Where my tribe calls, I will come. I made the 1,000 miles trek to and from Orlando for a quick day of hanging out with my girls. I couldn't have asked for a better time full of great riding, eating, and laughing. I love you all, and I love you, Orlando!
I was honored to be invited to Savannah, GA for the first annual Victory Moto Show this last Veteran's Day. It was a vintage motorcycle show benefiting the local Tiny House Project which builds homes for homeless veterans in the Savannah area. The show was absolutely phenomenal and I was beyond stoked to have my best friend, Giselle ride from Orlando (on the FXR in the video) and my friend Dave ride from Virginia to support.
This was a weekend for the books. I broke in my motorcycle on the first leg of the trip. It was ~500 miles of backroads to Savannah, and then a quick jaunt on the highway to get back home. So, I got back home ready for a 1K. Stay tuned for the next adventure!
About a week before the new 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles were shown to the world, I got a call. I about pee'd myself when I found out that Harley wanted to include me in the reveal of their beautiful lineup. 10 people from all different backgrounds and all over the world were chosen to reveal the motorcycles, and how in the world did I get so lucky?! I won't question it, but I do want to say thank you to everyone who has believed in me on this journey. I love sharing the passion for two-wheels with you all. The community of Harley riders is one that I am ultimately grateful for. You all just get it.
I am SO honored to be receiving a 2018 Softail hopefully in October. I will then be able to give you guys a first hand look at all the changes/upgrades/rideability factors. Until then, I hope you guys have gotten the chance to take them on a spin!
Stay safe, take care, and enjoy the road yall!
The Heritage Run was a 6,500+ mile trip from Florida to California and back with people who became like family to me. We spent 24 days uncovering stories from the road and all the people that we met along the way.
People from all over the country stepped up and lent a hand, a place to stay, or a meal to share as we made the trek. I think that's one of the most beautiful things about adventuring with today's technology. Social media allowed us to expand our network of like-minded riders who give a damn.
The adventure was perfect. Perfect in the sense that I've accepted all of it's harshness and the rollercoasters that came with it. Going into a trip like this, you have to accept the inevitable. This shit will be hard. You're going to spend time with people in the lowest of lows, and you have to fight it all together. As I'm writing this, one specific time comes to mind.
While traveling through Arizona, making our way to Nevada, we encountered the desert heat at an extreme that was almost unbearable. Well, actually, it was unbearable. The temperature had rose to 118 degrees and we got stuck in a ride through a canyon, with the rock walls acting as an oven furnace baking us inside of it. I literally felt like my skin was peeling back as I was riding. Luckily, we had our Sena Bluetooth headsets connected to each rider, and I could hear everyone else screaming and feeling just as much of the burn as I did. Not that I wished that upon anyone else.. but at least I knew we could communicate through it together.
The canyon seemed like it would never end, and there was no exit was in sight. We finally had the chance to pull off, after what seemed like an eternity as we watched our engine temperatures rise at an alarming rate. The exit had nothing but a small overpass where we could seek refuge. Meanwhile, some miles away, we could see a storm brewing over the mountains.. but it didn't seem like it would hit us anytime soon with relief. We were out of water, and we laid out on the rocks for a solid hour trying to regain our right states of mind.
Jimmy, one of the other riders who was somewhat familiar with the area, was adamant that another exit was only about 5 minutes down the road where we could get water. We decided that we would only make the move together as a unit and only when the bikes cooled down. When we got back on the road, 5 minutes turned into 30 minutes of that blistering hot weather and we felt that same terror all over again until we hit the exit.
We stopped at a McDonalds (not my preferred choice, but it had A/C at least) and we met 3 other riders from Canada who were making the trip out to California for Born Free as well! They were escaping from the same heat, but had been smart enough to strap bags of ice to their gas tanks to relieve them along the way. We sought out refuge at this McDonald's sharing tales from our respective journeys.
We met up with the Canadian riders again in California. It's funny how things work out.
