A few years ago, Leah was introduced to us through a video clip on Youtube and ever since that day we were a fan of hers. Leah figured out early on that a mundane life was not for her and she decided to stunt professionally. She started StuntBums.com and began touring America in 2010 and Europe in 2011. Leah took some time out of her busy schedule and traveling to answer a few of our questions.
UltimateVelocity (UV) : How did you get into stunt riding and what made you decide to pursue this as a career?
Leah Petersen (LP) : I got into stunting after riding sportbikes for five years, I always wanted to try a wheelie and one day I ended up at a stunt riding competition in California. After I saw professional stunting, which I didn’t even know existed, I was hooked. I stunted as a hobby and since there are not many females, it naturally progressed into a career. At one point I thought, there’s no better time than now to take a chance on this and I am certainly happy I made that gamble!
UV : From what we understand youâve also traveled quite a bit. Which has been your favorite?
LP : I love Poland, it has a very real, raw component that I feel the rest of Europe lacks. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Italy since I lived there for a year. Turkey is also on the top of my list, such an amazing country, people and FOOD! But of course, every location is awesome if you take it for what it is!
UV : What are the tools of your trade, what modifications are essential to creating the perfect stunt bike?
LP : Crash protection is important – cage, 12-bar, subcage. We flatten the tank so we can sit and stand on it, reform our seats, some people like a bigger sprocket for added torque and we also put a “handbrake” under the clutch lever, so we have back brake control even when we’re hopping around the bike in wheelies.
UV : Can you tell us a little about StuntBums, where did you get the idea from and has it been successful?
LP : My partner and I have been stunting for years and wanted to do something to make the sport safer and more understandable for the general public. We try to make tutorials about getting into stunt riding, how to set up your bike and learn tricks. The community really embraced it and it has been crazy watching it turn into a global brand within our stunting community.
UV : Is there anyone else in the stunting industry that you look up to as a role-model?
LP : Jason Britton is a legend and really paved the way for professional riders, I am lucky enough to practice with him every so often, which is always awesome.
UV : When youâre not on your bike, what else do you enjoy doing?
LP : I enjoy art, painting, reading, cooking, photography, weight lifting, hiking and learning new things!
UV : I would imagine that sponsors play a big role in your profession, who would you like to give a mention to?
LP : ICON Motosports naturally, Motul, Kawasaki, HEL, K&N, Thrust, Convertibars, Dick’s Customs – without all of them my job would be much more difficult, if not impossible!
UV : Finally, what would you say to any aspiring stunters and other women thinking of pursuing a career in stunting?
LP : Be unique. There are tons of great riders around the world, you need a reason for people to look up to you, beyond your skills. Think of yourself as a brand and don’t let personal emotions get in the way of your goals.