Summer Bike Camp Update: Session One

 

Dear Bike Camp families, 

On May 22, we announced that Norte’s Summer Bike Camp status would be made on a rolling schedule two weeks ahead of each session. Each week we are monitoring State regulations, updated guidelines, and news from local health officials. We heard last week that Northern Michigan is doing excellent at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Good job, everyone! If we can keep up the good work and avoid significant outbreaks, we are likely to continue to see things open up and stay that way, including bike camp.

At this time, June 22 is the earliest that bike camp may start, and we regrettably need to cancel the first week of Bike Camp beginning on June 15. Essentially, our opening of bike camp is dependent on the lifting of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, or another pending executive order that addresses Norte’s services. 

If you’re registered for week one, we have some options. First, you may transfer your registration to a newly added week of Bike Camp scheduled for the week of July 6-10. Session One Bike Camp participants have the first opportunity at this camp. We will open it to others on June 9, so please email me at Ben@elgruponorte.org or simply reply to this message as soon as possible. 

Additional options if your session is canceled:

  1. Transfer your session one registration to another open session. 
  2. Place your Session One registration fee on your family balance. You may then use it towards any Norte future programs (including future camp payments still pending).
  3. Receive a full refund of your Session One Bike Camp registration fee.
  4. Or, support Norte by donating your registration fee a tax-deductible contribution to Norte to keep us rolling healthy, safe, and strong for many seasons to come. Donations ensure that our programs remain accessible to any family regardless of circumstances. 

Reminder, at this time, only Session One Bike Camp is canceled. We are busy putting everything in place to safely run Session Two (June 22-26). We will inform Norte families of that decision on June 8. 

Despite this setback, we continue to hear promising news that favors Summer Bike Camp happening soon. We are doing our part to make that happen in a fun and healthy way and we truly appreciate your patience, support, and positive attitude. 

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the bright blue skies we’re having and to get out there and stay active responsibly. We’ll ride with you really, really soon.

Thank you. 

Ben and Gary

P.S. For Session One Bike & Kick and Bike & Sail campers, your afternoon camp’s status is being determined by Traverse Area Community Sailing and Traverse Bay Area Youth Soccer

 

 

Looking Forward to Summer Fun…Responsibly

 

Bike Campers, 

We are wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping our distance here at Norte. We’re also optimistically proceeding with care towards our Summer Bike Camp. Every day we’re learning more as state health officials turn the dial towards opening more and more businesses and allowing more and more social activities. 

Norte’s goal this summer––like every summer–– is to do our part to make it the best. Traverse City’s Summer Bike Camp is a big part of achieving that goal, and we are doing everything in our power to make it happen. 

Right now, we are not prepared to announce either way about our summer camp. We understand the importance of the bike camp experience for families. We also appreciate that now more than ever, children need play, socialization, movement, and the confidence-building that our bike camp develops. We have weekly sessions with full registration through August, and we want to put smiles on all those faces.  

To avoid canceling unnecessarily, we join our Bike & Sail partner Traverse Area Community Sailing to announce cancellations on a rolling schedule two-weeks ahead of each session. That means that families signed up for the first session scheduled to begin on June 15 will be notified on or before June 1. As summer progresses, families enrolled for each new session can expect an update on their session status two-weeks ahead of time. At that point, we will also communicate our latest efforts on how we will be keeping everyone happy,  healthy, strong – and safe. 

Rest assured, we dedicate ourselves to being a model of public health and safety. The health of our campers, instructors, and their families is a priority. We are well-positioned to deliver a fun, safe, healthy, and educational bike camp when the time is right. 

Norte is committed to helping everyone get outside and recreate responsibly. We’re happy to learn this week that Michiganders can once again meet in small groups of 10 or less as long as physical distancing, face masks, and frequent handwashing continues. That’s excellent news and news we can use. 

We will know more about what’s possible soon. We will continue to keep our camp participants and the wider community up to date. Thank you for your patience and support. We will ride together soon. 

Sincerely, 

Gary & Ben and the rest of your friends at Norte

 

Bike Life: Are You Winter Biking with Matt?

 

Winter Bike to Work & School Day!

