Pro Bike/Pro Walk: A Traverse City Happy Hour

Norte! believes that people of all ages and abilities in Traverse City have the right to safely access schools, parks, neighborhoods, beaches, businesses, and public transit by bike or foot.

If you agree, we’d love to hear from you. Please join us at Rarebird tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 28th) from 6-7p to let us know what is important to you and how we can better engage, empower and energize others to act.

Together, we will push for best practice walk/bike infrastructure, forward thinking policy and smart community design for a more walkable, bikeable, livable Traverse City.

Can’t make it to happy hour? Stay up to date with our pro walk/pro bike efforts by getting involved with our advocacy grupo:

Wear orange. Look rad. Support a happy, healthy, strong Traverse City.

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Norte! is Traverse City’s pro bike advocacy organization dedicated to building a stronger, better connected and more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring the young and young at heart through bicycles.

By wearing our very, very orange spandex and being an Equipo Norte! ambassador you will help raise awareness for our mission and look rad doing it. 

Thanks to Champion-System, we are able to offer our jerseys to awesome people like you at cost. $55.

We also have bibs, arm warmers, vests, jackets and socks available to order. See below.

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Once we reach the 10 piece minimum, we will place the order. Expect a 6-8 week turn around time.

Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org with questions.

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Barlow Street Needs a Complete Approach

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by Gary Howe
I encourage everyone to drive down Barlow Street, from Carver to South Airport, and count the number of people waking dangerously on the side of the street. Each time I find myself on this street, I start counting the cringe worthy moments when someone is put into a dangerous situation because of the lack of infrastructure and design to address the urban context. 
 

It is dangerous by design to have a high speed street without sidewalks, bike lanes, and nary a crosswalk within sight. This is on all of us. The recent death and countless injuries are on all of us for not addressing the needs of all along Barlow Street.

 
I urge all of us at the City, County Road Commission, and Township to find the political will to transform Barlow Street into a safe, comfortable, and inviting corridor. I’m afraid the rural solution of widen the roadway with wider shoulders is highly inadequate and will likely worsen the problem. Wider streets equal faster speeds, faster speeds equal a decrease in safety and even more unequal treatment for those on foot, wheelchair, or bike. 

The City and the Road Commission have passed Complete Street resolutions. We have done so because streets designed for everyone create a better, more equal, and more prosperous community. Let’s find the will do what is right on Barlow Street.

Gary Howe is at a Traverse City Commissioner (Mayor Pro-tem), placemaking advocate, photographer extraordinaire, writer at A Strong Traverse City and beagle lover. You can follow him on twitter @GLHJR.

Recent Barlow Street stories:

A More Walkable Barlow Street by Tyler Bevier

Barlow Street Needs All of Our Voices by Laura Otwell

Please email the County Road Commission, Township Planning and Supervisor, and City planning, manager and commission if you agree that Barlow Street needs to be made safer for all people with sidewalks, crosswalks and, better lighting and bike lanes.

jcook@gtcrc.org
cbrown@gtcrc.org
amarek@gtcrc.org
mmckellar@gtcrc.org
wmouser@gtcrc.org
jnelson@gtcrc.org

rlarrea@garfield-twp.com
ckorn@garfield-twp.com
dan@gtdieselservice.com
deeschmuckal@hotmail.com
sjdenterprisestc@gmail.com
molly@mollyago.com

rsoyring@traversecitymi.gov
mcolburn@traversecitymi.gov
citycommissioners@traversecitymi.gov


Passionate about a more walkable, bikable, livable Traverse City? Get involved with our pro walk/pro bike advocacy grupo HERE.

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Kids. Bikes. Traverse City. And the International Winter Cycling Conference.

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photo credit: Beth Price Photography

We are STOKED to have been invited to present at the International Winter Cycling Conference in Montreal this week. Kind of a big deal!

