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Freedom on two wheels

A Canadian opera singer escapes his problems by hopping on his motorcycle.<br />

Name: Ben Heppner

What’s he famous for: A renowned Canadian operatic and classical tenor who is starring in Stratford Summer Music’s 10th Anniversary season from July 19 to 22. Heppner will be doing a master class, a concert repertoire and starring in three one-hour shows as part of the festival program.

What he drives: A 2005 silver Honda VTX 1300. It’s a cruiser-style, two cylinder motorcycle. People always ask, “How fast is it?” and I say, “It’s more like a really cool tractor.” (laughs) It’s very well balanced.

What drew you to bikes? How do you say this in English? A mid-life crisis (laughs). I had never ridden a motorcycle before 2002. I’d always wanted one but for various reasons, not the least of which, I was a bit afraid of them. You know, it takes a bit of courage to get on those things. So in 2002, I did my tests, but didn’t buy my motorcycle right away. I waited until 2006 to buy my bike.

What do you love most about being on your bike? I love the freedom of it. I love the journey and I love the destination. I’m not really interested in fast. I tell people, I’m not really interested in speed, I’m interested in ostentation. I don’t feel a need to get something bigger, stronger, faster. You know, you can’t concentrate on your troubles when you’re on a motorbike.

Do you have your eyes set on another bike, a dream motorcycle? I like the Honda ST 1300. I’m not really sure that I would want a Goldwing. But I like some of the big cruisers. My style is touring. What I love is touring, although I don’t get too many days where I can get away for a week on my bike. I’m away so much of the year for work, so I can’t exactly come home and say “Hi sweetheart, I’m now leaving for a week on my motorcycle.” I do have a slight fascination with the new three-wheeled Pan Am Spider.


Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked at Homemakers,Canadian Living, Canadian House & Homeand, most recently,Hello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.

 
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