I crossed a few bucket list items off on this trip as well. We summited Pike's Peak for the first time collectively. My bike with its carburetor handled beautifully up the 14,000+ feet of mountain range thanks to throwing on a more exposed air filter by Kuryakyn before the trip. All loaded up on my bagger, me and all my 115 pounds could handle those switchbacks and tight curves easily, but the only struggle I think throughout the ride was trying not to look down the mountain and feel afraid. That would be quite the fall! There wasn't much room for error on this ride, as there are not many guard rails to potentially save you. But I think that's part of the excitement. We made it through, and still are living to tell the tale and ride on.
Our timeline had us arriving in Costa Mesa, CA just in time for the Born Free Stampede, where Jimmy would park his Indian Chieftan and hop on one of Roland Sand's SuperHooligan Indian Scouts (about 500lbs lighter) to race flat track.
As a rider in the dirt and a professional freestyle motocross rider, Jimmy had gotten his endorsement to ride the road for this trip specifically. I loved seeing this transition, and hearing the differences that road-riding offered riders that had never dived into the sort. I remember him at first feeling overwhelmed with the monotony of the road as we made our way to Atlanta. As we started to cross into the more desolate riding with the most incredible views, he would stand up on his motorcycle and exclaim about how freeing the experience felt.
Giselle, my best friend, has had her license for about 4 years now and was riding her Iron 883 Sportster the whole way and handled it so gracefully. Her longest trip had been about 12 hours from Orlando, FL to New Orleans, LA. It was amazing to be a part of her journey through the ever-changing landscapes that America's roads provide as we ventured forward. She remained tough throughout the whole experience, through the ups and the downs. This trip was a highlight of our friendship, and a memory that I will cherish forever. I just packed up and moved 8 hours from her, and we deemed this a parting gift to each other.
Pedro, a fellow Motorcycle Mechanics Institute graduate, came to the USA from Portugal 2 years ago and had never road much past Florida's borders. With a limited image of what America had to offer, his views broadened as each mile passed. He was quick to take the lead and ride his own ride whenever possible to enjoy the pure power of his Dyna FXDX. I will admit, I was afraid a few times. We would lose sight of him for what seemed like forever, but as soon as a gas station would come about on the side of the road, there he would be with a smile that went from ear to ear.
There are so many tales from the trip that I could sit here forever trying to articulate. But for now, I will leave you with this: get out there and seek your own adventure. Don't be afraid of the what-if's. Handle them as they come. This was my first time leading a ride, and the first trip of this magnitude without my dad by my side. WE MADE IT BACK. And we came back stronger with the lessons that only something like this will provide.
Until next time!
Last Novemeber I went on the trip of a lifetime to Australia and little did I know that I would make friends that would become family in such a short amount of time. I just found this memory card (and this is just a SMALL portion of the times, and well before I made GoPro-ing a habit) and wanted to put this together to say thank you to those who took me in and shared a piece of their life with me. I am forever grateful.
Sammy - @sammyharlee
Kate - @katedisherquill
Heleana - @invenusveritas
Adrian - @yo_adrian_i_did_it
Rising Sun Workshop - @risingsunworkshop
Hoops - Rules
Took a ride to Cocoa Beach with my girls from the Iron Lilies to soak up some Florida sun! Join in!
Took the Sporty out for a cruise to Alexander Springs. For winter time, we sure are spoiled in Florida enough to enjoy trips to the springs. I will be planning to make my rounds to more of the springs and National Parks of Florida over the next few months, so if you have any suggestions comment below!
Today I spent the day riding through my hometown's beaches alongside these beautiful ladies and pups! I even had Miso (pup on the right) join me for a sidecar ride. I really couldn't ask for a better way to end my visit.
I'm so happy to be able to connect with so many awesome women around me. I used to ride alone or only with my dad when I was in high school, but now coming back home means my circle has widened! So much love to these ladies, @anna_kaia and @alishamyers3, I just cannot wait to come back and explore more with you two!
