Elk Rapids Update: Cranksgiving is Coming, Folks! ūüĆĹ

Cranksgiving Comes To Elk Rapids

The leaves are falling. The sun is shining. Yet, there’s a briskness in the air to remind us that winter is approaching. With that comes the reminder that we need to bundle up, put our hats on, and find ways to get outside even when the weather starts to turn.

I remind you to keep pushing yourself to find ways to get outside and enjoy all the seasons of Northern Michigan. And, remember, Norte is here to help.

This November, you can do your body right and help others.¬†Norte’s annual¬†Cranksgiving¬†bike ride and food drive is on November 22. There are opportunities in Traverse City, Suttons Bay, and, this year, our very own Cranksgiving¬†in¬†Elk¬†Rapids¬†‚Äď our first year!¬†Thankfully, we have the¬†Chain Hub at Rotary Park¬†to use our starting point because of many of you ‚Äď thank you.

Cranksgiving is a¬†national event¬†that is a “food drive on two wheels. Part bike ride, part food drive, and part scavenger hunt. All you need is a bike, a bag, and a lock!” This year we add a mask, but the fun stays the same.

Are you ready to ride bikes, give back, and do good? You can register your team at Norte’s website. If you have any questions or are looking for some costume ideas,¬†shoot me a reply.

I also wanted to shout out to all our coaches and volunteers who helped make our Mountain Bike Team at Maplehurst and Glacial Hills such a huge success. We had full registration at these locations and received so many positive survey results.

So, thank you, coaches. Thank you, volunteers. ¬†We love you and can’t wait to ride bikes in the Spring.

– Lauren + Team Orange


Whether it’s having a role on the Project Team, or volunteering once in a while, or just staying up to date and coming out for a slow ride, get more involved by completing this form:


Cranksgiving: Food and Fun on Two Wheels

Our Cranksgiving Presser:

Norte invites Northern Michigan residents to form a team and sign up for this year’s Cranksgiving. The event combines a fun bicycle ride ‚Äď costumes encouraged ‚Äď with food collection to benefit local families. The annual event started in New York City in 1999 and launched in Northern Michigan in 2018.

This year’s Northern Michigan Cranksgiving begins at 11 am on¬†Saturday, November 22. This year at three locations: Traverse City, Elk Rapids, and Suttons Bay. ¬†

Cranksgiving riders will need a bicycle, a lock, a mask, and a minimum of $25 to purchase groceries and household items from participating Northern Michigan businesses. To collect all of the items on the shopping list, it helps to ride as a team, but solo riders are welcome. Registration for Norte’s 2020 Cranksgiving is free and currently open at the organization’s website, elgruponorte.org/cranksgiving.

“I love Cranksgiving. It’s a blast to see families and teams come out in the cold to have some fun, get a little ride in, and to do some good,” said Ty Schmidt, Norte Executive Director. “We have two categories, one for folks who want to ride 5-6 miles and another for a more leisurely 2-3 miles. Cranksgiving is a family event intended for people of all ages.”

This year, Norte is hosting Cranksgiving events in multiple locations in Northern Michigan. Currently, Elk Rapids, Suttons Bay, and Traverse City will simultaneously host events. However, Norte is interested in collaborating with other communities to hold Cranksgiving drives as well. “If your community is interested, let us know, and we can help you make it happen,” said Schmidt.

All Cranksgiving events will begin at 11 am, with check-in spread out from then until noon to allow for social distancing. At check-in, teams will be giving a shopping list and further instructions. When groups finish, they return the items to the starting spot. Norte will work with Food Rescue and area pantries to deliver the goods to families in need in the region. The ride should take around two hours.

To help keep everyone healthy and help stop the spread of COVID-19, Norte asks that all riders stay home if they have any symptoms before the event. Teams are required to wear a mask and maintain social distance. Although this is not a race, teams receive bonus points for posting to social media pictures of their team washing their hands.

Food Rescue will distribute items collected by the riders to the Northwest Food Coalition’s food pantries in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties. “I look forward to spending the day with friends to have fun and do good. But Cranksgiving is something more, too,” said Taylor Moore, Food Rescue Manager for Goodwill Northern Michigan.

“Cranksgiving gives me the opportunity to think about why we need to have this event: because every year so many people struggle to buy their Thanksgiving meal,” Moore continued. “The Norte community knows better than most the power of collective action. Just as we can envision new trails and roads where vehicles take more notice, we can envision kids riding their bikes to school with stomachs full of nutritious food. This Cranksgiving, I’ll be envisioning new reasons to bike, and a Thanksgiving free of COVID and hunger.”