Friday, February 14

 

Meet Matt Jones 

Great Lakes Maritime Academy student, Matt Jones, travels from south of Hammond Rd. to the Great Lakes Academy for his bike commute. It’s one of the longer winter bike commutes you’re going to find, not to mention one of the more potentially harry routes. Matt does it with an unflappable grin and preparedness you’d expect from a coastie. We sat down with him to hear what brought him to Traverse City and about his attraction to winter biking.

 

Q: You’re relatively new to the area. What brings you to the Grand Traverse region? Where’d you move from?

I came to Traverse City in June of 2018 by means of utilizing my veterans’ educational benefits to attend Great Lakes Maritime Academy. I ended my active duty service in the Coast Guard that June in Coos Bay, Oregon and moved across the country for the third time. I am originally from a town south of San Diego, California where I spent the first 25 years of my life.

 

Q: San Diego to northern Michigan winters. That’s a big jump, no?

Yes, a leap indeed! Although I would say that as much as people think it’s cool that the weather is great all the time in SoCal, to me it can get kind of boring because with so many nice days out you tend to waste them. Here, however, you jump at the chance to enjoy a sunny 20-degree day. I genuinely love having four seasons and getting to experience them after growing up in pretty much a one season climate. I genuinely love shoveling snow in my shorts.

 

Q: What motivates you to be out here on the bike year-round? Do you bike mainly as part of your commute? What other times do you winter bike?

This is a great question. First, I would say if it was not for the advent of fat bikes I probably would have difficulty getting around on my bike in the winter. Second, commuting-wise, getting around on my bike has been an off and on thing I have done for over 10 years. When I joined the Coast Guard it became too burdensome at times – depending on the unit type and location to get to work (by bike).  Still, I tried to when I could. Outside of my time spent in the military, sometimes it was by necessity and others like it is now – it is just a better use of my time. I have commuted by bike in five states all with different climates and unique challenges.

Lastly, aside from commuting via bike in the winter, I do try to hit up the VASA winter singletrack. As a side note, I had to tone down my urge to pedal the metal after I hit a tree in August this last year that laid me out for a minute. I road bike heavily, however, since the tree incident I sold my road bike to help my wife and I purchase a home in town. My fat bike is now my year-round go-to bike.

 

 

Q: How many years have you been out winter biking?

This is my second winter in Michigan biking. I’ve biked other winters in Oregon and California, but let’s be honest those winter commutes are a joke compared to riding here; a joke that most think I’m joking when I say I get around on my bike here in Michigan.

 

Q: Does the Maritime Academy have facilities you can use to store your bike? Change your clothes?

Yes to both. There is a bike rack here and if I had bike issues I could utilize an indoor shop space to remedy them. As for lockers, there are day-use lockers. I have unofficially commandeered one to keep my uniform items here at school. If I did not have to wear a uniform I would have no need for a locker, but these spaces, in general, are good to wipe the sweat off your brow. On the main campus of Northwestern Michigan College, I sit in class in my riding gear as I am not required to be in uniform there.

 

Q: By the looks of your rig, you’re certainly prepared. What’s different on your bike in the winter? What about your gear?

I appreciate your noticing my schwag. In the winter its more about what is on me than what is on my bike, however, I do make a few adjustments to my bike for the winter commute. Pertaining to my bike, fenders are a winter addition on my bike. The fenders do a half-decent job of protecting me from the resultant brine-slush that happens from melted snow and when the temperatures are just right after it snows to thaw. I somewhat loathe the commercially available fenders for fat bikes because they are 1) not aesthetic to one’s bike and 2) I still get that brine all over my back. I plan to custom fabricate something to provide better protection for me and my bike.

Aside from fenders, I lower my pressure in my tires to provide better traction. Other than that, my bike is set up as it would be in the summer. Good lights are an investment anyone who wants to commute on a bike should make for safety in low light conditions but especially in daylight because let’s be honest, the drivers are a little distracted out there.

Now on what I wear/use gear-wise for my bike, I recently just made a load adjustment with the new addition of a basket rack on my front fork. I did this because wearing a twenty-pound backpack for six miles takes it out of you real quick in the cooler temps. When I lived three miles from school it was not that big of a deal, but the long commute rapidly declines comfort if I still wore the heavy bag. Because of brine I mentioned, I use a water-resistant cover over my bag to protect it and then secure it in my basket.

