The biker from the East

@Roberto Arribas

Turkish IE University student Marlon Kerim is crazy about vintage two-wheel vehicles and the city of Segovia.

The gentle roar of a scooter can be heard through the cobbled streets of central Segovia. But this engine is special. This isn’t just any old two-wheeler. Having left the Plaza Mayor behind, Marlon Kerim Weinstabl drives his vintage motorbike along Calle Doctor Velasco towards the IE University campus, and slowly makes his way through the Arco de San Cebrián. It looks like an image from an old black and white photo album, or a frame from a Steve McQueen movie, an iconic actor from the world of motorcycling. Riding his 250cc NSU Spezial Max, made in Germany, the young Turk Marlon Kerim feel relaxed. He says that it’s as if he’s driving a time machine. The cobbled streets of the old town only add to the daydream. “Nothing compares to the wind blowing in your face, the smell of gas and oil, and the roar of the engine,” he claims.

Marlon Kerim, a self-confessed lover of vintage two-wheel vehicles, is a young Turkish student currently in his third year of a Law and Business Administration degree in Segovia, the city that has welcomed him with open arms and where he feels very much at home. “Segovia is my home now,” he says, a perpetual smile on his face. When you speak to him, you immediately realize that he’s an extremely well-educated young man, who exudes personality and charisma.

He tells us that he was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city and the most densely populated in Europe. He’s a restless soul. When he was just eighteen years old, he felt the need to get out of his country, expand his horizons, take a year to learn other languages and immerse himself in other cultures. He headed to Buenos Aires to learn Spanish, before moving on to Brazil and Uruguay. Then he spent some time in France, in Paris and Biarritz, to brush up his language skills. They were an intense few months, full of life experiences, which gave him a taste of independence and helped him gain self-confidence and mature as a person.

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

In 2013, Marlon Kerim finally arrived in Segovia to study at IE University. In spite of his young age, he’d already visited a ton of countries and spoke five languages fluently. Aside from Turkish, he also speaks German, English, French, and Spanish (sometimes with an Argentinian accent, he jokingly admits). He never imagined that he was going to fall in love with Segovia, this tiny dot on the map, so quickly. He now rents an apartment in the Plaza Mayor where from his balcony he gets one of the best views of the city, especially when it snows in the winter.

Automobile Club

A new city, a new university. Marlon Kerim was about to embark on a fascinating journey. This led his father, also a fan of vintage vehicles, to buy him the motorbike of his dreams. He was given a 1950s NSU which is the apple of his eye and the most prized jewel in his garage. This year he plans to start an automobile club at IE University, alongside his classmate Pierre Gavelle. The idea is to give campus students advice through workshops involving motorbike and car repairs, the attainment of driver’s licenses, and excursions which will allow students to get to know more of the surrounding area, as well as other regions of Spain.

It’s also important to mention soccer, his other major passion. Marlon Kerim played as a goalie in the lower levels of Besiktas, one of Turkey’s biggest clubs, where Vicente del Bosque was once a coach and where Guti also played. But that’s in the past; these days, he prefers to proudly remember that he’s been the captain and goalie of the IE University team, and that he recently competed against other universities from Castilla y León in a regional tournament.

Marlon Kerim loves city life; he adores exploring Segovia’s old part and strolling through the market in Plaza Mayor. Every Thursday, merchants sell fresh products including fruit, vegetables, cheese, baked goods, and even clothes, shoes, and accessories, at affordable prices. Marlon Kerim finds it fun to wander through the stalls, chat with people, and search for something interesting. Perhaps it reminds him of Istanbul.

When it comes to his relationship with the locals, Marlon boasts about his friendships. He mentions Marisa from the fruit stall in the Plaza Mayor, Julio from Bar la Concepción, Pablo from Motto & Co, and Carmen, Diego, and Jorge from Motos Hernández. Segovia is like a big family for him. “I’m proud to able say that I’m just another Segovian.”  Marlon Kerim, the biker from the East, will never forget this city.