Here’s our presentation abstract:

How can elementary school students stay Happy, healthy and ready-to-learn through the winter in snowy Traverse City, Michigan? With support from City officials who are dedicated to keeping streets and trails cleared, school district leadership and principals who pedal to class with their students, a generous community that donates bikes to a kids winter bike “library” and a grassroots bike plow champion who is passionate about making the commute to school safe for kids, Norte!, a youth-focused, bike-centric nonprofit advocacy organization, is shifting habits and behaviors about year round active transportation in this small Northern Michigan town. Encouraging more kids to bike to school has inspired people of all ages to keep moving even though the winter which boasts an average annual snowfall of 259 cm. Traverse City has earned back to back Top 20 finishes in International Winter Bike To Work Day. Not too bad for a town of just 15,000.

Like to do ordinary things – go to work, school, to the store or library – on your bicycle in Traverse City during the winter? Share a photo for our presentation.

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And don’t forget to commit for Winter Bike To Work + School Day!

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A More Walkable Barlow Street

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by Tyler Bevier

To start 2017 in a more environmental friendly routine, I started the new year by going “Car-Free”. My goal was to walk in the footsteps of those in our community who do not own a car or have access to a personal vehicle. This included taking the bus daily to work, and walking home from weekly errands to the grocery store and the laundromat.

After researching more into BATA’s daily ridership, I found that approximately 1,500 – 1,800 commuters take the bus daily. This equates to roughly the number of parking spaces of four Larry C. Hardy parking decks! This is not counting the vast numbers of residents who walk or bike to work and daily errands.

Moving into my first house in the Traverse Heights neighborhood from my previous apartment in Old Town, the change in the neighborhood walkability was quickly realized. My first few weeks in the neighborhood, I started to walk and take the bus to Family Fare, Deerings Market on Barlow, The Kitchen on Woodmere and Edson Farms on Garfield. The sidewalk network, or lack-thereof was surprising.

To be fair, the City has installed sidewalks the full length of Rose Street from Boon to East Front Street. Coupled with improved lighting from Traverse City Light & Power and Traverse Heights Elementary, this corridor is pleasant to walk day or night.

Yet, many of our north-south and east-west thoroughfares are lacking sidewalk infrastructure, especially to community assets along the Barlow Corridor.

The perimeter of the Salvation Army center is equipped with sidewalks, yet quickly disappears into a front-lawn of a residence not more than a few feet from the center’s property line.

The Barlow Corridor is home to not only the Salvation Army, but other points-of-interest such as Cherry Capital Foods, Image 360, Gordon’s Food Service, Secretary of State Office, US Post Office and the Sail Inn. Collectively, these businesses offer a wide array of uses to area residents and accompanied by increased lighting & sidewalk infrastructure this could be a future neighborhood commercial center for Traverse Heights.

Last year, 3,178 riders used the Barlow/Salvation Army bus stop, and with the lack of sidewalk in either direction, it is likely that many users had to walk in the street throughout the year. From 2015 to 2016, Route 2 (purple) which serves Midtown, Library, Hastings, Traverse Heights Neighborhood, Barlow & Cherryland Center, experienced a 5.4% increase in ridership to a yearly total of just over 72,000 rides for the year. As BATA’s busiest route, walkable corridors will not only enhance ridership but the overall transit & walking experience.

Tyler Bevier is at a transportation planner at BATA, Traverse Heights resident, Wayne State University grad and shovel champion.You can contact him at tylerbevier@gmail.com.



Passionate about a more walkable, bikable, livable Traverse City? Get involved with our pro walk/pro bike advocacy grupo HERE.

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Shoveling Our Sidewalks; Whose Job Is It Anyway?

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By Bill Palladino

Traverse City needs to clearly state the intentions of its snow removal ordinance for city streets, trails and sidewalks. Once clarified, and communicated effectively throughout the city, it needs to commit to enforcement so that these vital public thoroughfares are accessible and safe for all its citizens.  This is especially critical for the city’s more than 73 miles of sidewalks. Today, the city is mired in a self-induced slushy mix of messages regarding who bears responsibility for clearing sidewalks. This confusion often leaves much of our sidewalk infrastructure impassable for days on end after a storm, even in the heart of downtown.

I’m a relatively mobile man, but when I walk around Traverse City during the winter months, I find myself imagining what it must be like for people with disabilities or other mobility issues. It doesn’t take long to find disheartening examples either. I have several friends downtown that are wheelchair bound.  I know many others who are aged, walk with a cane or suffer from injuries. The few inches of snow and ice that might be a minor inconvenience to me are game-changers for them.