Everyone is a bit different from the amount of heat they generate but for me all I wear most of the time it is a wicking layer and my softshell jacket. I wear triathlon shorts and long underwear, and then a pair of chinos of all things over that because they are stretchy. On my feet are a pair of insulated waterproof boots and gaiters. The gaiters have proven to be a favorite part of my gear because they protect my legs from the brine that gets thrown up by the bike. I have a few pair of gloves depending on the temperature outside, and the same for my head. I have a regular mountain bike helmet that I use most of the time and use a helmet-specific beanie, and on the cold brutal days I will bust out my snowboarding helmet for added warmth. I do wear goggles as needed but most of the time I go without eye-wear. Lastly, a good neck cowl is a cold-weather rider’s best friend.

 

Q: Any tips for Norte readers who might be interested?

Geez, where do I start? I would say winter biking isn’t as difficult as people might think. In my case, it can be a little dicey, but that is only because I live just outside of town. For those that live in town, the infrastructure is there to capitalize on being able to get around town. I have fallen on icy surfaces, but this has always been surprisingly in parking lots or not the main road. And speaking of ice, the colder icy-er days of winter are more desirable to me than those where it is just a briny slush-fest. You do not need bike specific gear to get out there. Because Traverse City has a vibrant culture of active people, in their closets right now they probably have 75% of the gear they need to be comfortable riding a bike in the winter.

Be defensive but not offensive on your bike. What I mean is, be nice on your bike and do not do anything to add to those drivers who already despise you being on the roadway. Be seen, be heard, and have fun! In my mind, this helps drivers and other roadway users respect those of us on a bike. I can tell you how considerate drivers are by how close they pass by me. Speaking to that I have had plenty of people pass me too close with their vehicle with bike racks on them, and each time still amazes me.

 

Q: Anything to add?

There is always something to add, but if anyone is interested in something I did not cover they can reach out to me and I would be happy to help as best I can.

 

For more winter bike tips:

Norte Volunteer New Year’s Resolution

Looking for a worthy New Year’s Resolution that has a real impact? Become a volunteer at Norte! Our volunteers get it done in our community, volunteering over 2,000 hours in 2019. Notre is expanding and driving real, positive change in Northern Michigan and we need you to continue The Good. 

Won’t you help us by being a part of a healthy, strong, and joyful community? 

Types of Volunteering at Norte:

  • Saddle Up!
      • We need adults to help with our after school and bike camp programs. THIS IS OUR BIGGEST VOLUNTEER NEED! Ride bikes, ensure safety, and enjoy being a kid again!
  • Represent!
      • Got the gift of gab or are a Norte super fan? Norte hosts and takes part in a ton of events. From tabling and talking to leading rides to registering participants, help by being a leader and point person while wearing orange and smilin’ big. 
  • Balance Bike Super Hero!
      • Support the little folk as they learn the ropes! Show up, organize, and lend a literal hand in both in-school and summer programing, as you give the wee ones confidence to balance and explore new skills. 
  • Adopt the Adaptive Riders!
      • Serve those with needs by showin’ up at our adaptive bike program. This in-school and summer program gives those with disabilities the opportunity to develop bike riding abilities and find joy and strength through movement. Show up, lead with kindness, and watch the smiles appear!
  • Fix ‘em up!
      • All of Norte’s program and library bikes need upkeep and safety assurance. Be part of a growing corp of volunteers fixing and bolt checking all Norte bikes. Learn and collaborate, support and teach, wrench and create a safety net for all kids utilizing Norte bikes. 
  • Write, fold, and stuff envelopes. Repeat!
      • Office help isn’t always rainbows and ponies but it’s a huge deal in ensuring communication, thank yous, and asks happen. There’s usually snacks and exciting banter with Norte staff who will lavish praise on you and your work. 
  • Advocate!

Learn to use your voice to help build more walkable and bikeable communities. Don’t worry, we train you up on this gig!

  • Advocate!
    • Learn to use your voice to help build more walkable and bikeable communities. Don’t worry, we train you up on this gig.

More information about volunteering with Norte? Connect with Mike: mike@elgruponorte.org

Orange You Glad It’s Fall?

Forget Pumpkin Spice and Football, Bikes are the Best Part of Fall!

We’re pumped for our best fall ever. There’s just nothing like exploring northern Michigan on a beautiful fall day on bikes with friends, is there? Here are our top reasons to make this your best fall ever with Team Orange.

