Pascal Moors: mountain-biker and photographer
Being your own boss in your own backyard
Like fellow DMFF team member Petra Vroomen, Pascal Moors is mad about cycling or – to be precise – mountain biking. In fact, he became so besotted that he started his own business, Bike Spirit, to harness his passion in a professional capacity by organising MTB courses and tours. But he also likes looking at the world through a camera lens and for the last fifteen years has had his own photography business, Nose for Photography. Originally a rock climber, Pascal has experienced some of the world’s most stunning climbing areas. He is someone who follows his passion and for that reason, a man after our own heart.
If you turn your passion into work, is it still a passion?
Passion and work certainly intertwine, but that is precisely my strength. Photography might no longer be a hobby, but it’s work I really enjoy. Actually, the common thread in my life is working with people. I like to express myself through photography and the Bike Spirit training and get a lot of satisfaction from teaching “in the saddle”. I’m also involved in the training of young climbing enthusiasts.
Why did you decide to start your own business? For a sense of freedom?
I work as a freelance photographer, because there are simply no openings for work in this professions in salaried employment. And yes, freedom is a great asset! I feel that even more strongly with Bike Spirit: working outside, exercising and enjoying the Dutch Mountains. I am my own boss in my own backyard, so to speak.
Bike Spirit and Nose for Photography are both associated with the DMFF. How did that come about?
I’ve been good friends with Thijs and Toon from my early climbing days in the early nineties. I was involved with the DMFF at the very beginning, let’s say before it became the professional outfit it is today. As festival photographer you see everything close up and experience the event more intensely. Once I had started Bike Spirit, I suddenly realised I could offer mountain-biking challenges during the festival weekend.
What do your MTB courses and tours involve?
As part of the single trail tour, we ride the best and most technical trails in the Euregion. It can be hard work, with tree roots, boulders and steep terrain. But I like to offer as much as possible and make it enjoyable. I also offer a level 2 workshop in Valkenburg, which is about the nuts and bolts of mountain-biking, not the kilometres. We try to improve skills and provide more insight into a number of MTB principles. I look at the skills of participants and what they come up against when cycling. We teach a lot of new things through a number of activities. Take a look at some of the videos: www.facebook.com/1bikespirit
Can mountain bikers of all levels participate?
With the single trail tour I aim for cyclists who have around level 3. [Scale: 1 beginner to 5 expert.] These are people who are proficient at mountain biking and who prefer to ride nice trails with a guide. The level 2 workshop is for those bikers who have more have limited technical experience. They cycle mainly in the Netherlands and want to progress.
Could you give us five tips for when we go mountain biking?
Yes, with pleasure!
- Make sure you enjoy mountain-biking as much as possible, then everything will go more smoothly and you will learn more quickly.
- Zuid-Limburg has a fantastic network of MTB routes. Just take a look at the tourist board site: visitzuidlimburg.nl/te-doen-in-zuid-limburg/mountainbiken. It has lots of information and links.
- Clean and maintain your bike after every trip. This way it lasts longer and everything will continue to working properly. If you do notice any defects, get them fixed in good time. That comes in handy if you like tinkering around with parts.
- Technical tip: finding the correct setting for your handlebars makes all the difference. If your brake and gear levers are easy to operate, you can ride much more safely and with greater control. There’s a lot that can be gained just doing this.
- Go out with others. It will motivate and you will learn from each other. If you ride alone, remember that it can take you to some remote places and remains a risk. There are apps that register a fall and send an emergency message to those at home. Good to know.
If you had to choose between photography or mountain biking, what would it be?
That’s a good one… why choose when you can do both? I once carried out an assignment for Legenduro.com, a Franco-Belgian company, which involved a week-long challenging mountain bike ride from the Alpe d’Huez to the Mont Ventoux (partly by shuttle bus). This was an extremely demanding photo shoot: the riders were experienced, the trails were tough and highly technical, but needless to say I had to cycle with a heavy camera bag on my back. After such an intensive week, I was exhausted, but it was well worth it.