Bike Life: Get Moving, Keep Moving
Meet Terri Hanson
Terri Hanson has lived in Traverse City since 1993. For the last 27 years, she has operated Why Knot Pretzels, a mobile business selling pretzels from a pushcart with her husband, Mark. You might find them at a local event or outside of places like Right Brain Brewery. She also works at Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons as a personal trainer.
Terri is a model for integrating active living into daily life. She belongs to TC Masters Swim Team, Cherry Capital Cycling Club, Sisterhood, She Skis, and She Bikes. She also bikes 4 miles to work at the Commons daily. Recently, we met Terri because she was involved in a hit-and-run crash at the notorious intersection at 7th and Division.
She was happy to sit down with us to talk about her experiences crossing town and dealing with the crash. We followed up with this interview.
Norte: Thank you for answering a few questions. How long have you worked at Cordia? What do you do there?
I have worked at Cordia since they opened the doors five and a half years ago. I am a personal trainer and teach group fitness classes to the members, plus one-on-ones. The ages range from 53 to a 105-year-old. I love it!
Norte: It’s obvious staying fit and healthy is vital to you and beautiful that you can help others do that as well. What motivates you to integrate active living into your daily life? Any pro-tips for Norte readers?
It has been something I have always done to help me spend my energy. It keeps me sane, feels good, and I see it as a gift to myself. Being active helps me keep stress at bay. My tip would be to get moving and keep moving, your older self will thank you!
Norte: You ride to work daily. Describe your commute — can you walk us through the best parts of the ride? What are the challenges?
We live at the base of Old Mission, so I stay on the sidewalk and TART Trail along the Parkway. Until recently, have ridden under Murchie Bridge to Front Street (the Murchie Bridge underpass is currently closed due to high water). From there, I go to Union, to 7th, and then take Elmwood to Cordia. I ride as many days as possible, even in the rain. The only thing that stops me is icy or snowy roads.
The best parts of the ride are along the bay, early mornings before traffic picks up. The ride home is the biggest challenge due to more traffic.
7th And Division
Norte: In May, you were in a crash when someone in a car pulled out in front of you at 7th Street and Division. Thankfully, you don’t have any significant injuries from it, but it’s still scary. What happened?
Yep, scary it was! I was headed West on the 7th Street crossing Division. As I was crossing Division, a vehicle turning left to go North on Division, hit me and took off. I was taken to Munson to check out the contusions on my left elbow and hand and rule out a concussion. I was lucky, not a broken bone, just bruises, and muscle soreness. I have a super guardian angel!
Norte: You continue to ride your bike to work and use the same intersection to cross Division. I understand how traumatic that can be. How are you doing? Has it changed your riding at all?
It took me about a week to try and ride to work again. I was pretty nervous but knew I needed to conquer the fears because it is what I love to do. I ride with even more alertness, and I do not take for granted that a driver has seen me or will yield when I have the right of way.
Norte: As someone familiar with the 7th and Division intersection, what are a few of the critical problems you experience when using it?
Mostly cars speeding through the intersection on a red light, or drivers are trying to turn left before I cross the road.
Norte: We recently discussed the idea of a bike box on the west side of the intersection to help organize a confusing intersection in terms of cars and bikes. What are your thoughts on how that might help?
I like the idea of a bike box. I think it would clear up some frustration for the cars trying to turn right on red. It is definitely worth a try!
Norte: Has the contra-flow bicycle lane on the east side of Division Street made a difference?
Yes! I love having a designated lane for bikers.
Making Traverse Better
Norte: Are there other problems spots in Traverse City that you often avoid?
- Division and the Parkway
- Crossing Garfield at Washington or State.
- The intersection of Garfield and Front
- Park Street crossing at the Parkway puts you onto a sidewalk where bikers are not supposed to be and on the wrong side of the street. What the heck?
- The new pedestrian crossings on the Parkway, some cars stop and some don’t.
- The curve onto Garfield near Bryant.
Norte: In general, has the bicycle riding experience improved in the last 5-10 years?
I feel it has gotten worse due to inattentive, distracted, in-a-hurry drivers, and more bikers on the road not following the rules.
Norte: How would you like to see those issues addressed?
I think education is the key. Maybe videos posted on Facebook about the rules of the road for bicyclists, using humor, music, etc. Highlighting some of the young Norte riders. Maybe with Queen’s song, “I Want to Ride My Bicycle.” I’m not sure what the answer is for distracted drivers, except a campaign for “eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.”
Norte: One additional follow-up question: Where can we find you for pretzels?
That is too funny! Of course, we are scrambling to find venues to sell our pretzels. We will be at Rubby Ducky Festival in Bellaire and Mud Sweat and Beers on August 15th. Hopefully, Shorts Fest will happen. Iceman Cometh is one of our biggest events. Fingers crossed!
Norte: Is there anything you’d like to add?
I appreciate all efforts to make Traverse City more biker friendly. We are all in this together and need to be kind and gentle towards each other while making our way around this town. We all can do our part in keeping our community safe and friendly by being patient!
Norte: Thank you, Terri.
What are the problems you experience at the 7th and Division intersection? What would make it better? What about other spots in town?