And more! What did we miss? We’ll add it. Contact Ash: ashlea@elgruponorte.org

 

Adventurama 2019 Wrap Up!

Well happy people on bikes, Adventurama 2019 was one for the books!

  • 170 happy people on bicycles
  • 9 generous Adventurama sponsors
  • 13 amazing volunteers
  • $5,000 raised for our Big Orange Promise campaign
  • A very grateful Team Orange

Save the date! The 5th annual Adventurama is September 12th 2020.

2019 Official Results: OPEN Division

690 Mustache Ride
630 The Daredevils
620 Night on the Town
615 Team Francis “I Know You Are, But What Am I?”
608 Sondheim Steamroller
600 Wheels of Fortune
569 Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids
518 The Wheel Pack
480 Blizzard Buddies
445 The Good, The Bad, and the Uncle
30 Homeschool Dropouts

2019 Official Results: FAMILY Division

630 Train Wreck aka The Concussions
560 Dragons
538 Spalla Super Heroes
535 Bees on Bikes
530 Roaming Gnomes
520 Los Luchadores Fuertes
520 The Michiganders
510 Triplet Super Power Unite
485 Sons of Hopper
472 Hell on Wheels
445 Team Wings
435 Grandpa’s Birthday
415 Stillwell Stars
390 2 Dudes and 2 Moms
390 Weir Wheels
390 The Little Senders
370 Girl Power
350 Reid
350 The Holy Rollers
325 The DADs
270 Foley Frenzy

Adventurama 2019 Photo Gallery!

Gracias, Brian!

Meet Brian Buysse, one of Norte’s awesome volunteers!

Brian started coming into the Wheelhouse this spring and summer to wrench on bikes to get bikes under more bottoms in northern Michigan. His expertise is needed and very appreciated. Thank you for your time and passion, Brian!

How long have you been volunteering with Norte?

Just a few weeks wrenching but have assisted on a few rides and also helped paint the Wheelhouse last fall. 

What’s your bike background?

I’ve done multi-day tours, mountain bike races, then moved into road cycling. After getting burned out from my IT career, I decided I needed to do something completely different. I shadowed a neighbor on the finer points of bike mechanics then shortly after, I moved from Lansing to northern Michigan after finding a job at a bike shop in Beulah. I also owned and ran a bike shop in Manistee for a few years and spent 15 years total as a professional in the industry.

Why do you share your time and passion with Norte?

I want to give back. I’ve seen how bike shops can exclude people who don’t know much about bikes and I want to bring my knowledge and mechanical expertise to Norte to help combat that. Bikes can bring people together and give them a sense of freedom on the road and on the trail. Bicycling can also help people find joy. But there’s nothing worse than getting kids excited and then giving them a bike that doesn’t work; they can lose interest pretty fast. I want kids to have a positive experience with bikes. So, someone with my mechanical experience can not only fix up bikes and help Norte with its bike lending programs, but I can also help kids and volunteers learn bike maintenance. My goal is to find the best fit and contribute what I can and, again, spread the joy that bikes can give people, both young and old.

 

Want to be awesome like Brian and share your time and expertise with Norte? There are a lot of different volunteer opportunities to fit your schedule. Thank you for making the magic happen!

Adventurama: Results and photo gallery

 

On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Traverse City, 33 squads of 130+ happy people on bicycles took to our neighborhood streets and trails in search of treasure, high fives and glory.

100% of proceeds will support our Traverse City wide Safe Routes To School initiative including our free bike safety program that starts this week at 5 schools.

Congrats to team Bike The Bike on their “win”. See the very unofficial results HERE.

Did you Adventurama? Share your photos with us and then tell us the good, bad and ugly to help make next year’s event awesome’er HERE.

 

 

Kids on bikes in Traverse City. All. Summer. Long.

Off the couch. Off the screen. Let’s get outside and on bikes in this amazing place we call home.

Norte! has mucho bike-y happenings for happy, healthy, young people all summer long:

Full list of events HERE

Can’t wait to ride bikes together, kids. Vamanos!

Kids on bikes in Traverse City this weekend: 6 things

1. Norte!’s slot for The Little Fleet dunk tank is 430-5 today. Come dunk us and help raise $ for our mountain bike team.

