For Yannick Bisson, whose first crash—into a brick wall—came when he was only three years old, spills are inevitable, especially when you were born to ride. “I ride as many precious minutes as I can fit in,” said the 45-yearold star of the popular CBC series Murdoch Mysteries. “I’ve even given up playing golf because I would rather ride for two hours than spend five hours playing badly.”
This past winter, Bisson was in Los Angeles taking a “work vacation” and recovering from what he dubs “a stack-up.” Cycling was a prominent weekly activity during his West Coast sojourn. There were leisurely rides on the Santa Monica boardwalk with his daughter Dominique and exploring the trails in the surrounding mountains. He had a chance encounter with pro enduro rider Curtis Keene.
The Toronto-based actor also had a good spill. “The trail had these beautiful long sweepers and lots of jumps,” Bisson recalled. “I was cooking along pretty good. I hit this one jump and realized the landing was on the other side of a gulley. I was not going fast enough to make it and I couldn’t stop either because of the sandy composition of the soil. I slid and fell into the gulley, my hydraulic seat exploded, and I tore my calf.”
Yannick Bisson Fast Facts
|Profession||Actor. TV: Murdoch Mysteries, Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye, High Tide, Soul Food; Film: Casino Jack, Nothing Really Matters|
|Bikes||Santa Cruz Blur TR-c, Santa Cruz V10 (2014 factory model)|
As his acting career continues a steep ascent—with June marking the start of production of the eighth season of Murdoch Mysteries and with several other projects in the works—the thrill of careening downhill on his mountain bike, spills and all, grounds him. “My bike has always been this great vehicle for autonomy and freedom,” Bisson said. “It might sound clichéd, but cycling was a saviour when I hit my 30s. I went through a stretch where I was going through some depression. I thought back on my life and remembered the times where I was the happiest and about something that brought me the greatest joy. For me, that’s always been riding my bike.”
Bisson enjoys being out in nature, the physical challenges of cycling and the adrenaline rush as he pushes himself continually to ride more aggressively. The actor admits he loves the technical, mechanical elements, too. “I’m always tinkering with my bikes. There are always new parts arriving to our house,” he said.
Bisson’s wife Chantal Craig has a Santa Cruz Blur TR, like her husband. Their daughter Brianna owns a 29er for riding with her friends. “I’m slowly having an effect on all of them,” he said with a laugh.
The actor’s youngest daughter, Mikaela, is a bit of an exception. She was really keen to ride when she was a teen. Dad took her out to Toronto’s Don Valley trails for her first ride. Unfortunately, a rider cut her off and ran her into a guard rail. “That spooked her,” Bisson said. “She hit her hand and she’s never touched a bike since. People forget they damage the popularity of the sport by doing that stuff.”
Whether it’s close to home in the Don Valley or pounding the pedals on some daring descent in places such as Whistler, B.C., Costa Rica, Bromont, Que., and Dawson City, Yukon, cycling, for Bisson, is the perfect escape. “It’s something different than work and the everyday pressures,” he said. “Especially now as things are gaining popularity, it’s great to still hang out with friends you’ve had for a long time and do the things you enjoy doing together.”