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Riding for Trails, Trails for Riding 🚲

Next week, more than 250 young riders — across 30+ teams at ten different trailheads — will roll out for Norte’s sixth year of Mountain Bike Team. Thanks to the 60 coaches who step up for these young riders, we can keep this popular program rolling. And we can ride because northern Michigan has a growing network of tremendous trails.

Last month, we highlighted our strong partnership with TART Trails. Another essential partner for Norte is the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, or NMMBA.

“We were founded to take care of dirt trails in the area,” said NMMBA Board President Tim Reicha. “It all started with the VASA Single Track.”

NMMBA is now involved with many of the region’s most well-known trails, from Palmer Woods in Leelanau CountyGlacial Hills in Antrim County, and the Cadillac Pathway in Wexford County. The all-volunteer organization not only builds but also maintains and protects trails. NMMBA also partners with like-minded organizations to lead rides and provide educational opportunities.

“There are a lot more people outside. There are a lot more people on the trails,” says Tim, adding that the pandemic only increased that growth. “We’re [NMMBA] trying to develop relationships with those people, and teach etiquette and good practices that impact the trail.”

Tim says a big part of that education is teaching people how to prevent trail erosion. Riding to preserve the trail includes practices like staying on the path and not skidding around corners. We provide these lessons on our Norte teams, and many of our coaches, like Tim, are NMBBA members.

Tim says another goal of NMMBA is to work with regional partners to elevate the region into a mountain bike destination. As part of that vision, he wants to connect existing and future trails.

“I’d like to see somebody be able to ride pavement out to dirt, then hop back on pavement and go back out on the dirt. Then they can stop and support a local restaurant or brewpub and then head home afterward. All without getting into their car,” he says.

As part of this effort to create a bike destination, Tim values the natural partnerships between NMMBA, TART, Cherry Capital Cycling ClubBike Leelanau, Norte, and others.

“The momentum of all these organizations can make it a reality,” he says.

Norte’s role has always focused on creating the next generation of mountain bike riders and trail stewards. And next month, we’re partnering with NMMBA for the first Junior Trail Gnome Day.

“We’ll show Norte families how we work on trails. We will also teach them how they can help while they are out riding or hiking — from picking up sticks to reporting bigger issues,” he says.

To learn more about NMMBA and learn how you can help build and maintain trails, visit NMMBA.net.

If you are a family participating in Norte’s spring Mountain Bike Team, join us for Junior Trail Gnome Day on Saturday, May 21, from 9:30 — 11 am at the VASA Single Track off of Supply Road. To join us, RSVP by May 13. 

📸 Above: Tim and Erin Reicha represent both Norte and NMMBA as coaches for Norte Mountain Bike Team. 

 


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