 

 2. Fridays@TheCommons is on after dunk tank shenanigans. 5:30 at the piazza: elgruponorte.org/dirt/friday
 
3. TC Bicycle Festivo is tomorrow 10-noon at the Clubhouse. Please come: elgruponorte.org/festivo
 
4. Vasa Domingos Sunday with special guests the Woodland Eagles is this weekend. Invite yo’ friends: elgruponorte.org/eagles
 
5. Zeke’s Ride is also this Sunday. 6:30 at the Clubhouse. Please come to that too: elgruponorte.org/zeke
 
6. Want your kid to know how to bike around town intelligently, independently and confidently? Get ’em into The Bike Mas Project: elgruponorte.org/bikecamp


Bike Happy, Traverse City Keeps Rollin’

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Bike Happy, Traverse  City, our year end fundraiser, is crushing it. $2360 and counting. That’s mucho dinero for Norte! but let’s keep’er rolling.

matchers

Remember, thanks to these awesome 6 businesses/organizations, the first $3000 will be matched. Let’s not leave money on the table, folks.

With your support, Norte! will:

  • invest in bike tools, parts and supplies for El Barrio Bike Fix, our upcoming after school learn-to-wrench program at Eastern Elementary
  • fund The Bike Mas Project, our experienced-based after school empowerment program at Eastern and Traverse Heights Elementary this spring
  • purchase more balance bikes for the Estrellas del Norte!, our learn-to-ride program this summer
  • grow our Kids Bike Library to make sure that every awesome kid can ride an awesome bike no matter their family’s financial resources

Please donate today!

Norte! is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID 46-4861142), and your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law.

Give Online

Send a Check

Norte!
PO Box 781
Traverse City, MI, 49685

A Norte! Story: Eleanor Bikes Happy To The Little Fleet

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Meet Eleanor. Eleanor is a 4th grader at TCAPS Montessori @ Glenn Loomis. In addition to participating in Bike To School Fridays, TC Walks To School Day and bike2camp, Eleanor and her family joined us on many TC Rides, our weekly slow roll which finishes at The Little Fleet, this summer.

We asked Eleanor to share her experience with us. Here’s her story:

Riding Bikes To The Little Fleet With  Norte!
by: Eleanor Olds

I love Norte! because it’s like a big family that loves to bike. Biking is so fun. Sometimes a group of Norte! people make a bike train and we bike around then go to the Little Fleet for dinner. I love food and biking, so that is always fun. Norte! is Awesome.

Eleanor’s story and drawings

eleanor1

 

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Eleanor, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you liked Eleanor’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

 

A Norte! Story: Ty Bikes Happy With The Estrellas

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Meet Ty. Ty is 3 years old. Along with his mom, Arianne, Ty joined us for several Estrellas del Norte! meet-ups this summer. The Estrellas are our learn-to-ride balance bike squad. They play, meet new friends, ride bikes, eat snacks, and have FUN!

We asked Ty and Arianne to share their experience with us. Here’s their story:

Balance Bikes With Norte!
by: Ty’s mom

This past summer, Norte! encouraged little kids to get involved with the Estrellas Balance Bike Squad. What’s a balance bike? Basically, a bike without pedals that helps kids hone their balance and steering skills before they graduate to a standard pedal bike.
 

On select Tuesday evenings, a small but extremely energetic group of two to five year-olds met up at F&M to ride in the park, eat snacks and have fun. The parents set-up cones and obstacles for the tikes to try out balance bikes donated by McLain Cycle.

As the parent of an only-child, my main interest in the Estrellas was to get my three year-old son, Tyler, around kids of varying ages and abilities so he could interact with and learn from them. Ty spent most of the first meet-up running around the obstacle course and barrel rolling down the hill, but each time that the Estrellas gathered he spent more time riding.

A few of the kids had never been on a bike of any type before, and one girl had a balance bike at home but had no interest in it until she came and saw others riding around. Kids learn from other kids, and Estrellas provided the perfect opportunity. All in all, the first season was a success, and we look forward to building on it in Summer 2016.

Fortunately we had a mild-weathered fall, so when Estrellas was over, the riding continued. Ty’s big balance-bike moment of the year was doing the Iceman Sno-cone in November. This was his debut bike “race” and I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the sea of youngsters at the start line. He was a little timid, but once they took off, it was go time! My husband and I shuffled alongside as Ty gave it his best effort while wearing his new Norte! jersey. He crossed the finish with a huge smile and asked, “Dad, can we do it again!?”

