Ride Like A Girl Spotlight - April 2022 - Thalassa van Beek



My name is Thalassa, I'm 34 years old. I was born and raised in The Netherlands, but moved to Spain just before turning 30. Now I live in the Spanish countryside just north of Barcelona with fantastic riding possibilities starting right at the edge of my village. When I was younger, I worked as an umbrella girl in the WSBK and MotoGP paddock. Now, I'm the founder of Motorcycle Marketing, a network of freelancer - all bikers, all online marketing specialists - focussing on clients in the motorcycle industry. My specialisation is social media marketing, working with brands like Yamaha Motor Europe, PETRONAS Motorsports and Touratech. I document my motorcycle adventures under the name No Highways.
Why did you start riding?
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When I was 17 I did a lot of promo/hostess work. One weekend I worked at a motorcycle show giving out flyers, I saw a Yamaha R6 and thought to myself 'I need my license because I want that bike.' I guess that day decided the direction of the rest of my life :-)
How long have you been riding?
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After that show I started saving and I passed my license test when I was 19 - I can't believe it's been 15 years!
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How would you describe your riding style?
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My motto is 'I go slow but I go far'. I'm a very careful, conscious rider, always aware of the fact that you don't know what's around the corner. Unfortunately that also often makes me an insecure rider. But when I ride, it's often for a full day or longer, and I've done various trips around Europe, both with others and on my own.  
 
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What bikes have you had and which one is/was your fave and why?
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At 19, I was only allowed to ride a 25kW bike, so I started with a Honda VTR250. After two weeks I found out that actually wasn't within the limits of my license, so I switched to a restricted Honda CBR600F. The day I was allowed to ride an R6, I bought it and I still have that same bike. About 2.5 years ago I got caught with the off road virus, so I bought a Yamaha XT660R and upgraded a year later to a Yamaha Ténéré 700. I also have a Yamaha xMax 250 which I bought when I still lived in the city, just to get around.
 
The R6 is the reason I got into bikes in the first place and I had some great adventures with it, going up mountains like the Col du Galibier, Col de l'Iseran and various peaks in the Pyrenees. However, nowadays I have to say the Ténéré is my absolute favourite. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world together with her!
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What experience/lesson stands out the most to you, as it relates to skill development on your bike?
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When I just started, someone told me 'ride assuming that people don't see you' - not meaning like 'ride it like you stole it' but to always be aware of other traffic and how they might make some moves overlooking your presence. They stop, turn, reverse and what not without looking, and as a biker, we're just in a vulnerable position. 
 
Now that I started off road riding, I learn new lessons every single time. A big one I'm working on now is to relax my arms. Especially when I get nervous, I tend to tense up a lot which makes it impossible to take a corner 😅
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What advice do you have for womxn who are interested in riding, but haven't started yet?
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If it's because you think you're not big enough/strong enough/brave enough/fast enough - you don't have to please anyone but yourself. Whether your idea of fun is going 250km on a race track, a loop just around your town, or on your own pace to the highest mountain top, if it brings you happiness, what anyone else thinks doesn't matter. 
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What has been your most exciting accomplishment on your bike?
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I actually got a bit emotional the last time I was in the Alps, coming down from the l'Iseran. I'd met up with my boyfriend at the Alpes Aventure festival in Barcelonette a few days earlier, we'd been riding together for two days and that morning he continued further into Italy to meet up with friends, while I went back up into France on my own. It was the second week of a 6 week trip (eventually cut back to 4 weeks due to COVID restrictions) and I was just so proud of everything. About the fact that I ran my own business successfully, that I could buy a brand new bike without financing, that I structured all my work in a way that allowed me to work while travelling, about being up on these enormous mountains all on my own through rain & sunshine, about finding a guy with whom I can share all these things, but who also fully supports me in all the things I do on my own...At the same time I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the landscape. It hadn't been an easy journey and I had to make sacrifices along the way, but in that moment, riding my dream bike down the mountain top underneath a sunny sky, I realised how far I'd come. Without motorcycles, my life would have been completely different for sure.
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What motorcycle gear is your "go-to"?
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During university I used to work in a motorcycle shop and since back then, I've loved REV'IT!. It has a great fit for me, especially because they also make longer sizes, it looks nice and most important, the quality is good. Almost all my gear is from them. Helmet-wise, I always go for Arai. My luggage is from Mosko Moto; it's not cheap, but from everything I've seen it's the best quality and it's just so well designed and thought out. Other brands I really like are Outback Motortek for my crash bars combined with Barkbusters Handguards (tested that combo twice already), I'm super happy with my Denali additional headlights and all my bikes have a Quad Lock system for my phone.   
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What would be your "dream bike" to own and why?
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Honestly, I can't think of a better bike for me than the Ténéré. It's fun, it can go anywhere, but it's also smooth and forgiving. Having said that, I am considering adding a 250cc or maybe a light electric bike to the mix for more off road practice. 
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Who inspires you from the moto world and why?
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Anyone who reminds me to turn off the computer to go for a ride 😁I enjoy the content of Hanna Johansson. Her photography is fantastic and she just seems so sincere in her admiration for the world in general and motorcycling in specific, and her appreciation for the life she's living. 
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How have motorcycles changed your life?
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In every way - the work I do, the country I live in, the people I've dated, the friends I've made, the places I've travelled... To others, that might sound like it has limited my live to 'just motorcycles' but I feel the opposite, it has opened up the entire world for me.  
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If you are interested in following Thalassa, her IG handle is: @nohighways 

Thanks so much, Thalassa, for allowing us to interview you and share your story!

If you enjoyed our interview, check back in for our next Ride Like A Girl Spotlight. For our May interview, we will be speaking with a female rider from Mexico. Look for that in early May.                      

                                     


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