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From One Wheelhouse to Another,

With Love

When you visit Norte’s Wheelhouse, you’ll meet John Deely and his dog, Zippy. John came ashore with Norte last year after a 25–year career at sea as a merchant marine officer.

“Here, I get to help out in the community,” says John. “And that’s important to me — to be a part of a community.”

The Community Bike Shop is one of the services available at the Wheelhouse. Visitors have access to a complete set of professional tools — free of charge. If you need a repair beyond your expertise, John can tackle it for a reasonable fee. He also does spring tune-ups.

The Wheelhouse is also jam-packed with bicycles. A good portion is part of the Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library. The bike library allows families to check out a bike like they would check out a book. Then, as their youngster grows, they can exchange it for a larger model.

Other bikes hanging on the Wheelhouse wall we reserve for programs. Anyone in Summer Bike Camp, Mountain Bike Team, or Adventure Bike Club who needs a bicycle can check out a ride.

Explore the Wheelhouse with John, Zippy, and Aaron in this 2:32 minute video.

“They’re all tuned up and ready to go,” says John. “A child can borrow a bike for the duration of their program. So if they enroll in a program and they don’t have a bike, we’ve got them covered.” McLain’s Cycle and Fitness donated many of the program bikes.

The Wheelhouse is also home to many adaptive bikes in our Bikes for All fleet. “This fleet is for folks who may have some mobility issues,” says John. “We have several comfortable cruiser bikes, seven tricycles, and various adaptive bikes. So, anyone can get out for a ride.”

Finally, John’s also leads our consignment sales and essential bike program. The latter provides free bikes to adults who need them to get back and forth to work or school.

And if you’re lucky, John says there’s one more thing you might find at the Norte Wheelhouse — love.

“I met my partner, Brooke, here. That’s changed my life forever,” he says. “I had only been here a week, and she came through the door and said she wanted to learn how to work on her derailleur. It was immediate. I knew this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with.”

John says Brooke knows how to work on her derailleur now. 🧡


Find the Norte Wheelhouse at the northern end of the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, along Front Street in Traverse City. Current hours are 10–6 pm, Monday–Friday. Call the Wheelhouse at 231-883-2471.


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