Riding A New Wave Of Motorcycle Interest 

“Maybe they thought I didn’t know anything about motorbikes, but when they got to talk to me, they realised that I knew my stuff.”

Thalassa van Beek

Thalassa van Beek is the founder of Motorcycle Marketing an agency made up of specialised professionals who all share a love of motorcycles and riding. They work with some of the world’s biggest motorcycle brands to put their content, messaging and values in front of the right people at the right time.  

Thalassa sets herself and her agency apart because of her deep passion for motorcycles and riding to new and far-flung places. With up to one fifth of motorcycle owners being women and growing, especially among younger generations, she is a part of a recent new wave of women taking to the road on two wheels, albeit she has over a decade of motorcycle ownership behind her. So, she has seen how things have changed for women in the industry.

“I can’t remember the last time someone didn’t take me seriously because I’m a woman” says Thalassa. “So, I feel like we’re definitely moving in the right direction. Also, I see for the motorcycle brands there’s a high number of women working on the marketing & communications side, there’s just not a huge number of female engineers, for example on race teams, however, both MarComms and technical positions do see more and more women entering them. It’s just that the tech side is quite a bit behind, but across all positions I believe it’s improving, some fields are just moving faster than others.”

Thalassa has seen all sides of the industry from the perspective of a woman, and while today, she is a highly respected professional, she set out along familiar lines for women in the motorcycle world as it existed back then. As an umbrella girl on the grid.

“It was the World Championships and I was never going to make it to the grid as a rider so the only other way for me to get that close to it all was to do it that way, and as long as I was wearing more than I would on the beach I was ok with it,” she says. “Most of the girls were just hired for one race and they have no interest in bikes, and they take off after the event, but I was there every weekend and after a while people would begin to recognise me. Maybe they thought I didn’t know anything about motorbikes, but when they got to talk to me, they realised that I knew my stuff. That would really turn them around. It was kind of funny.”

Thalassa, above, is no stranger to having bold adventures on two wheels across Europe.

Thalassa grew up riding horses, something a lot of female motorcycle enthusiasts have in common, and it was only by chance that she came to world of motorcycles, when she attended a motorcycle show in her native Netherlands as a model. She happened to be working next to the Yamaha stand and completely fell in love with an R6 racing bike. She didn’t know how to ride, but she knew she had to get her licence so she could get that bike. 

“Someone had traded in [a Yamaha R6], it had a ‘sold’ sign on it until the day I was able to ride it. I got the bike and I still have it.”

“I started saving, I was in school, but I would work weekends. I kept in contact with the guys from Yamaha, who invited me to the MotoGP that year. When I was 18, I started to take lessons, I passed my licence, got my first motorbike, a CBR 600 F, a Honda, it was restricted so it was within the limits for a new rider to be able to ride it.”

“I started working in a dealership on Saturdays, selling everything except the bikes. It was a Yamaha dealer so of course they knew about my R6 dream, so about a month before I was allowed to ride one, they showed me one that someone had traded in, it had a ‘sold’ sign on it until the day I was able to ride it. I got the bike and I still have it.”

Living in Spain now, outside Barcelona, Thalassa has every reason to make the most of owning motorbikes – the weather, the mountains, the roads, there’s so much to enjoy on local rides, but it is the adventure side of riding that really lights her fire. Last year she rode to North Cape in Norway, starting in Sweden, but riding the return leg all the way to Spain. 

“I went in the period of May and June,” she says. “It was the right time to go, and for most of it the weather was good, it was gold in the beginning but there was about two weeks were I received every severe weather warning possible on my phone – wind warnings, rain warnings, avalanche warning, debris warning, I’ve literally seen it all. There was a gap in the weather, and I just got on my bike and didn’t stop riding until I saw the sun again. I was miserable at times but now I look back on it and it was an amazing time.”

The demographic shift is not the only change we’ve seen in the motorcycle industry in recent years. The industry as awoken to the power of its communities to facilitate discussion about mental health and to support individual riders.  

“Motorbikes have always been about community,” says Thalassa. “Every type of bike has its own club and people have always ridden out together. But you see a lot more events and activations related to motorcycles and mental health issues. Look at the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride, it gets bigger and bigger every year.”

The presence of more women in clubs and at events can only benefit male riders, who have traditionally struggled more respectively in terms of collective problem solving, sharing emotions and asking for help. That is changing now, but interestingly, as a woman, Thalassa is drawn to the traditional motorcycle values of self-reliance- independence and freedom. 

“My best friend in Spain is a woman that rides and I really enjoy riding with her and other women, but I also really love riding alone. My North Cape trip was a solo trip. So, the community aspect is important, but self-reliance and freedom are important too.
So why choose? I think it can be both”

We would like to say a big thank you to Thalassa of Motorcycle Marketing for sharing her inspiring story and chatting to The BMIC.

To view some of the services offered by Motorcycle Marketing please click on the image to head straight to their website.