Photos by Six Speed/Drew Martin,
Paul Vincent, Christopher Rank
Kristen Lassen started riding at age 17 thanks to her dad, who made her take a class and get her motorcycle license. And once she had her license it was off to Sturgis. “We ended up riding to Sturgis from Pensacola, Florida,” she said, “and I pretty much learned to ride on that trip. Took a Sportster, explored the country and spent time getting to know my dad. That trip sucked me into it, and I couldn’t get enough of riding.”
Surprisingly, it was a motorcycle crash that launched her deeper journey into motorcycling. “We were going up to Tail of the Dragon,” she recalled. “I was sick and ended up pushing myself too hard and blacked out, going straight on a curve toward a cliff, colliding with an oncoming motorcycle. I broke a lot of stuff and spent that whole summer at my dad’s house, where he took care of me. During that time I reevaluated my life. I was in college studying Environmental Engineering and didn’t know what path I wanted to be on. I realized I really liked the motorcycle thing, so I went to the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Orlando, Florida.”
After graduating from MMI Lassen moved back to Pensacola and went to work for a Harley-Davidson dealer as a mechanic, and currently works at an independent bike shop. But beyond wrenching, motorcycles have permeated her life in every way over the past few years. “While I was in Orlando, Leticia Cline, me and a few other women started up an all-girls riding group called the Iron Lilies,” she says. “We started infiltrating the area and worked with local Harley dealers. It was super fun, and that was the first year I went to Mama Tried.”
OEMs and other companies have also taken notice of her skills, both on and off the bike. Lassen was featured in Harley-Davidson’s Live Your Legend campaign, did promotional video work for MMI, went on to do Harley’s Find Your Freedom campaign, and even starred with Jason Momoa and Ludacris in the 2018 reveal of the Harley Softail line. Just a few weeks ago she was involved with the Michelin Commander III campaign, and she’s also been hired by American Flat Track as a lifestyle photographer.
Her advice to other women who want to ride? Leave fear behind! “Fear is something a lot of women seem to struggle with when they start to ride,” she says, “and I try to remind other women that they’ll get over their fears. Fear keeps us from attaining what we want in life. Sometimes it’s difficult or scary, but if you want to do it, just go for it!”