A NORTE! Story: Mary and The Traverse Heights Bike Train


My Ride To School With The Traverse Heights Bike Train
by Mary Mantei

What do you get when you bring together kids with bikes, a willing principal, a city commissioner, a visionary bike-centric leader, and a few other caring adult volunteers on a Friday morning?

You get the a Traverse Heights Bike Train!

We all pulled out of the “station”, Potterʼs Bakery parking lot, full of anticipation and excitement, ready for a Friday morning mini adventure. Many aspects of a true adventure were present; enthusiasm, challenge, camaraderie, taking on the unknown, and success spelled in a variety of ways.

Also like a good adventure, we all learned. We learned things like, you canʼt bike when you donʼt have air in your tires! We learned that when you are leading a “new train”, we need to be prepared to assist kids whose bikes donʼt have air in their tires! We learned you can pedal a bike all the way to school, even if your chain is covered with rust, and it is a really, really tough pedal. We learned our city commissioner can not only ride his own bike, but carry a bike to school that had become disabled along the way. And we learned once again, how excited kids get when they have fun and accomplish something new.

These hearty kids made our worlds a little bigger that day. As Ty, Jameson and I pedaled off to catch the Eastern Elementary Express, we talked about our experience, and more importantly, what can we do with what we learned to continue to support our wider community of up and coming cyclists.

I moved to TC a year and a half ago. Itʼs really a privilege to live here in so many ways. Being a NORTE! Bike to School Volunteer works for me because I believe opportunities that develop confident, skilled, fun-loving, and fit kids is part of the equation to maintaining and growing a vibrant community.

Besides, they make me smile and keep me young. Come join us, youʼll see.


A NORTE! Story is a blog series highlighting N!YC riders/volunteers/supporters in our first year of inspiring Traverse City youth through bicycles.

If you like Mary’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year KIDS ON BIKES + YOU campaign. Levels and awards can be found HERE.


And let’s ride bikes together soon.

Bike Happy. Bike Más. Bike TC.