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William Shatner raises horses, flies airplanes and rides motorcycles, but the erstwhile Capt. Kirk is about to boldly go where he has never gone before: The 84-year-old actor and irony mascot will throw a leg over the saddle of a custom-made three-wheeler and “trek” across the U.S.
Shatner takes off Tuesday morning from Chicago on an eight-day, 2,400-mile odyssey aboard the retro-futuristic Rivet One, built by American Wrench, a custom motorcycle manufacturer in Aurora, Ill. (putative setting of SNL‘s “Wayne’s World” sketch). The tour will stop in St. Louis, Kansas City, Las Vegas and four other cities before ending in Shatner’s hometown of L.A. on June 30
“I visited the bike yesterday, and it spoke very softly to me,” Shatner told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview Monday from Chicago. “ ‘I’ll be ready,’ it said in a whisper.”
Whether Shatner is fully prepared is another matter. As of Monday, he still hadn’t ridden the 1,000-pound behemoth with a 500-horsepower Cadillac engine. The longest motorcycle trip Shatner has taken until now is about 100 miles, he said. The first, and shortest, leg of this trip is 300 miles. He was anxious about the Midwest’s summertime thunderstorms and looking forward to the daily weather reports he’ll receive directly from Al Roker. He even consulted a psychic.
A support crew of 24 will travel with Shatner, including two mechanics, three Rivet staffers, four American Legion members and multiple cameramen who will film a documentary of the journey. Also along for the ride is Shatner’s wife, Elizabeth.
“This whole thing is a test for our marriage,” Shatner said. “It’s what every couple should do. Instead of seeing a marriage counselor, I recommend two seats on a motorcycle.”
Shatner was signing autographs at Comic-Con in Chicago two years ago when an American Wrench employee approached him about co-designing a motorcycle. Shatner said yes and is now a co-owner of Rivet Motors, the company formed by American Wrench to build the bike. Shatner’s design contributions were limited to the suggestions that it should have two wheels in the back — he had recently fallen off his own cycle and wanted to avoid a repeat performance — and that it emulate the shape of a wing on a Bombardier jet.
“The difference between any other motorcycle you could name and Rivet is the difference between the Taj Mahal and a little mud hut,” said Shatner.
If all goes well, Shatner plans to set the phasers to stun. He’ll be back in the saddle on another, all-electric Rivet prototype for a trip to Europe.
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