Getting past the myths that persist

2019 is shaping up to be an awesome year for people who walk and bike in Traverse City. In June, MDOT will install HAWK (High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk) signals on Grandview Parkway. These will go in at Elmwood and Hall street. This fall, Traverse City will cut the ribbon for the reconstructed Eighth Street. The new Eighth Street is narrower (slower) and even includes one of Michigan’s first separated protected bike lanes.

All too often, good news for the pro-walk, pro-bike team attracts naysayers. These two projects won’t be any different (they already haven’t). This inspired Norte board member, Chris Hinze, to examine a few of the usual suspects and offer a little Myth Busting.

“Bikes don’t belong on the road…get on the sidewalk!”

People have a right to bike on both the roadway or the sidewalk. For people new to riding or those still building up confidence, riding in the roadway is intimidating. For them, riding on the sidewalk may be an attractive option. But, there are reasons that this isn’t the safest decision. 

People on bicycles on community bike ride in Downtown Traverse City Michigan. First, riding a bike on the sidewalk can lead to conflicts with people on foot. Second, in certain locations riding on the sidewalk is against the law.  Downtown Traverse City is an example.   

Last, and most important, riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous. The risk of a crash between someone on a bike and a car is higher when the former is on the sidewalk. The person driving is often caught off guard because of the sight lines and speed of the person on a bike. Protected bike lanes and trails are designed to reduce this conflict. Sidewalks are not.

Again, the streets are multimodal. Outside of limited access highways, everyone has a right to bike in the streets. To brush up on your Michigan law, visit the Michigan Vehicle Code.

“Traverse City has a perfectly good TART trail…get on the trail!”

A close cousin to the “get on the sidewalk” denouncement is “get on the trail.” What “get on the trail” fails to understand is that, by and large, trails are for recreational purposes. When people bike they tend to do so to get somewhere. And, to get somewhere with the least amount of hassle and in the least amount of time. We don’t ask people to only drive on highways so why ask bicyclists to only use trails. People on bikes have places to go. When they do so on a bike, they are freeing up street space that can help relieve congestion–besides to freeing up a parking space.

“Bikes don’t pay taxes!”

Well, this one is true; bikes don’t pay taxes. But, neither do cars. Or any other inanimate object for that matter. People pay taxes; we all pay taxes. Those taxes pay for the expense of constructing, maintaining, and policing streets. The majority of this comes from property taxes, which we pay regardless of how we move around. For local streets, less than 10% comes from user fees like gas taxes and registration fees. The user fee dollars predominantly go towards big projects like highways.   

Countless studies have shown that walking and biking break even as a cost to society. Meaning, for every $1 you spend on biking, society chips in less than a dime. For driving, every private dollar spent on motordom, society is paying around $9. That’s a Hefty subsidy no matter how you slice it.

“Bikers don’t obey the rules so they don’t deserve nice things!”

This is the ultimate “straw man” fallacy. This argument references the time someone saw that one person on a bike run a stop sign (confirmation bias). As a result, the community doesn’t deserve better bicycle infrastructure. If bicyclists don’t follow the rules and thus don’t deserve bike lanes, what then of drivers and streets? Local law enforcement agencies dedicate entire portions of their department to “traffic enforcement.” Does that mean because some people in cars speed or run red lights that we should not allow cars to use the streets? As someone who uses cars as well as bikes and walks, that doesn’t seem logical.

Here at Norte, we encourage everyone to be courteous regardless of how they move around town. When we walk, bike, drive, or otherwise roll we need to be aware of our surroundings and understanding of others who, like us, are simply trying to get through their day.  Safer sidewalks and better streets will only be that much sweeter when do.

 

What myths and biases do you see at play in the community? 

 

 

Big Saturday on tap in Traverse City: Here’s 4 awesome things to do

 

 

1. Free CPR Classes at the Library.

 

 

2. Norte does the Maker Fest! Join us at the City Opera House.

 

 

3. Norte is a 2019 TC Roller Derby nonprofit partner. Join us at their Birthday Bash.

 

 

4. Bike, hike, ski, walk, run, paddle. Let’s do it all for #AllInOneDayDay.

 

 

Norte and West Middle School to Launch New Program For Good

The Solution in School is part of Norte’s broader community-wide bike mechanics education initiative dedicated to empowering people of all ages and abilities to learn the skills that help promote self-assurance, confidence, creativity and lifelong bike independence.

We believe that understanding basic bicycle maintenance and repair is a lifelong skill that gives the young and young at heart the knowledge and confidence to ride more, venture further and embrace a happy, healthy lifestyle.

This pilot program teaches 6-7th graders basic bike repair skills in an engaging, hands-on manner. It will also do good in the community as students will be working on Traverse City’s Bike Library bicycles, which will be loaned out to local kids in need.

