Home Roads: Yorit Kluitman
Yorit Kluitman runs a graphic design studio in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. His clients include Rapha, Ace & Tate, De Correspondent, and the Van Abbemuseum. He is also the art director for the Dutch Design Week. Before all though, he is a cyclist.
“My life is structured around cycling,” he says. “There’s family and health and other things that come first, but the planning is always around cycling.”
When he is not behind his desk, creating logos, infographics, exhibitions, installations, and identities for brands, he is on his bike, be it alone for a quick jaunt to refresh his mind or on a group ride with his mates from ONYVA, the grassroots cycling club he co-founded, which now boasts over 1000 members.
“The upside of having my own business is that I can work in the morning and go cycling in the afternoon and do the rest of the work after dinner or late in the evening, without anybody knowing what I’m doing,” he says. “The clients don’t have an idea of what I’m doing. They think, ‘he is working all day.’ But, I’m mixing my hours. If the weather is good, I’m gone, and if the weather is bad, I’ll work 14 hours a day.”
Such flexibility suits him and improves the quality of his work. It helps him relax and focus and reconnect with himself and the world.
“A four-hour ride will do a real reset on you,” he says. “You will be a little bit exhausted when you come back, but then you have more focus, because normally you are thinking about a thousand things, but after a four-hour ride your mind is in a zoom state. The urge to go outside is gone, so you are happy to work again.”
That approach has worked for him from the start of his career. He got into cycling during his last year of art school.
“I had a little burn out,” he says. “I was graduating and the stress was a bit too much, so I took my city bike into the forest and did little laps of 20k in the afternoons, and that helped a lot. And then the stress went away a bit, and I bought a better bike, and 20k became 60k, and 60k became 100k. Before you know it, you are addicted.”
He now travels the world to ride with friends whenever he can make time, but mostly he enjoys cycling close to home in Eindhoven.
“If you go south, the city does not reach so far, so in three kilometres you can be in the beginning of the forest area, and that area goes all the way into Belgium, and you can even cross over into Limburg through a pretty, green area. It’s a combination of forest and heathlands and agricultural land.”
When he goes out, he tries not to do the same ride twice. He loves designing new routes and sharing them with friends and friends of friends.
“I like to share the joy I get from cycling with others,” he says. “I love to do group rides, showing people around, talking about the places where we are riding. But also, I love giving people a route and pointing them towards a few panoramic points or places of interest. Not everybody knows how to make routes or likes to do it. It’s like giving someone a present. Do this, and it’s like a multi-hour experience that you give somebody. It’s like a music piece, but then stretched over the whole day.”
What makes a good route, according to Yorit Kluitman?
“A mix of things, so it’s not singletrack the whole route, and it’s not tarmac roads the whole route; it’s the combination. You might have a half an hour of small, narrow roads, and then maybe an hour of wide roads through the polder—different settings, different terrain. That’s what makes a good route. Sometimes you like to go fast through the forest, and then eat your sandwich on a longer stretch, and then go back into the forest and race a bit. Fast and slow. Yeah, it’s just like music.”
The route that Yorit chose to share with us is one he designed for the first edition of the Pathfinder Giro, the fun sportive he founded.
“I think that it is still one of the best routes that I ever made,” he says. “It’s not a gravel ride. It’s a road cycling ride, but it has 21 or 22 gravel segments, but fast riding gravel, so you can do it with a race bike. The route is beautiful. It’s a fast route, with a really nice Strade Bianche feeling.”
It’s got a good story behind it too.
“Around the time of the Dutch Design Week—that’s October—every year is a peak in my work,” explains Yorit. “It’s the busiest time of my year, but I really love to have some distraction, so I thought before my first year of Design Week, let’s organise a little ride on the Sunday the week before the event starts, so I can have my mind on something fun and invite some friends to do the gravel route I designed and just show them that and have some hamburgers and drinks after. The first year, I think there were 40 people, and I think the second year already 150 and a year later 300. And people loved it. Gravel riding was not as popular then as it is now, but people just loved to discover new paths and go off the busy car roads. Everybody fell in love with the style of riding.”
You will too.
*Komoot now warns you where portions of your route might not be suitable for the sort of cycling you have selected. This is a road cycling route with segments of gravel, but Yorit says it’s all hard pack, so you’ll be fine on your road bike!’