Over a century ago, an icon named Bessie Coleman was born. Bessie was the world’s first African American woman pilot, and the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license. Born in January of 1892, she entered our world with an innate yearning to “amount to something,” no matter the odds stacked against her. And those odds stood substantially against her, both as an African/Native American and a female of the South before the era of Civil Rights in America.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was set into effect, African Americans were still fighting an uphill battle at the turn of the century in order to gain their basic rights as citizens of the United States. Turmoil stirred throughout the black communities as racism grew rampantly with the rise of the violent extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the enforcement of “Jim Crow laws” leading to segregation in public facilities. With little to no rights, most blacks were subjected to a life poverty and in order to have any chance at livelihood many black Southerners took jobs on White-owned lands as sharecroppers, reverting back to a life of slavery under the guise of “indebtedness.”
As the child of sharecroppers, Bessie by no means had a ticket to success. In a world where every right was being pried away and people were dying left and right due to the color of their skin, her story brings about a true lesson of tenacity and the power of having a dream.
---> For full story, head over to In Venus Veritas
This video is the last in the series, and includes scenes from Kingman, AZ, the Million Dollar Highway, Grand Canyon South Bend, Horseshoe Bend, my Uncle Roy's farm, and Blip Coffee Roasters.
Video is in memory of my Uncle Roy, who gave me the early 1900's square socket set in the video, that passed away not even a week after the visit. We love you and miss you so.
I am so excited to share with you guys Part Two of the little vlog series I put together from my Dad and I's trip together this summer. Part two includes: California at the Born Free Show, Las Vegas with the lovely ladies of the Litas, and the Hoover Dam.
If you missed Part One, check it out here!
Since I was 17, my dad and I have been taking cross country trips on our motorcycles together. This year, I took off 3 weeks from school and my dad took 3 weeks off from work and we road tripped in celebration of Father's Day.
My dad had spent his weekends off for the past several months rebuilding a 1997 Ultra Classic for me to ride on this trip. When I arrived back home, we still had quite a bit of work to do. Seen in the clips, we take over his space in the shop and bring the bike to life. This trip was essentially the test ride.
Part one of this video includes us from Florida - Memphis, TN - Rodneys Cycle House in Little Rock, AR - Mojave Desert in CA.
Stay tuned for more parts of this trip to come in the following weeks! Hope you all enjoy.
Watch PART TWO here!
December 26, 2015
The past Christmas break, my oldest brother had been able to come visit us in Florida. Both he and I have a vested interest in Japan and it's culture and aesthetic. Since he left his koi behind at home, I thought it would be a great chance to check out the Morikami Gardens and Museum in Del Ray. After a three hour drive, it did not disappoint.
We made it in time to join the guided tour, but with the drive we all decided to pop into the restaurant that was conveniently located inside the gardens. The menu consisted of various sushi rolls, bento boxes, and noodle bowls among other dishes. It was quite packed the day after Christmas, but it seems as though it's a hot spot regularly as their staff delivered quick and wonderful service.
Although we passed on the guided tour, Morikami offers a self-guided tour through a website on your phone. It walks you through each section of the park as you pass through, sharing history and significant details. Many people even seemed to opt for a relaxing stroll through the gardens without the tour.
Bridges, gardens, architecture, bamboo, zen gardens, waterfalls, koi fish, and a bird that was reluctant to leave our sides- I'd say Morikami Gardens went well beyond our expectations. The event calendar on the website shows that the place is frequented by workshops, festivals, and other interesting events that would be sure to add to the beauty that is Morikami.
If you ever get the chance to visit, it is well worth the while. Hope our pictures do it justice!
Photos by Isacc Yi & myself
December 22, 2015
At 4:45am Isacc and I forced ourselves out of bed and onto our motorcycles in order to race the sun out to Cassadaga. If you haven't heard of Cassadaga, Florida, it is the spiritual capitol of the world- a camp filled with mediums, spiritual healers, and the like. We made it to the camp as the sun was just peeking over the horizon, scattering pink and orange hues into the sky. Eating our pre-packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast while straddling our bikes, we discussed our game plan.
We had been to Cassadaga once before, when our friend Kate from Australia had came to visit. During that time, the camp was fully functioning and we visited a workshop by a third generation medium who taught us about "Skotography", where a photo would open communication with spirits. After, he had us wave an index card over a candle and make out images and try to guess what the spirits were trying to communicate to us. A very interesting experience to say the least, but this trip was made with a different intention.