Last winter I had to push a person in a heavy motorized wheelchair through piles of snow in a crosswalk because they’d gotten stuck crossing the street. It was humiliating for this person, and horribly unsafe. On many more occasions, I’ve been appalled and embarrassed to see people in wheelchairs forced to ride in a traffic lane because the sidewalk was impassable. We can do better Traverse City!

ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE:

In the 80s, I lived in a community that by right knows something about managing winter snowfall. Minneapolis, Minnesota ranks as one of the coldest and snowiest cities I’ve lived in. Here, crippling cold and massive snowfall could shut the city down.  It was serious business and this seriousness applied to how they managed highways, streets, alleys, trails and sidewalks.

Minneapolis had and still maintains a very strict and concise policy on snow removal. As a homeowner there, I learned the lesson quickly that I had 24 hours to shovel my sidewalk or risk a fine from the city. In fact, even the system for purveying fines there was elegant. If you got an infraction, there was no ticket delivered to your door; you simply got $25 or $50 tacked onto your water bill. Choose not to pay it and it would show up on your property tax bill.

The clarity and absoluteness of this doctrine helped a city of over a million people survive the brutish nature of Great Plains winters with its famed Minnesotan niceness ever intact.

When you look up “snow removal” on the City of Minneapolis website you see the following statement that clearly reflects the language and intent of the underlying ordinance it supports.

“Minneapolis Ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after the end of a snowfall within

  •    24 hours for single family homes and duplexes
  •    Four daytime hours for apartments, commercial buildings and all other properties (daytime hours begin at 8 am)

When you shovel snow and clear ice

  •    Shovel the sidewalks on all sides of your property, the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement.
  •    Remove all ice from sidewalks.”

The page goes on to describe what the consequences are for not following the ordinance.

“If the City of Minneapolis gets a complaint or discovers that a sidewalk is not properly cleared, Public Works will inspect the sidewalk and give the property owners a chance to clear it.

  •    If the sidewalk has not been cleared upon re-inspection, the property owner may be issued a citation with a fine, and crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. Property owners will be billed for this service, and unpaid bills will be added to property tax statements.”

As a homeowner and business owner in Minneapolis there was never a question as to whose job it was to shovel the walk. To paraphrase the old cartoon character Pogo, “We have met the shovel, and the shovel is us!”

THE CAUSE OF OUR PAIN:

Now let’s look at Traverse City.  Ask any two people in town whom they think is responsible for clearing snow from city sidewalks, and you’ll likely hear two distinctly conflicting answers. One might say, “it’s the city’s job, we pay taxes for that service just like the streets.”  And the other might say, “It’s the property owner’s job, why don’t they just get out and do it?”

If you’re lucky enough to ask a city commissioner or municipal employee the same question, you might get this response, “According to the ordinance, it’s clearly the responsibility of the occupant or the property owner, we just don’t enforce it.”

To understand where all this confusion comes from, you need to look no further than the City’s website. Here’s the introductory page regarding snow removal.

“Crews directed by the City’s Street Superintendent are responsible for clearing winter’s snow from over 8 miles of State trunk line, 83 miles of City streets and over 73 miles of City sidewalk.  Careful consideration has been given to prioritizing the snow removal effort.”

In an honest attempt to tell the story of our hard-working municipal employees, they’ve obfuscated the intent of the law. Look at the actual ordinance (buried deep within Chapter 668.11) and the language clearly suggests the opposite intent.

“The removal of snow and ice from private property and the sidewalk abutting or crossing private property shall be the responsibility of the occupant of such private property. However, if there is no occupant or if the occupant cannot be determined due to multiple occupancy of the property, then the responsibility shall be the owners of such private property.“

I agree with this ordinance and as a property owner in downtown have no problem with shoveling my walk or those of my neighbors. I consider it a simple act that is part of my responsibility living in such a beautiful place.  And like the occasional parking ticket, I’d still regrettably put a check in the mail to cover the costs of my forgetfulness. Maybe next time, I’d be encouraged to remember.

SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:

What are we as mere citizens to do?

  1. We should demand the city clearly communicate its snow removal ordinance to the entire populace.
  2. We should firmly suggest to the City that it enforce the ordinance it has in place. (If they treat this ordinance like the parking system, snowfall could be a significant job-creator and money-maker!)
  3. We should celebrate the occupants and property owners that already do a good job of clearing the snow. (Let’s hand out the Golden Snow-Shovel award!)
  4. We should start knocking on the doors of responsible parties and convince them to get the job done for the sake of the community.
  5. We should continue our successful Traverse City Great Shovel Experiment, expanding it to include more volunteers who can adopt sidewalks and crossings around the city.
  6. We should ask city residents in advance of the winter if they need assistance shoveling… and then adopt those sidewalks.
  7. We should all put ourselves in the shoes of those with mobility issues as we walk our streets.
  8. We should take a greater sense of pride in what our city represents and demand that the quality of streets and sidewalks equate to all the “best of” accolades bestowed on the city every year.

OUR COMMON RESPONSIBILITY:

Our sidewalks are part of what we know as “the commons.” These are the places in our community that by right of use belong to all of us; like the Open Space, our beaches, parks, rivers, and even our streets and alleys. It is our job as citizens to recognize the responsibility we have to make sure our commons are available for everyone to use, while being free, accessible and safe.

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Bill Palladino is CEO at Taste The Local Difference, Midtown resident, dad to Sam and Tula, husband to Jen, super bread baker, walk/bike nerd and shovel champion. You can contact him at bill@localdifference.org.



Passionate about a more walkable, bikable, livable Traverse City? Get involved with our pro walk/pro bike advocacy grupo HERE.

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Blah, Blah, BLA – Traverse City does not need the Boardman Lake Avenue

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This Monday’s Traverse City Commission Study Session will discuss plans for the West Boardman Lake area including the long discussed Boardman Lake Avenue (now called Boardman Lake Drive). Three potential road options have been proposed: 1) 8th to 14th St., 2) 10th to 14th St. or 3) No new road.

by Chris Hinze

In 2008, I moved to Traverse City after 25 years of living in metro Detroit. Shortly after settling into my home on Union St., I attended my first Old Towne Neighborhood Association meeting where the highlight of the evening was discussion of the proposed “Boardman Lake Avenue” (hereafter aptly referred to as BLA).

Champions of BLA hyped this motorized bypass, connecting 14th to 8th street, as a sorely needed remedy for the excessive amounts of traffic that plagued the North/South Old Towne streets, namely Cass and Union St. Proponents of BLA claimed that this new strip of pavement would magically funnel the majority traffic off of Cass & Union streets and onto BLA.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that my initial reaction to this proposed road was positive. After living in metro Detroit for over two decades one is led to believe that adding more lanes and more roads is an effective strategy to reduce traffic congestion. Living on Union St. I have a front row seat to the congestion, road noise and blown stop signs  that characterize this city street. If BLA could help solve these problems, who wouldn’t be for it?

The problem is – BLA (or any new road for that matter) – is very often not an effective solution for a traffic problem. Shortly after this meeting, I picked up a copy of Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic which helped explain the theory (which was foreign to my metro-Detroit brain) of induced demand.

Essentially, the concept boils down to: “if you build it, they will come.” That is, adding more lanes for traffic will only create, well, more traffic – precisely the problem that BLA hopes to alleviate.

Yes, Traverse City does have it’s issues with traffic. Neighborhood streets like Cass, Union, Lake, Barlow and many others see traffic volumes and speeds that are less than ideal. However, adding a new street is not a smart solution to this problem.

We do not need another road along one of our beautiful lake shores. We do not need another physical barrier to east-west mobility in our city. We do not need BLA.