The Solution in School begins this Friday. If you’re interested in helping, contact Ben at ben@elgruponorte.org or call the Clubhouse at 231-883-2404.

Munson Healthcare, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, and Norte Offer Free CPR Classes at the Library

Learn the skills. Save a life.

In partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and Munson Healthcare, Norte is excited to offer two free community CPR classes to learn the skills (not certification) to help save a life.

2 classes available (9:15am and 11:00am) on Saturday, April 6th at the Traverse City library – upstairs in the Thirlby room. Limited to 15 participants/class.

Classes led by Vital Hands LLC.

Register for:

  • The 9:15 class HERE
  • The 11:00 class HERE

Questions? Get at us.

Running Fit + Norte Team Up for a Family Friendly Run

Join us for this very special Run Sábados as Running Fit- Traverse City will be onsite at the Wheelhouse with a hot chocolate stand! Their team of experts will be ready and willing to answer any questions on cold weather running gear and shoes. This is your chance to get set up for a successful winter running season.

Run Sábados is a family friendly running group at the Civic Center Park during shoulder season where we get outside with friends, run around in circles on the track and have FUN. Probably eat some snacks after, too.

WHERE:

Meet at the Norte Wheelhouse at 9:00 am.

WHO:

From elementary students to high school seniors and their families, all ages and abilities are welcome.

HOW FAR:

While most will run 1 – 4 laps of the Civic Center track, experienced runners are welcome to run downtown or the hills at the base of OMP or the TART trail or where ever.

FREE?

You betcha. No need to sign up either. Just show up.

 

Support happy, healthy, strong kids this Giving Tuesday

This year, on November, 27th 100% of our #GivingTuesday donations will go to help the Amigos, our empowerment program for kids with special needs, grow.

Norte is for happy, healthy, ready to learn kids no matter their ability. We believe in inclusion and that every child should have the opportunity to experience the joy of riding a bicycle.

The Amigos is an educational program that teaches confidence, independence, and bike/pedestrian safety skills to young people with special needs through empowerment, education, and adventure. It started in the spring of 2018 with a successful 4-week pilot program at Oak Park elementary and is ready to grow.

The Amigos operates as an in-school 4-week program, a Wheelhouse-based 6-week program, and a weekly summertime meet-up at the Clubhouse.

Please give today and Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics will match the first $1,000.

Giving Tuesday

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Our friends at The Little Fleet are also hosting an all-ages dance party on Tuesday, November 27th at 7pm for us.

Any donation – big or small – gets you in.

We’re also inviting Norte supporters to create a fundraiser on their FB page on behalf of the Norte to help us get more kids with special needs on bikes. Learn more HERE.

 

 

PODCAST: A Very Orange Iceman Cometh

With just a few sleeps away, Iceman fever is stoked high at the Clubhouse.

Episode 2 of This Clubhouse Life is all about Team Orange and features a couple – including our favorite Ecuadorian and 2/3 of the brother Schwartz crew – of our 94 kids that will be toeing the line in the Iceman, Slushcup and Sno-Cone races this Saturday.

Give it a listen – if it stops between segments, hit pause and then play again.

 

Join our once in a while, always informative, never spammy and very orange newsletter, El Periodico:

 

 

Iceman, PB&Js, an Olympian and Argentinian Come to Traverse City

8 sleeps!
Let’s celebrate an awesome Iceman Cometh Challenge and an amazing season of kids riding bikes on dirt by eating yummy sammiches with two of our fave pros, 2016 Rio Olympian, Chloe Woodruff, and her Stan’s Pivot Pro Team pb Maxxis teammate, the super fast Sofia Gomez-Villafañe from Argentina.

Meet at the Norte Wheelhouse at 2:00 pm the Sunday after Iceman (November, 4th). We’ll then head around town for a chit-chatty paced ride and back to the Wheelhouse for a delicious, locally sourced PB&J bar. Fun, right?!

Huge thanks to Naturally NuttyBay Bread Co and Food For Thought, Inc. for sponsoring the second annual PB&J Ride.

All awesome kids, their parents, and grandparents too! – are invited.

Oh, and please be sure to RSVP below so we have enough yummy sandwich stuff to go around.

This is a free event but donations will be accepted to support our youth mountain bike team.

Transforming a Forgotten Public Building into a Thriving Learning Center

 

This spring and summer, in partnership with Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation, we transformed the long-neglected historic Old Northwest Michigan Fairgrounds building at the Civic Center into the Wheelhouse, a new community space for learning.

Like other learning centers, the new Wheelhouse teaches and reinforces bike education through a variety of programs as well as independent and self-directed learning activities and will be home to:

1) The Traverse City Community Bike Shop: Sharing tools, benches, bikes, and knowledge with the public so they can repair and maintain their bikes.

2) The Grand Traverse Kids’ Bike Library: Ensuring awesome kids have awesome bikes no matter their family’s resources.

