My Heavy Ride for Norte and Happy, Healthy, Strong Kids in Traverse City
Hello! My name is Patrick Cotant.
A few years ago, my wife Polly came home with a hand me down balance bike in tow for our then 2-year old son, Fletcher. The following spring, we attempted to show him the ropes of riding this 2-wheel device devoid of pedals with minimal success.
Thankfully, a local Traverse City nonprofit called Norte had a balance bike meet-up every Monday evening throughout the summer. They met at a neighborhood park and gave free assistance to kids eager to learn how to ride. Fletcher and I went, and while he didn’t get the hang of it at first, Ty and the folks from Norte provided guidance that would eventually get him rolling with the other kids.
Fast forward to the following spring. Fletcher is now 4. We walked out of the garage with another bike, this one with pedals – no training wheels. He threw his leg over and got his bearings. We showed him how the pedals worked, gave him a little push and he pedaled away, looking back with a smile that my wife and I will never forget. That summer we biked everywhere as a family: farmers markets, bookstores, the library, ukulele lessons, the beach. He loved it!
And so did we. We found an activity that we could all do together and made us feel more connected with our community and the outdoors, all of which are part of Norte’s mission.
Norte was truly instrumental in providing Fletcher with the knowledge and confidence necessary to get riding, now it’s one of his favorite things to do. The balance bike program, known as Estrellas, can now be found in several schools throughout the Traverse City area, free of charge, providing the same learn-to-ride guidance that it did for our son.
As a way of giving back to Norte, I am going to bike around northern Michigan – 80-100 miles/day for 2 days – this July to raise awareness of this awesome organization.
I’m calling it Patrick’s Heavy Ride for Norte.
I also want to raise money for an organization that I truly appreciate and to help support programs like the Estrellas that have done so much, not only for our son, but for so many kids in the Traverse City area.
Lastly, I hope to inspire people to find unique and creative ways to give back to the nonprofits they feel are connective threads within their communities.
All donations with go to support Norte’s Keep It Rolling campaign to help fund the new Wheelhouse so Norte can do more – do better.
Thank you for considering a donation and most of all, thank you for supporting happy, healthy, strong kids!
Checks to “Norte Youth Cycling” can also be sent to support my ride to PO Box 781, TC, MI 49685.