Instead, let’s consider other solutions that will help enhance mobility for all people in Traverse City:

  • Implement our traffic calming and complete street policies – Many of our neighborhood streets are not designed to act like neighborhood speeds. Let’s consider narrower streets, more on-street parking, more space for bikes and pedestrians, traffic calming at intersections and cross walks and more trees/vegetation as means to reduce traffic volume and speed.
  • Open up the grid. A traffic grid functions most effectively when traffic is able to flow freely. Traverse City’s one-way Front, State, Seventh & Eighth streets impair a free flow of east-west mobility. Let’s consider effective traffic calming on these streets along with a conversion back to two-way streets.
  • Robust investment in non-motorized and public transportation. Traverse City has very few marked bike lanes and zero protected bike lanes. Our sidewalk network is incomplete or non-existent in some areas. Our public transportation network has not been able to deliver a reliable service to encourage a meaningful mode shift toward public transit. Let’s invest in these non-motorized and public transit options as a smart solution to our city’s mobility needs.

Please share your thoughts on the BLA ahead of Monday’s study session. You can contact all City Commissioners and the City Manager via this address: citycommissioners@traversecitymi.gov.

Passionate about a more walkable, bikable, livable Traverse City? Get involved with our pro walk/pro bike advocacy grupo HERE.

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Christmas Tree By Bike

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With inspiration from the awesome people at Modacity in Vancouver, Norte! is excited to again offer bike-powered delivery of your Christmas tree to Traverse City’s recycling drop-off site. Because recycling your tree by bicycle might just be the most awesome thing ever:

  •  it’s easy. Just make a $25 donation.
  • it’s convenient. One less trip for you.
  • it’s less wasteful. Turning your tree into mulch rocks!
  • it supports Norte!. Yay for a stronger, better connected and more bicycle friendly Traverse City.

Here’s How it Works:

1. Donate $25 via credit card HERE or via paypal HERE. Make sure to comment “tree” so that we know this is for a pick up.

2. We will contact you via email to schedule your pick up.

3. A Norte! volunteer will pedal your Christmas tree to Hull Park using our 8ft, heavy duty bike trailer.

4. Give yourself a pat on the back for supporting kids on bikes in Traverse City and recycling your tree into mulch and erosion control for City parks and Brown Bridge Quiet Area.

Pick-ups available in Oak Park, Boardman, Traverse Heights, Central, Slabtown and Old Town neighborhoods only.

Pick-ups start 12/27/15 and end 1/6/16 .

Your donation will allow us to awesome’ize our new Clubhouse at the Civic Center including:

  • new bike tools, parts and supplies for El Barrio Bike Fix, our learn-to-wrench program.
  • more bikes for our Bike Library, our free program that aims to get bikes to kids so they can ride to school.
  • scholarships for The Bike Mas Project, our adventure-based bike safety program.

Email questions to hello@elgruponorte.org

More info on Traverse City’s tree recycling program HERE.

More info on our new Clubhouse HERE.

Learn more about Modacity and their amazing internationally crowd-sourced #TreeByBike photo gallery HERE.

Bike Happy. Bike Mas. Bike Your Christmas Tree TC.

Barlow Street Needs All of Our Voices

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Should we just care about some people? Which people should we choose not to care about? Are some designated as disposable? What horrible questions to ask. This is in effect what we are doing when we are complacent and allow streets like Barlow to exist in our town. A street that is not designed to protect ALL people. A street that is dangerous by design.

Many people use Barlow, people live in adjacent neighborhoods, work along this corridor or access services. As you travel this section between Carver and South Airport you will usually encounter people on foot, bike or waiting at a BATA stop. People just trying to get to where they need to go. They are young and old. And they deserve better, they deserve best practices. We all do. Not a skinny muddy, or slushy cow path or gravel shoulder next to fast moving traffic. The message being sent here is we don’t care about you, use at your own risk.

Two unnecessary and tragic collisions recently occurred along Barlow Street. David Knoll died on this section, and another woman was injured, in two separate incidences. It’s not acceptable. It needs to be fixed. We need to demand it. What does a street look like that is safe for all? Picture your child safely walking home along this street. That is the street that should be built.

Woodmere Avenue was such a street, in the not too distant past, redesigned, given new life with sidewalks, bike lanes, a boulevard. A collaborative effort between multiple units of government. A complete street. A place to be proud of.

Our community did it before, let’s do it again. Make your voice heard. Let our leaders know that deaths and injuries on our streets are unacceptable and preventable. Demand streets that give everyone safe access no matter their mode of travel.