We look forward to doing more with Norte! in the coming years as they introduce more families to the awesomeness of riding bikes.

Estrellas Photo Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Ty, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you liked Ty’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Ryan Bikes Happy At Conquer The Village

ryan

Meet Ryan. Ryan  is a 7th grader at East Middle School. We first met Ryan this spring at our weekly urban mountain bike shred, Fridays@TheCommons. Ryan showed up week after week, put in the time, worked hard and transformed himself into a legit mountain biker. In less than awesome weather, Ryan put those skills on display at the Conquer The Village race.

We asked Ryan to share his experience with us. Here’s his story:

Conquering The Village With Norte!
by: Ryan Miller

The first bike ride I went to with Norte! was a Fridays@TheCommons. I was kind of nervous because I did not know anyone.  But I have to say,I enjoyed it because everyone was really nice and they showed me where to go.  After that first Fridays@TheCommons, I realized that mountain biking was something I would be able to work for and I liked doing. 
Then I heard about the Conquer the Village Race. Mr. Schmidt told me it would be in about one month. He said if I really wanted a Norte! jersey, I could get one if I did this race. I REALLY liked that bright orange jersey and having one would make me part of this bike team. 
The week before the race, I looked up the weather. It was forecasted to be rainy and cold.  I knew that I didn’t really care about the weather and that it would be a blast to get muddy and wet.  I knew that the conditions downhill would be slick.
Race day came and Mr. Schmidt handed me my orange jersey. I put it on and I was feeling psyched.  Seeing the news cameras and hearing the loud music got me nervous and pumped up. We lined up and it was mostly a sea of orange jerseys. I went out hard to get ahead and I hit the first hill and got into a good pace. It was pouring rain and my glasses were covered in raindrops and I could hardly see.
I had to do 5 laps.  On the fourth lap I was starting to hit the wall. But as I rounded the start of the fifth lap, the music and the DJ announcer yelling “Last lap!” got me pumped. I floored it for the last lap and my head was light and fuzzy and my body was aching.  I came into the finish covered in mud and shaking cold and totally stoked to keep on mountain biking. I am hooked. Thanks Norte!.

Ryan’s Conquer The Village Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Ryan, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you liked Ryan’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Katie Bikes Happy To School With Friends

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Meet Katie. Katie is a 3rd grader at TCAPS Montesorri @ Glenn Loomis. She is part of the all girl Montessori Trolley bike train. Katie also joined us for bike2sail, bike2camp, Tour de TART “training” rides, Traverse City Walks To School Day, Winter Bike To School Day and the Cherry Fest parade. Wow. Awesome, right?!

We asked Katie to share her experience with us. Here’s her story:

Biking To School With Friends
by: Katie Clark

I like riding bicycles to school with friends because they are fun to talk with while you pedal fast.  Going fast seems very smooth and soft, like going down an ice hill and the ice is so smooth and gentle.   I really like riding by myself too, it is fun.  Then you can imagine that you are with friends on an adventure going all around the world on a bike.  It is just really fun, fun, fun. 

Katie’s Bike-tastic Photo Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Katie, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you liked Katie’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Quinn Bikes Happy To El Barrio Bike Fix

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Meet Quinn. Quinn is a 4th grader at TCAPS Montessori @ Glenn Loomis.  We first met Quinn when he starting riding with the Montessori Bay Express – a Norte! bike train led by his fab mom, Elizabeth – and then again at our after school learn-to-wrench program, El Barrio Bike Fix. Quinn is a heck of a kid. Smart. Independent. Confident. We like him. A lot.

We asked Quinn to share his experience. Here’s his story:

Learning To Fix Bikes = Awesome!
by: Quinn Waddle

I think Norte! is a real good thing to get you on your bike. They don’t try to make you do it, they just encourage you to do it. I choose to do it and I have a lot of fun. My mom is a bike train conductor and our train is called the Bay Express. Bike to School Fridays are fun because Mr. Clark brought donuts one day and a police man gave me a free Slurpee ticket for 7-11.