This year’s Northern Michigan Cranksgiving is presented by Norte Business Champion, State Farm Agent Susan Rauser. More information on Cranksgiving can be found online:¬†https://elgruponorte.org/cranksgiving/

Elk Rapids Update: It takes a Community ‚Äď Thank You ūüôŹ


This story was originally shared with Norte’s Elk Rapids Update. Sign up below

It Takes a Community

My husband and I once biked across the country. We were only dating then, but we were looking for something. Or, somewhere. We took it slow and considered what it means to find a community you love. 

There were days I felt like I was losing my mind and moments when I rejoiced. It’s incredible how much relief and joy one can have when a stranger shares something as simple as ice-cold water. One thing for sure, our cross country trip shattered my obsession to do everything myself. I was humbled.¬†

Along the way, people offered us more than water. Strangers provided us shelter, snacks, dinner, and immediate friendship. I was blown away with our country’s generosity. ¬†We learned on this tour that the communities we loved the most were the most committed to outdoor recreation and had the natural wonders to show for it. It felt like a secret club we needed to join!

After five years of searching, we struck gold. We found the Village of Elk Rapids and the perfect place for us to live, work, play, and build a family. This realization crystallized this past month. 

Last week, we erected and cut the ribbon for¬†The Chain Hub in Elk Rapids, a bike library and community bike shop. The Chain Hub name calls out to the Chain of Lakes and all the connections who made a dream come true. Nestled on Elk Lake’s shores at Rotary Park, Norte’s bike library is already filled to the rafters with bikes ready to get out there. A special thank you to McLain Cycle & Fitness for their generous bike donation.

The community we call home took on this grassroots effort with enormous enthusiasm. We showed that being outside, gaining a love of a two-wheeled life, and having a sense of freedom are critical skills to teach the next generation. I’m overflowing with gratitude for how many residents volunteered their trailers, tools, time, skills, money, and encouragement to help build this little shed. It is a small but mighty hub, and I am excited to see all that Antrim County can offer.¬†

Thank you, sincerely. Thank you.

Lauren Dake


P.S. Our fundraiser will be going through Friday, October 2. All donations will go towards building our scholarship fund for Antrim County residents. Scholarships will help ensure anyone who wants to can partake in Norte programs.  Donate $100 and have your name inscribed on one of our sweet bike mounts from Up.Bike.


Whether it’s having a role on the Project Team, or volunteering once in a while, or just staying up to date and coming out for a slow ride, get more involved by completing this form:


Home Park Pride: Norte’s New Home in Elk Rapids

In the winter of 2016, Norte moved out of the Schmidt garage into the old “Police Sector” building in the Grand Traverse County Civic Center’s south end. We renamed it the Clubhouse. It’s small, and it is mighty. It sits in one of our region’s unequaled¬†parks. It is our home.

Last week, with the support of many¬†incredible people, along with public and private organizations, we moved into another fantastic¬†park, the Elk Rapids’ Rotary¬†Park.

Our new¬†Elk Rapids Bike¬†Library¬†is also small. It’s also already well on its way to being mighty.

Norte bike¬†libraries¬†ensure that every child has an excellent bike regardless of their family’s resources. With a bicycle at the ready, they are more likely to be active as part of everyday life. They are more likely to ride to school, the beach, or the¬†library.

The Elk Rapids branch of the Grand Traverse Regional Bike¬†Library¬†is already a game-changer and significantly advances our mission ‚Äď happy, healthy, ready-to-learn kids. The core of Norte’s work.

This small and mighty building¬†in a beautiful¬†park¬†on the shores of¬†Elk Lake is a signal of something bigger:¬†Team Orange’s continued commitment to improving our region’s health, access, connection, and equity on a systems level. It is treating the symptoms of a seemingly ever more isolated and sedentary culture. Community advances like a humble bike¬†library¬†change the odds in favor of more happy, healthy, strong communities.

Huge thanks and undying gratitude to everyone who made the new Elk Rapids Bike¬†Library possible. Special thanks to Don Fredrigon of Re/Max Elk Rapids, the Village of Elk Rapids, Kris McLain and team at McLain Cycle & Fitnesss, Noel Peters of Petrobis Contracting as well as all the contributors to the “Keep It Rolling, Elks” crowdfunding campaign.