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There are few people that embody the two-wheel lifestyle quite like Nevada native Drake McElroy. Even his chest bears a tattoo that states "Forever two wheels." Drake's an interesting dude in any crowd and it's because of this that the fine folks at Red Bull and Fuel TV have decided to display his exploits for all to see.
It's sort of a cross between a travel show and 'Jackass,' where McElroy is dropped into compromising (read: oft embarrassing) situations all over the globe. He's a good-natured dude, so it's easy to follow along on for the ride. Great entertainment value for the money.
I caught up with Mr. McElroy enjoying Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana.
|Drake McElroy chops it up at the infamous Ace Cafe in London, England -- one of the many cities he's visited while filming Drake's Passage.|
ESPN.com: So how did you get roped into doing this show?
McElroy: Well, back in 2007/2008 I tried to get on a road trip in the country of Japan, all on motorcycles, but for some reason it wasn't really happening. Then I got approached by Red Bull and one of their producers, Jordan Miller. It was Jordan who kind of came up with what we've got now.
How does the actual production work?
It's really simple. We did the whole season basically on no budget. The first season we did in Cairo and Moscow, we did some piggyback with Fuel TV and ended up using whoever was shooting the Daily Update show to roam around to shoot some footage for us. Then we found space and time for cameraman Dave Mavro, who is a wonderful human being ... very talented and probably the most important part of our team. Other than that it's (Producer) Jordan handling Red Bull's money, Dave on the camera and my face feeling awkward and getting into mischief. (laughs)
What's the dumbest thing you have done so far?
Play cricket! (laughing) By far. I'm not a stick and ball dude. I kind of grew up always with motorcycles and bicycles and boards and stuff like that, so I lag in the 'All-American' department of sports. Playing cricket was a big slap in the face, but it was fun at the same time. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger I guess.
|The man, the myth, the legend Drake McElroy rips around the rugged streets of Cairo, Egypt during the filming of season one.|
Have you had any "dodgy" moments when you have been traveling to do this stuff?
Oh, many, many dodgy moments. We're flying by the seat of our pants most of the time. We kind of made up the formula as we went along. We had some real moments when we were in Mexico City shooting the lucha libre piece. We were in this building in the hood of Mexico City, this old abandoned place that looked like a set from the movie "Bloodsport" or something. There was one old wrestling ring in the center of the place and we met these three crazy lucha libre guys. Now I'm never really sure of what we are doing, so I just kind of do it. I'm in the ring with these dudes and I have on whatever I was wearing, minus a shirt, plus some awesome mask (laughs) and these dudes were just speaking Spanish to me because no one there spoke English. We had a translator there, but he was not really feeding me all of the information. This dude was there and it was one of those "me flop, you chunk" kind of moments. Then he started slapping the s--t out of me on the chest. There were a lot of surprising moments like that.
Oh, there were other moments ... Like eating tongue tacos off the back of a '79 Chevy pickup truck. They were sitting in a five-gallon bucket, miles away from ice and refrigeration. I said, "OK, how many limes you got? Five limes? I'll take all five." I made sure I was drinking tequila or Mescal for the next ninety minutes. I had at least six before sundown.
The only way to save yourself ...
We also got invited to these people's house in the City of the Dead in Egypt. It's probably the heaviest s--t I have ever seen in my life. These people live, like, IN the old cemetery. It was a trip -- they were the poorest people I have ever seen and associated with. It was really sad, but you know, it's the way the world works. I have seen so many things that are burned into my brain forever. On the life and bucket list kind of stuff, it's been amazing.
Who is the most interesting person you've met so far?
Oh man ... the most interesting person I met so far was probably the person I spoke the fewest words with. This dude they call "Super Ted," he's a Londoner and is crazy into fixed gear bikes and stuff. Actually just a two-wheeled dude in general. He did a lot of BMX stuff and some heavy mountain bike stuff and he was making his own fixie frames and street riding the big wheel bikes. He was super cool and super mellow, but you could definitely tell there was something going on behind the eyes. Then on the same trip we met this guy called Bobby George, who was the crazy Mad Mike Jones of the dart-throwing world. I could see this guy maybe having a scuffle at the border. He was a crazy individual. We really seemed to bring out the characters for this show.
|Drake does his best to enjoy all that Madrid, Spain has to offer.|
So what's the value of the "fixer" that you always have at each location?
Huge! The "fixer" is the low-key, fancy word for the dude that is basically our translator and kind of gets us into trouble. It's like fishing a little bit, we throw a line out and find a fixer and we give him some guidelines like "we want to get into mischief, we want to keep it natural, we want to get off the beaten path." The guys come back with great stuff and they are always easy to work with because we change our minds and our plans at the last minute all the time. It's always a little bit of adventure. When you're in a place like Moscow or something, there's not a lot of English that goes on there and the culture is different. You're really far from home and if you were just straight flying by the seat of your pants with no translator it would be nuts man!
Where are you heading to next?
Sydney will be the next one we film, which will be really cool. The continent of Australia is one of the best places I think you could ever go. Friendly people and good times. So I'm really excited. Behind the scenes and in the producing world we have people "reproducing" (Producer Jordan Miller just had child number two), so we are kind of on hold for a month or so.
Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere?
Proper wild Africa. Mingle with some crazy tribal locals and ride dirt bikes and get down with some safari stuff. Or I wouldn't mind seeing Iceland. That would be something pretty cool I think ... go visit Bjork. (laughs)
Drake's new show, Drake's Passage, debuts on Fuel TV, Monday August 15.