William H. Macy and 'Shameless' Costars Search for Freedom on Their Harleys

The actor, inspired by wife Felicity Huffman, sets out to discover the meaning of freedom in America

Photo: JB Lacroix/Wireimage

William H. Macy and his Shameless costars Justin Chatwin and Steve Howey took off on a 900-mile motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to Aspen in search of freedom, a quest that was inspired in part by Macy’s wife, Felicity Huffman, who asked him to describe his love for his Harley Davidson.

“Felicity was saying one time, ‘Well what is it? You don’t like to ride in a car, how come the motorcycle, which is a lot more uncomfortable, how come that’s so great?’ ” he told PEOPLE exclusively. “It’s freedom, it’s such freedom. And she said, ‘Well there’s the road, what do you mean by freedom?’ So that was the kickoff point.”

Macy, 63, exclusively released to PEOPLE the video of his adventure with his castmates, who helped him to search the open road last summer for a better understanding of the elusive concept of freedom. They hoped to define it for themselves and to learn what it meant to those whom they encountered along the way.

Macy explained that while they weren’t able to pin down a definition, they found a deep connection with one another. “I’m afraid [freedom is] relative to each person and that’s what we found out, but boy, there sure is a feeling that the three of us shared when you’re on the road,” he said.

“There’s a fraternity, a confraternity, a tribe, if you will, of bikers,” he said. “Truthfully, I don’t spend that much time in the company of men. I mostly go to work and have my family. And so I find it so wonderful and refreshing and non-threatening too, because we all … got something in common, which is the road, which is the bikes.”

The trio rode their Harleys up to eight or nine hours a day, and Macy admitted that the long rides could be a pain in the you-know-where.

“As you’re riding along you go over on your right cheek until that starts to hurt and then you’d go on your left cheek,” he said, somewhat kiddingly.

Macy’s love affair with Harleys began while he was filming Wild Hogs. “I just loved it and loved the guys that I rode with, John Travolta and all those guys, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence.”

Macy added that he plans to take another road trip soon with Chatwin and Howey. Meanwhile, the fourth season of Shameless premieres Sunday, Jan. 12, on Showtime.

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