Yarro is a bike mechanic. One Friday in October he taught me how to fix my flat tire on my BMX bike. When Yarro comes I see him going around the bike racks and checking if anybody had flat tires. When you learn how to fix your bike it’s awesome.

El Barrio Bike Fix @ Glenn Loomis Photo Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Quinn, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you like Quinn’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: William Bikes Happy On The Vasa Trail

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Meet William. William is a 6th grader at East Middle School. We met William last year when he started showing up for Vasa Domingos and Fridays@TheCommons, our weekly mountain bike shreds. By working hard, William has come a long, long way. He is now legit mountain biker; smooth through the turns, powerful up the climbs and confident through the sand.

We asked William to share his experience. Here’s his story:

Sand, Hills and The Vasa Trail
by: William Haapala

It was a scorching hot day and the sun was up at its highest peak, almost like a clock when it strikes twelve. I could barely see. My dad and I were on the Slush Cup course with a biking group called Norte!. Here we are – the huge valley sandpit. I am never going to make it up the hill, I am totally going to crash in the sandpit. Even if I do make it through I will never make it up the other side.

What are the odds that I will make it up? I don’t know why I have enough confidence to try this. And there I was creeping up the one side of the valley, my face was redding up and I could feel the sweat starting to run down my back. It felt like the sun was going to collide with the Earth. My heart was starting to thump faster and faster.

Every inch felt like an hour. The top of the hill was coming into sight and I felt like I was going to pass out. I could hear my bike talking “crunch too much sand, crunch too much sand.” I could barely hold the grips because I was so sweaty. Higher and higher I went and finally I was at the top.

It felt like it took hours. It had only just begun, now I was speeding down an extremely steep hill right for an extremely large sandpit. I could hear my bike clicking rapidly. It felt like the sun was running away from the Earth. There it was 3,2,1 it sounded like water falling. Maybe I will make it this time.

My front wheel was swerving every which way. I was getting into what the pro bikers call a death wobble. I could smell the strong scent of churned up dirt because of the ATVs. My eyes were closed so tight that my eyelids were starting to get sore, and all the sudden my wheel stopped wobbling. I think I might make it. I opened my eyes and I was coasting up the other side. There was so much sand in my mouth and it tasted like dirt. The sun was back and I was sweating again.

I was feeling a lot better about this now but still not sure if I was going to make it. My dad came up to me. “That wasn’t so bad, I thought I would have never made it, ” I said with enthusiasm. That was the easiest time I have ever gotten up a hill so big I thought. I can’t wait until next time. I can’t believe that I thought it was so hard. That was so much fun. I will always look forward to this part of the trail.

“I will never be afraid of this again,” I told my dad. He nodded in reply. Maybe this is why biking is so fun; maybe the suspense is what makes it enjoyable. It is now two years later and I still look forward to this part or the trail.

Video from Vasa Domingos featuring William

 

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like William, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you like William’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Carter Bikes Happy With Winter Bike To School Day

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Meet Carter. Carter is a 6th grader at East Middle School. Last winter, when he was at Central Grade, Carter participated in Winter Bike to Work and School Day here in Traverse City. He was joined by his Principal, Mrs. Gallagher, several Norte! volunteers as well as 100+ awesome people across TC who embraced winter and pedaled to work/school together.

We asked Carter to share his experience. Here’s his story:

Winter Bike To School Day
by: Carter Schmidt

As I pulled on on my snow gear I grumbled to myself “Why can’t I just take the bus instead of biking to school? ” It was International Winter Bike to School and Work Day and my school’s principal, Mrs. Gallagher, was joining me to bike to school. International Winter Bike to School and Work Day is a worldwide competition where cities compete against each other to see who has the most people willing to bike to school or work in the dead of winter.

Traverse City was competing against cities like Montreal, Minneapolis, Moscow and Oslo and we were in the top 20. Norte! was trying to get as many people as possible to ride to work or school. Norte! is a youth focused, bike centric, advocacy organization that my parents started.  Mrs. G and 4 other brave souls chose to ride with me.

As soon as I walked into the cold air I involuntarily shivered. The thermometer showed that it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn’t the coldest day I had ever ridden but it was still chilly. For the last two years, I rode my bike to school every day. I learned a lot riding in some miserable conditions. My mom always says “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.” You have to dress smartly because the temperature can get into the negative teens. I wore a ski helmet and buff to keep my head and face warm. Also, you don’t want to ruin your nice bike. I rode a junky old mountain bike that my dad found in an alley. To get more traction on the snow, I let air out of my tires. It also takes some practice to learn to to handle your bike in the snow.

