The Magical Mixture of Goodness Ahead

Twice this week I’ve heard: “This is my favorite season — for sure.”

I couldn’t agree more. With the cool evenings, clearer air, the excitement of fall, the season is full of opportunities. Here are three recent experiences that left me eager to flip the calendar to September.

Last Sunday, I took my four-and-half-year-old daughter on a mini bike camp. It was the first time she could do this without her pesky older brother, and it was pretty special. We hit the playgrounds, the splash pad and ate snacks — lots of snacks. The topic of riding bikes to school came up more than once. Her imagination took over as she considered her options. It turns out there’s a lot of places she can, and will, ride her bike.

This past Thursday, I joined volunteers John and Dawn in Kalkaska for the back-to-school Blazer Bash. We went to fix bikes as part of the third Norte TuneUp. While I was bringing yet another Mongoose back from the brink of death, I had a chance to get to know its owner, an energetic 6th grader. A few years ago, she won the bike for perfect attendance. Entering high school this year, she’s fired up to ride it back to school, but first, her Mongoose needed lots of love. It was a delight and rewarding to play a part in that excitement for the new school year.

While turning wrenches underneath the orange Norte tent, we overheard many animated students talking about their new teachers and who else was in art class with them. It was contagious. The excitement of going back to school never gets old. The back-to-school season is full of excitement for students and teachers, and what better way to take advantage of that energy, plus the fantastic late summer weather, than to extend your day by riding bikes with friends?

Recently, I discussed the upcoming riding season with a youth mountain bike coach, coach Joe. He said something that rang so true for me. When he’s helping Norte recruit coaches, he tells his friends that being a youth mountain bike coach is the easiest job out there. Of course, the job comes with some challenges, but he’s right. The hard part is taken care of because the young riders arrive at the trailheads stoked to be outside after school, amped to be meeting new kids, and their adventurous spirits naturally guide them to exciting new places. It’s a magical mixture of goodness, and it makes coaching easy, enjoyable, and memorable.

Thinking about it, I’m also stoked to get out there and explore.


Coach Ben

P.S. Are you ready to experience the joy felt by coach Ben and coach Joe? Our paid coaches and volunteer assistant coaches make a difference in kids’ lives. Here’s how you can get involved as a paid coach or volunteer assistant.



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