3) El Barrio Bike Fix: A weekly summertime community bike fix where we fix, create, tweak, align, repair, maintain and adjust bicycles together.

4) La Solucion: A bike mechanic apprenticeship program that trains local high schoolers to become employable at local bike shops.

5) The Civic Center Traffic Garden: A future Safe Routes To School project to allow elementary students to learn bike safety skills in a safe setting.

The Wheelhouse has allowed Norte to do better – to reach our bike-loving arms wider to not only physically transform a very visible corner in Traverse City but to help weave a culture of health into our community so we can be our best – our healthiest.

It’s been just 5 weeks in our new Wheelhouse and all is awesome.

We just wrapped up our busiest fall ever:

Thank you to the 300+ awesome people and 40+ community partners who made the Wheelhouse possible!

 

The Great Iceman Entry Giveaway Powered By Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Our friends at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are being awesome and have 10 free Iceman/Slush Cup entries up for grabs.

All awesome kids are welcome to put their name in our very orange hat for a chance to win.

Complete this form by midnight Sunday, October 21st.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

 

Adventurama is Coming. Here’s 7 Things to Know

Big day this Saturday, squads! We are SO excited. Here’s a bunch of things to know.

1. The rules:

Have FUN! Adventurama is all about fun.
Seek adventure. Much adventure. Always.
Be happy. Be kind. Ring your bell. Wave lots. Don’t be a jerk.
Squads MUST stay together.
Squads MUST follow the rules of the road. Blow a stop sign, lose 50 points.
Spandex is NOT allowed. Wear spandex, lose 25 points

2. Things to bring:

A functioning bicycle for each adventurer, of course
One smart phone per squad
One pen per squad
One backpack or something to carry your treasure in per squad

3. Schedule:

12:00 – Check-in opens at Right Brain Brewery (RBB)

12:30 – Mandatory squad meeting. All squads must be checked in

12:45 – Treasure maps and Challenge Cards are unveiled

12:55 –  Last opportunity to draw from the Challenge Card pile

1:00 – Course opens. Squads are released

2:30 – Scoring opens (squads cannot return before this time)

3:00 – Deadline – Your squad will be docked 5 points for every 5 minutes you are late. We set the time based on our Timing Master’s phone clock.

3:30 – Scoring closes – We will not accept returning squads after this time

4 – Awards ceremony and after-party at RBB.

4. Point system:
The squad with the most points “wins”.Treasure spots and bonus point opportunities are weighted. You will not be able to complete them all, so it’s up to your squad to determine which items to tackle.Squads will be issued the Treasure Map 15 minutes before the course opens. If your squad feels confident on the list and wishes to earn additional points, you may draw from the Challenge Card pile.

Challenge Cards are worth big points, but if you fail to successfully complete the challenge you will be docked the number of points that challenge is worth.

The first squad to arrive at a Treasure spot should be on the lookout for an Orange Envelope of Happy. Mas bonus points!

It is possible for Orange Envelopes of Happy to exist in locations that are not Treasure spots so keep your eyes peeled.

You win this game by racking up points. Bonus points and challenge cards are key elements, but take your risks wisely!

5. Scoring:

Each squad has a Treasure Log that is maintained by the squad Captain. If you draw any challenge cards, they will be recorded on your Treasure Log.

When you arrive back to RBB, check in with the Timing Master to have your arrival time documented on your Treasure Log.

You will then carry your Treasure Log to a Scoring Judge who will process your Adventurama! accomplishments and activities to award the corresponding points.

Unless otherwise stated, a photograph must be taken to prove bonus point and Challenge Card completion. Orange envelopes of happy must be brought back to RBB to be scored.

Scoring takes time. Our volunteer Judges work carefully to ensure all points are properly accounted for.

6. Earning additional points:

Share #Adventurama to your fave social media channel– 3 bonus points each

  • You can earn a maximum of 15 points when you post photos and videos of your squad preparing for Adventurama! Posts must include the hashtag #Adventurama and must be made before September 8th. Please tag us too so we’re sure to see it.

“Check in” at RBB – 3 points each

  • You can earn a maximum of 15 points this summer when you ride your bike down to RBB before game day. Just “check in” and tag Norte. Don’t forget to mention Adventurama when ordering your craft brew for a free high five.

Best Squad theme execution – 25 points

  • Judged on costumes, unification, embodiment, and spirit

Best individual costume – 15 points

Challenge Cards (select at Right Brain Brewery if desired) – Various points

  • Challenge Cards are optional. Big points up for grabs but also big risk. Your squad will be docked points if you’re unable to complete the task.

Orange Envelopes of Happy (find them on the course and bring back to RBB) – Various points

  • You cannot be docked points for Orange Envelopes. They are all happy.

7. Special squad information:

We’re posting many pro-tips and clues to the Facebook event page HERE and to Twitter/Instagram using #adventurama. It would be wise to check these out before game day.

