoster ride motocross there, along with Joel Robert. That was really something.
HRR: What about your first motorcycle?
EQ: That didn’t happen for me until I was in college. I don’t remember exactly what my first bike was; some little 200 or 250cc beater. But then around 1987 or 1988 I got my first real sportbike, a 1986 Honda Interceptor 500. I used to ride through the hills of Berkeley, and after that I was hooked! I fell in love with Hondas and I fell in love with sportbikes. That Interceptor was my first love, my baby!
HRR: What happened next?
EQ: I started working in Europe, doing modeling and commercials, and it was too hard to keep real active with motorcycles. But when I got back to L.A. my whole motorcycling world opened up again. I’ve got a Honda CBR1000RR now and I love riding in the canyons whenever I can. The show I’m working on, Eureka, is shot up in Canada, so sometimes I’m gone for long periods of time. But when I get home, I get out and do some riding every chance I get!
HRR: So you’ve got a Honda CBR1000RR in your garage; what was it about that machine that made it your bike of choice?
EQ: I just feel at home on a CBR. Maybe it was learning on the ’86 Interceptor 500 or maybe it just fits my riding style. I don’t know...but what I do know is that there is no other bike that comes close.
HRR: Where do you like to ride when you’re in town?
EQ: Mainly the Malibu canyons. I just love the freedom and the space out there. I love cruising around town, too. But the canyons are where it all comes together.
HRR: Do you like to ride with other actor types, or do you have friends who are just motorcycling buddies?
EQ: I do have a group of “Hollywood types” I ride with. David Alan Grier and I have been riding together for years. And I’ve learned quite a bit about racing from actor Ingo Rademacher, director Ben Younger and French photographer JC Dhien. They have quite a bit more track experience than I do, so it’s great to be able to pick their brains before I tackle a new course.
HRR: You’ve ridden up to Laguna Seca to attend the MotoGP races in past years. What are some of your favorite memories from those trips?
EQ: It’s The Best Weekend of the Year—every year. The ride up from Southern California through the back roads is unbelievable! Such great roads and such an adventure. Then the races—wow! The past two years I had a chance to meet Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau and Nicky Hayden and John “Hopper” Hopkins and Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. Witnessing Nicky’s maiden victory and his follow-up win, getting to do two laps as a passenger on Randy Mamola’s two-seater race bike, cleaning up in the betting pool by calling the Team Repsol 1-2 finish last year—and on and on. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you have to go to a MotoGP at least once. You just have to.
HRR: You also said you like to do track days. Tell us about what you’ve learned at the track and why you like to ride there.
EQ: You’ll never know what your bike is capable of until you get it on the track. Period. It’s a whole new world. It’s a safe, controlled environment and it’s just you and your bike pushing the limits. And if you can attend a race school, your riding skills will increase tenfold. I was lucky enough to attend Freddie Spencer’s school in Las Vegas and it changed my life.
Originally published in the December 2009 issue of Honda Red Rider Magazine.