Mrs. Gallagher and I kind of had a hard time getting started due to the slippery snow and ice but once we got going it was fine. The streets were pretty clear thanks to the City getting out and plowing early in the morning. As we headed down Washington Street there wasn’t much traffic. As we got closer to school, there were more cars.

Once the school was right in front of us, I wanted to get out of the cold air so I started biking faster. As I approached the bike rack, I noticed that other kids rode their bikes too. I quickly took off my helmet and ran into the school. As I hit the heat of the warm building, I felt something cold drip onto my cheek. I realized that the ice on my eyelashes was melting and dripping down my face. What a great way to start my day!

A few photos from our Winter Bike To Work and School Day Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Carter, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you like Carter’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Avery Bikes Happy With Every Kid In A Park

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Meet Avery. Avery is a 4th grader at Woodland School. Earlier this fall, Avery joined us for our adventure to Sleeping Bear to get her Every Kid In A Park pass. We rode the BATA bus, pedaled bikes, climbed sand dunes, explored a museum and ate ice cream. It was awesome.

We asked Avery to share her experience. Here’s her story:

Every Kid In A Park With Norte!
by: Avery Sill

On September 27, 2015 I did my second Norte! ride. It was called an “Every Kid in a Park” Adventure.” My mom drove me to the BATA bus stop at Hall Street where we were to meet the other riders in the Norte! group. I was kind of nervous at first because I didn’t know anyone that I was riding with. But right when I got there everyone was so nice that I forgot that I was nervous.

We loaded up the bikes and got on the bus. Then the bus drove us to the visitors’ center at Sleeping Bear Dunes. As a Fourth Grader, I was given a free pass to any National Park in the country! Then we rode our bikes along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The trail was very hilly.

We were riding through a tunnel of trees. I felt like I was riding in a fairy tale. When we got to the dunes we climbed and climbed and climbed. After we climbed we had lunch, then we climbed some more. It was so fun. I got a lot of sand in my clothes, hair, nose, and ears, but it was worth it!

After Sleeping Bear Dunes, we took the Heritage Trail to Glen Haven on our bikes. We explored the boat museum and the black smith’s shop. At the boat museum there was a super cool scavenger hunt! Then we rode to Glen Arbor to have ice cream at Cherry Republic. The ice cream was delicious. Next we rode to the bus stop to get picked up to go home. My legs were pretty tired but I wanted to keep riding.

At the end of the day I had made a couple of new friends. I felt really proud of myself for riding thirteen miles, more than I had ever ridden before! This day was one of the best experiences of my life. I think the best part was riding with Norte!. Norte! is a very welcoming and encouraging group. I am so excited to be a part of Norte!.

Our Every Kid In A Park Photo Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Avery, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you like Avery’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.

A Norte! Story: Jack Bikes Happy At Fridays@TheCommons

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Meet Jack. Jack is a 7th grader at East Middle School.  We first met Jack this spring at Fridays@TheCommons, our weekly in-town mountain bike shred, and were immediately impressed by his attitude and energy. He showed up week after week all summer and progressed quickly into a legit, confident and strong mountain biker.

We asked Jack to share his experience. Here’s his story:

Norte! at The Commons
by: Jack McNamara

I began riding with Norte! last May and I’ve really enjoyed the Friday evening rides because they are a great way to end the school week and hang out with my friends while doing my favorite thing: biking.  Riding at the Commons is a highlight because the trails are challenging and full of hills.  The hills are the best because after you work your way up the long, steep inclines, you get the  reward of an awesome downhill!

Just weeks after joining the Norte! group last May, I rode in the “Conquer the Village” bike race at the Commons. This was my first time racing, but after just four times around the course on the Friday rides, I knew it like the back of my hand. The day of the race was cold, rainy, and muddy, but once I got moving, I forgot all about it.  I had a blast each time I made my way around the course, and I can’t wait to race “Conquer the Village” and ride with Norte! again next year!

Jack’s Conquer The Village Photo Gallery

Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Jack, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.

If you like Jack’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City  campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.

Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.