Download the Litterati app, join the Norte club and learn how to use it before Saturday.

Adventurama is a game with plenty of opportunity for strategy. Once you receive your Treasure Map, sit down with your squad and make a plan of attack.What’s the best way to win? Follow the rules, plan your strategy and have fun. Fun is highly rewarded in this game.

Remember that this is a game with rules. Pay attention to the rules – they’re clearly spelled out in your Treasure Log.

Arrive to Right Brain Brewery early for check in. This is your time to ask questions.

Date:

  • Saturday, Sept 8th 2018

Squads:

  • Made up of 3-5 adventurers. Every squad must have at least one adult adventurer.

Cost:

  • $50 donation/squad

All proceeds to support our Traverse City area Safe Routes To School initiative which is dedicated to empowering happy, healthy, ready-to-learn kids to be active for life.

Registration:

register_button

You can also sign up in person at Right Brain with on Saturday with card, cash or check.

Thank you, Adventurama sponsors!

4Front Credit Union to Help the Norte Amigos Program Grow

Norte is for happy, healthy, ready to learn kids no matter their ability. We believe in inclusion and that every child should have the opportunity to experience the joy of riding a bicycle.

The Amigos is an educational program that teaches confidence, independence, and bike/pedestrian safety skills to young people with special needs through empowerment, education, and adventure. It started in the spring of 2018 with a successful 4-week pilot program at Oak Park elementary and, thanks to 4Front Credit Union, is growing.

The Amigos operates as an in-school 4-week program, a Wheelhouse-based 6-week program, and a weekly summertime meet-up at the Clubhouse.

Amigos in School and at the Wheelhouse

In addition to our other Safe Routes To School programs, The Great Northern Michigan Bike Train ExperimentThe Bike Mas Project, and Estrellas, the Amigos is another wonderful opportunity to build a healthy, move more culture at school and encourage students to be active, happy, and ready-to-learn.

At school, we use bigger balance bikes and adaptive bikes to teach elementary students coordination and neuromuscular control that is paramount to safe, confident, independent bicycle riding. This fun and stimulating gross motor activity also facilitate academic learning by improving concentration, developing skills of listening and following instructions, as well as fine motor skills like handwriting.

At the Wheelhouse, classes from TBAISD’s Life Skills Center and TBAISD’s Oak Park Elementary will attend 1-2x/week sessions for 4-6 weeks to learn bike/safety skills both in the spring and fall.

Summer Meet-ups

In partnership with 4Front Credit UnionDown Syndrome Association of Northwest Michigan, Disability Network Northwest Michigan, Arts for All Northern Michigan, TBAISD, Lighthouse Rehab Center – the Amigos, a weekly summertime meet-up ride for kids with special needs.

When:

Thursdays 6-7pm starting the 3rd week of June and rolling through the summer.

Where:

At the Norte Clubhouse

Who:

All awesome young people and their families are welcome no matter their ability.

What:

We’ll ride bikes on the Civic Center path or our special course by the Clubhouse. We’ll make new friends and probably eat some SNACKS, too!

We’ll have volunteers helping to keep the kids safe but parents are encouraged to ride with their child as well.

BYO-picnic is encouraged as eating in La Plaza, the grassy area next to the Clubhouse after the Amigos is lovely.

Should we bring our own bike?

Yes! Your helmet, too. We’ll have a bunch of bigger balance bikes to try and hope to have some adaptive bikes available to demo as well.

Sounds awesome. Do we need to sign up?

Nope. No charge either. Just come to the Clubhouse. Bring a friend or three too.

Love this! How can I help?

We need volunteers! Get involved HERE.

Or maybe you have a tricycle or other adaptive bike we can borrow or rent for the summer? Let us know at hello@elgruponorte.org

 

 

Adventurama: A Game of Strategy Played on Bicycles in Traverse City



Norte’s biggest fundraiser of the year is right around the corner on September 8th! Explore Traverse City. Seek treasure. Achieve glory. Find adventure. Support happy, healthy, ready to learn kids.

Adventurama is a game of strategy played atop bicycles on the neighborhood streets and trails of Traverse City. Part scavenger hunt. Part urban expedition. Part kids-on-bikes fundraiser. Part geocaching. Part costume contest. Full adventure!

Pedaling squads of 3-5 adventurers on a quest for #BikeTVC glory will compete against each other in a not so serious way by exploring Traverse City, discovering treasure, completing challenges and solving riddles.

So grab your bike. Grab your friends. Be awesome. And let’s get ready to Adventurama!.

Date:

      • Saturday, Sept 8th 2018

Time:

      • Noon. The course opens at 1. All squads must be back by 3. Awards at 4.

Where:

      • Right Brain Brewery

Squads:

      • Made up of 3-5 adventurers. Every squad must have at least one adult adventurer.

