Published On: December 10, 2023Tags: ,

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THE MONSTER HAS ARRIVED

Before I got my license I already knew which bike I wanted. But before I figured that out I was going back and forth between my final two picks: the Yamaha XSR900 and the Ducati Monster 821. The Monster won and I ended up considering buying a secondhand white 2015 model and import it from Germany. But it turned out that the costs would almost be equal to buying a new 2018 one that had some significant upgrades compared to the 2015 model. My decision was made: a matte black Monster 821.

I knew I wanted to start out on a naked bike, as I just simply loved the looks, character and it would be a perfect fit for my riding. Little did I know I would become hooked on longer trips and I kind of used it as a packing mule every year for quite some weeks. But still, the Monster was everything I wanted and needed at the time. Fun, power, a real characteristic bike and beautiful Italian looks.

RIDES TO SIMPLY SHOOT

Around the same time as I bought my Monster, I also started an Instagram page. I thought it would be nice to connect with others, as I’m not from a bikers family nor did I have that many riders in my network. Discovering this world mainly online turned out to be a good decision, as it was so easy to connect with likeminded people and meet with them in real life. At the same time I dusted off my camera and went out shooting more frequently. Social media being the platform where you share, I rediscovered my love for photography.

Over some time that led to various occasions of people and businesses asking me if I’d be willing to shoot them photos as well. This grew out to something I could see myself doing and it was actually the first time ever I thought about freelancing. But I didn’t dare to jump in just yet.

IT TURNED MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN

Once I started photographing more for others on a regular base I tried to create a strong network of bikers around me. What followed were some small publications in local magazines and Dutch websites. Was this the beginning of that freelance career?

This motorcycle helped me through a lot of hard times. Every time I put on the helmet, I felt calm and grounded. It gave me peace of mind, I could pause my problems and focus solely on the road in front of me. A feeling I believe many bikers will relate to. What followed turned my world upside down for the better when I look back at it. After some heavy thinking and a mind still filled with doubts, I decided to become a freelancer. The timing just felt right, although I was scared to death to start and had no solid plan for myself yet.

By the time I took the plunge, I got in touch with Mark from Motorrijders, a Dutch motorcycle platform for everything bike related. Motorrijders was actually my very first client and I started on some articles in which I combined my riding and writing with photography. Creating stories about my trips back then made me hungry for more. My network grew, I got some jobs here and there and I tried to make a living shooting interior, motorcycles, cars, events and what not. But that’s not what made me jump for joy. Plus, I wasn’t found nor asked enough to make a living out of it.

THANK YOU MONSTER, FOR EVERYTHING

Fast forward to November 2021, I had made the decision to buy the DesertX. The order was in and now the wait began. And it would be a very long wait. In the time between placing the order and picking up my new machine, it felt somewhat bittersweet knowing I’d “replace” my first love any time soon. I enjoyed every ride until July 8th, the day I picked up my DesertX. But this was not the end, only an addition to the garage. I couldn’t and still can’t sell my first love. I’ve had so many good and ugly-cry moments on this bike, I’m incredibly emotionally connected to it. Selling it would break my heart. And besides, who would want to buy it with 75.000 kilometers on it…

Thanks to this Monster I’ve rolled into a world I never thought I would love so much and where I’ve also met so many incredible people and even found a new career. It has completely changed my life and I am forever grateful it did. To be out there exploring and adventuring on two wheels is the best direction I could’ve ever pushed myself in and I never want to look back at my office days.

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