Bikes for All, All for Bikes 🚲
On Tuesday, May 18, my daughter Annie and I rolled with Norte. It was a trial run for a Bikes for All for individuals with special needs who have aged out of school programs but still need community connections and opportunities to stay active and meet new people. As the mom of a severely, multiply impaired daughter, there’s tremendous joy in watching her participate in an everyday activity with a group of friends.
Norte Executive Director Ty led Annie and a group of her friends around on bikes in the safe and comfortable borders of the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. I was impressed with his ability to accommodate various skill levels safely while creating a sense of joy for everyone. It made this first meet-up a victory. Annie and I can’t wait for the next one.
The first lap included a stop at the Wheelhouse. Everyone rolled away with a Norte sticker to proudly apply to their bikes. On the return trip to the Clubhouse, Ty dug up some bike bells for all those without one. On the second lap, we rang our way around the track. Ding! Ding! Not only were there grins and laughter from all the bikers, everyone we met along the way had a wave and smile as they shared in the joy.
I was beaming with pride as a mother and a member of the Norte‘s board. I couldn’t help but celebrate everyone’s accomplishments.
Images: Top of the page: Katie fired up to be rolling with Sue Paul. Above, row 1: John Paul and Annie pose in front of the Clubhouse, and Max shows off with some deep dips on Norte Ring Racks. Above, row 2: the crew on their first lap, led by Ty and Maggie on The Duet, with Hildegard and Trevor beside them.
Norte‘s Bikes for All program is known for serving special needs students still attending school programs. Bikes for All works with TBAISD’s New Campus, Oak Park, and others. Bikes for All MeetUps — Tuesdays adds an option for those 26 and older whose social opportunities are limited due, in part, to aging out of school programs. While this first run was a small group of five, it proved the concept, and we hope to expand it.
A special thank you to Rose Coleman of the Grand Traverse Pavilions who loaned us “The Duet,” which accommodates non-pedaling individuals. The bike not only looks fantastic, but the experience also places the rider front and center so that they can feel the wind on their face and view the passing world unobstructed.
This summer, join us every Tuesday beginning on June 8 at 10:30 am, weather permitting. The fleet of adaptive bikes is limited, but we will be ready to ensure everyone has a marvelous time. Annie and I both would love to have too many riders — the more friends and smiles, the better.
As a Norte Board member, I feel fortunate to work toward Norte‘s mission of providing biking for all community members. It’s even more special doing so with Annie and her growing list of friends. Come on out, and let’s roll together!
Sue Paul, Norte Board of Directors
P.S. Norte is looking for volunteers to help us with our expanding Bikes for All programming. If helping ensure that everyone has an opportunity to ride bikes sounds up your alley, give us a shout. We’re also looking for gently used adaptive bikes in need of a good home.
If you’d like to donate financially to help grow the Bikes For All program, please made a gift and help us reach our 2021 goal.