Cost:

      • $50 donation/squad

All proceeds to support our Traverse City area Safe Routes To School initiative which is dedicated to empowering happy, healthy, ready-to-learn kids to be active for life.

Registration:

register_button

 

You can also sign up in person at the Clubhouse with cash or check.

The rules:

      • Have FUN! Adventurama! is all about fun.
      • Seek adventure. Much adventure. Always.
      • Be happy. Be kind. Ring your bell. Wave lots. Don’t be a jerk.
      • Squads MUST stay together.
      • Squads MUST follow the rules of the road. Blow a stop sign, lose 50 points.
      • Spandex is NOT allowed. Wear spandex, lose 25 points

Things to bring:

      • A functioning bicycle for each adventurer, of course
      • One smartphone
      • One pen
      • One backpack or something to carry your treasure in

Schedule:

12:00 – Check-in opens at Right Brain Brewery (RBB)

12:30 – Mandatory squad meeting. All squads must be checked in

12:45 – Treasure maps Challenge Cards are unveiled

12:55 –  Last opportunity to draw from the Challenge Card pile  

1:00 – Course opens. Squads are released

2:30 – Scoring opens (squads cannot return before this time)

3:00 – Deadline – Your squad will be docked 5 points for every 5 minutes you are late. We set the time based on our Timing Master’s phone clock.

3:30 – Scoring closes – We will not accept returning squads after this time

4 – Awards ceremony and after-party at RBB.

Point system:

The squad with the most points “wins”.

Treasure spots and bonus point opportunities are weighted. You will not be able to complete them all, so it’s up to your squad to determine which items to tackle.

Squads will be issued the Treasure Map 10 minutes before the course opens. If your squad feels confident on the list and wishes to earn additional points, you may draw from the Challenge Card pile.

Challenge Cards are worth big points, but if you fail to successfully complete the challenge you will be docked the number of points that challenge is worth.

The first squad to arrive at a Treasure spot should be on the lookout for an Orange Envelope of Happy. Mas bonus points!

It is possible for Orange Envelopes of Happy to exist in locations that are not Treasure spots so keep your eyes peeled.

You win this game by racking up points. Bonus points and challenge cards are key elements, but take your risks wisely!

Scoring:

Each squad has a Treasure Log that is maintained by the squad Captain. If you draw any challenge cards, they will be recorded on your Treasure Log.

When you arrive back to RBB, check in with the Timing Master to have your arrival time documented on your Treasure Log.

You will then carry your Treasure Log to a Scoring Judge who will process your Adventurama! accomplishments and activities to award the corresponding points.

Unless otherwise stated, a photograph must be taken to prove bonus point and Challenge Card completion. Orange envelopes of happy must be brought back to RBB to be scored.

Scoring takes time. Our volunteer Judges work carefully to ensure all points are properly accounted for.

Earning additional points:

Enlist your squad before August 1 – 15 bonus points

#Adventurama to your fave social media channel– 3 bonus points each

      • You can earn a maximum of 15 points when you post videos of your squad preparing for Adventurama! Posts must include the hashtag #Adventurama and must be made before September 8th

“Check in” at RBB – 3 points each

      • You can earn a maximum of 15 points this summer when you ride your bike down to RBB. Just “check in” and tag Norte. Don’t forget to mention Adventurama when ordering your craft brew for a free high five.

Best Squad theme execution – 25 points

      • Judged on costumes, unification, embodiment, and spirit

Best individual costume – 15 points

Challenge Cards (select at Right Brain Brewery if desired) – Various points

      • Challenge Cards are optional. Big points up for grabs but also big risk. Your squad will be docked points if you’re unable to complete the task.

Orange Envelopes of Happy (find them on the course and bring back to RBB) – Various points

      • You cannot be docked points for Orange Envelopes. They are all happy.

Special squad information:

Adventurama is a game with plenty of opportunity for strategy. Once you receive your Treasure Map, sit down with your squad and make a plan of attack.

What’s the best way to “win”? Follow the rules, plan your strategy and have fun. Fun is highly rewarded in this game.

Remember that this is a game with rules. Pay attention to the rules – they’re clearly spelled out in your Treasure Log.

Arrive at Right Brain Brewery early for check-in. This is your time to ask questions.

Thank you, Adventurama sponsors

 

Drink Smoothies. Do Good. Support the Wheelhouse.

We’re busting out the bike blender to whip up some delicious, pedal powered smoothies this Friday from 4-7pm to help fund the new Wheelhouse.

For the past year, Norte has loved calling the Civic Center home, but thanks to explosive growth, we need more room! The Clubhouse is bursting at the seams.

In partnership with Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation, The Norte Wheelhouse will transform the long-neglected historic Old Northwest Michigan Fairgrounds building at the Civic Center into a new community space for learning.