By this hour, nobody was out on the streets except a little old lady who exuberantly welcomed us to Cassadaga and wished us a Merry Christmas. Besides that encounter, being in the town led to a little shudder as we walked the ominous streets. The houses are all 19th century style Southern homes, with paint chipped off and overgrowth climbing the walls. Now, I'm not superstitious, but I will note that black cats seemed to pop up at most door steps. It seemed to fit the stereotype of what you'd expect at a town like this, so I took a little fancy to the fact.
Among the many little parks scattered in the town, we walked the trails of one to which our surprise led us to orange groves, still alive in the winter. The groves were reminiscent of the citrus that had sprouted when George Colby founded the camp in 1895. Further along the trail, a wide, silver lake spread over the horizon where birds were awakening and sharing the songs of the morning.
After taking advantage of the beautiful photo ops that the town provided, I scoured Yelp to find us a good cup of coffee. Because hey, it was still morning time and it's us you're talking about.. 16 minutes away, we found Trilogy Coffee Co. Nestled in an old-two story home that seemed to match the aforementioned homes of Cassadaga, Trilogy as well as a juice bar and an art gallery all functioned harmoniously together. We talked roasting, fair-trade, single-origin coffee, and espresso. Isacc tried the Ethiopian Halo Bariti Natural pour-over which to my surprise tasted like a juicy tea - boasting of blueberries and milk chocolate. I tried the Kenya AA-Tambaya pour-over, which had notes of pink gratefruit, blackberrys and a hint of lime. After a long sipping of our coffees and talks of new years resolutions, it was then time to bid adieu to the house and fellow coffee connoisseurs.
The adventure wrapped up as we rode off in the 94 degree weather, spirits and energies high, and we still ended up at home before noon. How's that for a Tuesday morning?
As a machine, motorcycles themselves bare no ego. Motorcycles have no explicit beauty, beyond the beauty that humans impose upon them. A motorcycle is essentially a slew of parts joined together to perform or serve a function, yet people inevitably attach deeper meanings to these bundles of parts. They sacrifice safety to join the machine and the road together, defining for themselves a sort of freedom. They devote a lifetime to countless hours, manual in hand, drawing conclusions about why their machine won’t function properly. They go as far as to create social groups dedicated to honoring and showing off their bundle of parts.
So what, fundamentally, creates all these situations in which a motorcycle takes center stage? I have found myself confronted with this question daily, as I attend a school not only dedicated to a machine, but motorcycles in particular. It is here where we deduce this machine back to its most minuscule of parts. Each person in their own right has at one point in their life developed an attachment to a machine, which led them to dig deeper. How can this conglomeration of bearings, gears, and wires create a social movement? How can it cause a desire, and a feeling of escape from the monotony of life?
Read on at In Venus Veritas -->
I am a beating heart mended by great men and women. I am the spirit of a long line of freedom fighters, hard workers, and dream chasers. I am the culmination of years of lives, including this man right here. My great grandfather, Jes Lassen has sparked a heritage in my family that I will fight to live on far after I'm gone.
The photo above marked the day that Jes dug his feet into American soil. His father fled Denmark with Jes in hand, escaping what would have been a tragic fate in war. After emigrating from Denmark to the United States, he ended up in the small town of Kansas called Atchison. A town where if you blink- you miss it.
In America, Jes exercised his freedoms with all that he had. Jes was known as “the man you don’t mess with”. He scooted around on an old Army Harley, and had gun and knives always slung around his hips. He even traveled the nation as a Wall of Death stunt rider.
And later on in life, he met my great grandmother, Mary. She was as sweet as could be, and sucked the hell raising soul right out of him. They raised six kids on a farm together. And the story lives on through who the Lassen’s are today.
This legacy is the one I hold dear to. I've found out that in life, your legacy is established not by you, but how others will remember you. His story shows the spirit that has passed down through my grandpa, my dad, and onto me. Freedom, risk, adventure, hard work, and love. This is tradition.
Thank you, Jes, for giving my family the heart to be free, and sometimes wild and crazy. Thank you for starting a legacy of motorcycling that would last longer than imagined, and create purpose in those that came after you.
My family members are my heroes. I am who I am because I come from them. And I could never ask for anything better.