Student - July 4, 2019

YOU on campus - Secretely, I've been riding a motorbike since I was eight

Anne van der Heijden

If you see someone racing through Wageningen on a red motorbike anytime soon, there’s a good chance it’s Gaël Kobessen. The first-year BSc student of Soil, Water, Atmosphere hopes to get his motorbike license in the next couple of weeks. ‘I’m counting down. As soon as I can, I’ll be off to the Alps.’

Gaël loves to tinker with engines and he bought his first moped when he was 10. ‘And since I bought my motorbike I’ve taken it apart and put it together again twice.’ He’s been riding (secretly) since he was eight years old. ‘On the cross motorbike in the village I come from. I just love the feeling of freedom, which is unlike anything else. The wind in your hair, the roar of the machine, just the whole experience makes me very happy. Rain not so much, though.’

‘I have lots of other hobbies too,’ says Gaël, ‘but I’d say the biggest ones are working out, kickboxing and Thai boxing. I did krav maga for a while too, but I couldn’t work on my stamina enough with that.’ Gaël was able to improve his sporting skills on holiday in Thailand, where he went on a two-week Thai boxing training camp. ‘In a word, it was tough.’ But that’s exactly what Gaël liked about it. ‘It was a special time because you started out with lots of people you didn’t know and you bonded quickly because you were doing something so intense together.’ Thai boxing is on the back burner now. ‘Fitness in general is still important to me, not just boxing. That means I eat healthily and I keep up my cardio and strength training. I do that on a daily basis.’