Like other learning centers, the new Wheelhouse will teach and reinforce bike education through a variety of programs as well as independent and self-directed learning activities and will be home to:

1) The Traverse City Community Bike Shop: Sharing tools, benches, bikes, and knowledge with the public so they can repair and maintain their bikes.

2) The Grand Traverse Kids’ Bike Library: Ensuring awesome kids have awesome bikes no matter their family’s resources.

3) El Barrio Bike Fix: A weekly summertime community bike fix where we fix, create, tweak, align, repair, maintain and adjust bicycles together.

4) La Solucion: A bike mechanic apprenticeship program that trains local high schoolers to become employable at local bike shops.

5) The Civic Center Traffic Garden: A future Safe Routes To School project to allow elementary students to learn bike safety skills in a safe setting.

While we are very excited about sinking our roots deeper at the Civic Center and renovating this long forgotten, historic building, it also needs work. Lots of work.

The County is helping to repair the roof, tear down the concrete block structure on the east side and prepare the building for some very orange paint.

The County is helping to repair the roof, put in new windows, tear down the concrete block structure on the east side and prepare the building for some very orange paint.

Our community-driven “Keep It Rolling” crowdfunding campaign aims to make the Wheelhouse a reality this summer.

Your generosity will help create a safe, dynamic and welcoming community space including:

  • new bay doors on both the east and west sides
  • new floor
  • paint inside and out
  • bike racks
  • new rad patio on the east side
  • tables, chairs, and workbenches
  • tools, supplies, and parts for the shop
  • additional bikes and helmets for the bike library
  • a super sweet mural
  • scholarships for La Solucion

The Wheelhouse will allow Norte to do better – to reach our bike-loving arms wider to not only physically transform a very visible corner in Traverse City but to help weave a culture of health into our community so we can be our best – our healthiest.

Please support the Wheelhouse today and join the list of awesome people who believe in happy, healthy, ready to learn kids.

All donors, whether it’s a $10 or $1,000 gift, will be invited to a pre grand opening celebration later this summer.

The Wheelhouse

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Huge thank you to our Wheelhouse community partners!

 

Limited corporate sponsorships of the Wheelhouse are also available. Please contact Ty Schmidt at ty@elgruponorte.org

My Heavy Ride for Norte and Happy, Healthy, Strong Kids in Traverse City

Hello! My name is Patrick Cotant.

A few years ago, my wife Polly came home with a hand me down balance bike in tow for our then 2-year old son, Fletcher. The following spring, we attempted to show him the ropes of riding this 2-wheel device devoid of pedals with minimal success.

Thankfully, a local Traverse City nonprofit called Norte had a balance bike meet-up every Monday evening throughout the summer. They met at a neighborhood park and gave free assistance to kids eager to learn how to ride. Fletcher and I went, and while he didn’t get the hang of it at first, Ty and the folks from Norte provided guidance that would eventually get him rolling with the other kids.

Fast forward to the following spring. Fletcher is now 4. We walked out of the garage with another bike, this one with pedals – no training wheels. He threw his leg over and got his bearings. We showed him how the pedals worked, gave him a little push and he pedaled away, looking back with a smile that my wife and I will never forget. That summer we biked everywhere as a family: farmers markets, bookstores, the library, ukulele lessons, the beach. He loved it!

And so did we. We found an activity that we could all do together and made us feel more connected with our community and the outdoors, all of which are part of Norte’s mission.

Norte was truly instrumental in providing Fletcher with the knowledge and confidence necessary to get riding, now it’s one of his favorite things to do. The balance bike program, known as Estrellas, can now be found in several schools throughout the Traverse City area, free of charge, providing the same learn-to-ride guidance that it did for our son.

As a way of giving back to Norte, I am going to bike around northern Michigan – 80-100 miles/day for 2 days – this July to raise awareness of this awesome organization.

I’m calling it Patrick’s Heavy Ride for Norte. 

I also want to raise money for an organization that I truly appreciate and to help support programs like the Estrellas that have done so much, not only for our son, but for so many kids in the Traverse City area.

Lastly, I hope to inspire people to find unique and creative ways to give back to the nonprofits they feel are connective threads within their communities.

All donations with go to support Norte’s Keep It Rolling campaign to help fund the new Wheelhouse so Norte can do more – do better.

Thank you for considering a donation and most of all, thank you for supporting happy, healthy, strong kids!

Patrick Cotant

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Donation Total: $25.00

{amount} donation plus {fee_amount} to help cover fees.

 

Checks to “Norte Youth Cycling” can also be sent to support my ride to PO Box 781, TC, MI 49685.

Bicycles, Traverse City and the National Cherry Festival

 

Imagine a National Cherry Festival where traffic wasn’t insane and people dinged, waved and smiled at each other because everyone rode their bicycle. Awesome, right!?! Let’s do it.

This year’s Cherry Fest is going to be the happiest, healthiest and most bike-tastic ever.

