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After six years of WorldTour racing in Europe and around the world with Trek-Segafredo, Kiel is turning his focus to gravel, to exploration, to family, and to inspiring others to fall in love with the lesser known roads of the Pacific Northwest. We recently spent a day with Kiel in Portland, Oregon, and discussed all-things bikes and beyond. Below are some musings from Kiel during his visit.

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To me, telling someone I am from the Pacific Northwest often feels inadequate. I am not just from the Northwest, I am “of” this place. With family scattered around the Islands and ancestorial homelands in Cowlitz county, I feel connected to the place I call home in a way I struggle to convey. I grew up on Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle, and I live just down the street from my childhood house. I ride through the same roads, trails and ravines that I played in as a child. Despite having spent most of my life here, I never tire of the surroundings and the way they shift from month to month, season to season.


As a highschooler I dreamed of becoming an elite athlete. I loved every aspect of it. I enjoyed pushing myself, I enjoyed the pursuit and the excuse to travel. When I found cycling through the local bike shop, doors kept opening. The harder I pushed the more opportunities were presented. Of course there were set backs, stumbles and plenty of difficult moments over the years but when I look back I am astonished at how far the bicycle managed to take me. My transition from the world of European road racing to gravel grinding and exploring has taken me full circle however, and I feel closer to where I started than ever before. At home, on the less ridden trails, I feel more like a kid discovering bikes than someone who made a career out of it.


At the heart of gravel racing is a desire for adventure. For me the perfect ride is one where you spend moments pushing yourself and your bike to their respective limits, get lost, find new places, discover something new about yourself, get covered in mud and eventually—a couple hours later and perhaps a couple hours late—find your way back home.



The bicycle, I would wager, is the perfect instrument to see the world. It takes you through space and time at the perfect pace. A pace that gives you time and appreciation for the moment you are in, but moves you on to the next moment before you can dwell too long.

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Life is about balance. Becoming a parent taught me the importance of finding that balance quicker than I could have imagined. But having the chance to share my passions with my children is something I never take for granted. Whether it’s a casual spin through the neighborhood with the whole family or an extended adventure through the Olympic National Park with my 5 year old on the 3rd wheel, kids force you to be fully immersed in whatever is right in front of you. 
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As parents, my wife and I have tried to say yes to adventure as much as possible. There are of course limits to what little kids can do, but when you have the chance to slow down and let them participate, the result is so much more rewarding. Five years ago we decided to build our own home. We spent three years living in a trailer with our oldest child and we “finished” the house just before our younger daughter was born. Watching the satisfaction my oldest daughter gleaned from helping build her own room is something I hope to carry with me for the rest of parenthood. She takes pride in the place she calls home in a way I think would be very hard to otherwise teach. Our house and property are still very much a work in progress so there will be many more chances for my younger daughter to have those same experiences. 

In cycling and in life, we strive for the adventures to always continue.

Follow Kiel on Instagram @kielreijnen
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