Here’s 4 reasons why:

  1. Free Bike Valet at the Open Space: Enjoy a lovely bayside ride to enjoy the festivities without the hassle of finding a parking spot. Score preemo, up front, rock star parking in our FREE, convenient, easy-peasy bike valet.
  2. Kids Balance Bike Race: Saturday – 10:00 am at the Clubhouse. Racers will be ripping through the lot (or as we say LaPlaza) next to the Clubhouse this year right at Norte HQ. FREE for kids between the ages of 3-5.
  3. Cherry Pie Ride: Monday – 9:30 @ F&M Park: A very slow and very short but very FUN! community ride through Traverse City’s neighborhoods that finishes with a slice of GT Pie at the Open Space.
  4. Norte Does the Kids Parade: Thursday at 6:30. From preschoolers on balance bikes to elementary school dishing up high five to middle school’ers handing out swag and high school’ers carrier the flags, we need kids – lots of kids! – to represent team orange through downtown. All awesome kids are invited. Be a part of something special by RSVP’ing:

 

 

 

Splitting the Mitt for Less Cancer

My first and only trip to the nation’s capital was because of cancer.

16 years later, I went back because of cancer.

It was October 2002. My dad, Tom Schmidt, an elementary school physical education teacher, was dying of cancer. We came to the National Institute of Health for a miracle but the treatment didn’t work. He died two months later on Christmas day. My dad was 48 years old.

This past February, I returned to DC and this time, I was the dad. My 11 year old son, Jameson, joined me at Less Cancer’s National Cancer Prevention Day. I presented the youth-focused, active transportation-centered, neighborhood-based work that the small nonprofit I founded with my wife is doing.

I made some new memories in Washington. Some better memories.

Less Cancer

I think about cancer a lot these days. More accurately, I think a lot about how not to get cancer. About how to help those I love not get cancer.

I try my best to practice evidence-based preventionSun safetyEating well. Reducing exposure to harmful toxins. Having strong relationships with my family, friends, and community. And being physically active.

12 years ago, I gave up my driver’s license. I didn’t need it. Walking and biking to the places I needed to go is easy, fun, and convenient. And it makes me happy. I walk or ride my bicycle everywhere now — to work, the library, store, park, beach and to our school with my sons.

It was at their neighborhood school that I started to notice things: an insane car line each and every day, very few kids walking and even less riding their bikes. These things bothered me.

I believe that small changes downstream can lead to big changes in the future.

I believe that kids learning to move and being physically active as part of ordinary life — like going to school or the park or the library or the beach — and then inspiring their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors to do the same is a powerful means to sustainable community healthfulness.

I believe that independent, happy, confident, ready to learn young people are empowered to be guardians of their health, develop lifelong habits to move more and sit less and be leaders in their neighborhood.

How can we help prevent obesity, cancer and other chronic diseases? “Exercise”, organized sports and recreation are great but I believe, as a physical therapist, that embedding walking and biking into our daily routine is a significant part of the answer.

We know that walkable/bikeable towns and cities designed around people and place increase physical activity for people of all ages.

We know that kids who learn to move young (real young!) — like in preschool — are more likely to move as adults.

We also know that adults who move more are healthier, happier, and better connected with their community.

That was the vision for Norte, an organization that administers Safe Routes To School programs to empower kids to actively get themselves to school and advocates for best practice walk/bike infrastructure in neighborhoods to benefit people of all ages and abilities here in Traverse City, Michigan. Every day we’re helping to build strong communities by empowering the young and young at heart to be happy, active, healthy for life — and for less cancer.

I think my dad would be proud that.

Split the Mitt

This weekend I’m going to ride my bicycle 238 miles over two days from Flint, Michigan to my adopted hometown of Traverse City with Less Cancer for less cancer.

Since 2004, Less Cancer has been working under the guidance of evidenced-based science to end preventable cancers. Their fundraising ride, Split the Mitt, was established for cyclists to raise funds and awareness in support of Less Cancer’s efforts to end preventable cancers.

Please pledge $10 or $100 to my Split the Mitt campaign to help Less Cancer continue their important work.

Donate HERE and thank you.

 

 

10 Ways Norte is Getting Kids on Bikes in Traverse City. All. Summer. Long

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

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

Here’s 10 happenings:
  1. Mini Speed of Light starts this Thursday, and we need 3 adults to help every Thursday night ALL summer long. It’s fun. It’s easy. Learn more and sign up here.
  2. Take a Girl Mountain Biking Day is this SATURDAY, June 16th at 10am at Timber Ridge. Bring a friend or 3.
  3. Vasa Domingos is switching to a 10am start time for the summer this Sunday (bring your Dad for Father’s Day – he’s going to love it!).
  4. The Traverse City Summer Bike Camp is filling up FAST! Week long. Half days. June-August.
  5. TC Rides, an all ages community slow roll every Wednesday night. Meet at F&M Park at 5:45. Rolling at 6.
  6. Amigos, our new weekly meet-up for kids with special needs, happens every Thursday night 6-7pm at the C
  7. Preschoolers on balance bikes! Twice weekly Estrellas meet-ups at the Clubhouse start next week. 6pm Monday nights and 10a Friday mornings.
  8. El Barrio Bike Fix, our community bike fix thing, also starts next week. It happens Tuesday nights 4-7pm.
  9. The new Wheelhouse is happening. Look for details soon on a work bee to spruce it up. Learn more about our Keep It Rolling campaign.
  10. Open Shop Hours at the Clubhouse are now 12-7pm weekdays (and sometimes 10-2pm on Saturday) thanks to our generous volunteers.

 

 

Join our once in a while, always informative, never spammy and very orange newsletter, El Periodico:

 

 

Summer bike camp just might be the best camp

Make your summer bike-tastic! The Bike Más Project Summer Camp, our adventure-based, week long, half day summer camp for awesome kids, is back in 2018!

The Bike Más Project teaches urban bike safety skills and confidence through empowerment, education, and adventure. Much adventure!

Bike Más summer campers will:

  • Explore Traverse City on your bike and discover its awesome places
  • Learn how to bike safe and bike smart around town with your friends
  • Develop bike repair and maintenance skills. Knowing how to change a flat or adjust your brakes is IMPORTANT
  • Become a bike handling ninja ’cause better bike handling skills = less crashing
  • Build independence and confidence. Meet new friends. Be active. Have FUN!

Time:

9:00 AM – noon;  Monday to Friday

Camp meets at the Norte Clubhouse at the Civic Center Park

  • This summer we will have 2 lead instructors, each leading a separate group of Bike Más cyclist adventurers.
  • Both groups will start and finish at the same time.

Cost:

$100

Many scholarships are available.

No bike? Bike too small? We have several awesome bikes to lend for the week of camp!

Give the gift of adventure with a gift certificate.

All campers receive:

“We participated in this program last summer with two of our children. They both absolutely loved it. Not only did it get them out and physically active, as a biking family, the Norte group taught them critical bicycle safety skills while instilling the love of cycling through making it incredibly fun.” – Amanda DeBruyn

Limited spots available. Sign up today!

register button

 

Many scholarships are available. Learn more by emailing Ben at ben@elgruponorte.org

Learn more about last year’s summer camp HERE.

Our Kids Bike Library has several sweet bikes and helmets to loan out too if needed.

Thank you, sponsors, for supporting TC Summer Bike Camp!

 

 

 

Learn more about Coast, Higher Ground’s seasonal coffee that supports happy, healthy, strong kids in Traverse City HERE.

Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org with questions.

Sell bike stuff. Buy bike stuff. Support the Traverse City Kids’ Bike Library.

The Traverse City Previously Loved Bicycle Neighborhood Yard Sale is this Sunday!

It’s a great way to support Norte’s vision of a stronger, better connected, and more bike-friendly Traverse City, all while clearing out some of your bikes and/or bike stuff that is no longer being used. It’s also a chance to find a good deal on new-to-you pair of wheels, or bike rack, or bike trailer, or front shifter, or bike saddle, or…

When:

This Sunday, May 6, 1 – 5pm!

What:

  • A Norte-hosted, neighborhood yard sale for bikes and bike related stuff.
  • Sellers can reserve a table from which to sell their items.
  • Sellers handle the money from their sales.
  • Buyers assume any risk of purchasing used equipment. Bikes are sold as is.
  • Everyone enjoys an afternoon in May talking about bikes and bike projects.

What’s for sale:

  • Bikes, wheels, tires, tubes, small parts, clothing, shoes.

What’s NOT for sale:

  • Used HELMETS
  • Your old TV set

Where:

Who’s this for:

  • The yard sale is open to the public.
  • Anyone who wants to support Norte’s efforts to get more people out and about on bikes by clearing out their old bikes from the corners of the garage can register here to claim a table for $10.
  • Proceeds will go to purchase supplies for the Norte Kids’ Bike Library.
  • Anyone who is looking for a previously loved bicycle, or bicycle related item, is welcome to stop by the yard sale to find what they need to be more active.

Cost:

  • $10 to claim a table and space for bikes to sell. Norte will take care of advertising and organizing the event to attract as many buyers and sellers to make our first Previously Loved Bicycle Neighborhood
  • We take 0% of sales

Stop by and help make the Yard Sale a success for everyone. Free browsing!

Don’t want to bother cleaning, tagging, selling your stuff? As always, Norte will gladly accept your gently used bicycles goods to either use in the Clubhouse, give to a kid in need or sell to support our many programs.

Sellers, claim a table below (credit card) or stop by the Norte Clubhouse.

*Space is limited, so please let us know if we need to set up a table for you.

Previously Loved Bicycle Neighborhood Yard Sale Seller’s Form

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