A shoulder and a line of white paint on a wider street that encourages faster vehicle speeds is not going to cut it . We need best practice traffic calming measures. We need proper sidewalks. We need protected bike lanes. We need well lit crosswalks. We need to do what is right. And we need to do it now. Let’s find the will to make it happen before more tragedies occur.

If you agree, please make your voice heard to those with the power to make the right decisions by emailing the County Road Commission, Township Planning and Supervisor, and City planning, manager and Commission:

jcook@gtcrc.org
cbrown@gtcrc.org
amarek@gtcrc.org
mmckellar@gtcrc.org
wmouser@gtcrc.org
jnelson@gtcrc.org

rlarrea@garfield-twp.com
ckorn@garfield-twp.com

rsoyring@traversecitymi.gov
mcolburn@traversecitymi.gov
citycommissioners@traversecitymi.gov

Traverse City Safe Routes To School: A Fall Recap

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Thanks to many, many awesome people including all sorts of bike train conductors, walking school bus drivers, awesome principals and teachers, bike safety instructors and supportive parents, we had a fantastic fall of active, happy, ready to learn kids getting themselves to school across TC.

A few highlights:

What’s coming up?

Email questions to hello@elgruponorte.org or get involved with SRTS in TC here: elgruponorte.org/join.

Soup, bread and bikes for good

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Soup & Bread – a free, monthly community meal that supports local charities – is back and proceeds from their December event will once again go to support Norte!.

So ride your bike (or walk!) down to The Little Fleet tomorrow, Monday the 5th for some “pay what you can” soup and bread from 6-8pm.

This isn’t your regular, ho-hum soup and bread, either. This is the good stuff, folks. Made with love by some of our most amazing local restaurants.

Big thanks to:

Special shout out to the talented Andrea Deibler, founder of this wonderful community event, for being so awesome and supporting our mission of developing the next generation of active, happy, bikes-for-life leaders in Traverse City.

Soup & Bread Más. Bike Más.

Bring Norte! home

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Awesome news! We found a home. The new Norte! Clubhouse is for real at the Civic Center (old police sector building near the basketball courts). We’re so excited to finally have a place to call home for our:

We need stuff, though. Lots of stuff. Here’s a dream list of things. Have something collecting dust? Donate to Norte! and we will be forever grateful. Gracias.

Community Bike Shop:

Tools
Bike stands
Tool chests/boxes
Lube, grease, degreaser
Bike parts
Patch kits
Workbench
Stools
Aprons
Tool organization board

Office:

Shelving
Desks
Chairs
Meeting table
Desktop or laptop computer
Filing cabinet
Print paper
Coffee maker
Lamps

Hangout room:

Cork board
Wall Art
Chin up bar
Couch
Area rugs
Plates, cups, bowls, silverware
Posters
Ping pong table
Foosball table
Bean bags
Old school Nintendo
Muralist

Misc:

Paint
Paint Supplies
Shed
Banners
Chalkboard
Whiteboard
Clapboard
Signs

All donations will receive heaps of gratitude and as many high fives as you can handle. And, of course, all in kind donations are tax deductible, too.

We’re happy to come pick up if needed. Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org or call 231-883-2453.

A great big huge THANK YOU! goes to the Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation for the opportunity. We’re more motivated than ever to get to work and continue building a stronger, better connected and more bicycle friendly Traverse City.

6 #GivingTuesday fundraisers to get more kids on bikes in Traverse City

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Facebook has a cool thing going for Giving Tuesday today. The first $1000 will be matched (thanks Gates Foundation!) and processing fees waived. 6 awesome moms and dads are taking them up on the offer to help the Estrellas, our lean to ride program for preschoolers using balance bikes.

Please give to these fundraisers and help the Estrellas shine bright.

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Shop small. Shop orange.

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Small Business Saturday is here! Show your support for kids on bikes and a more bicycle-friendly Traverse City by wearing one of our very, very Orange jerseys, Tshirts, hats, caps and shades.

Tshirt

Quality blended, super soft shirt. It’ll be your fave new T. $25.

Norte! logo poly blend adult T, wicking/tech T in youth sizes and women’s shirt too.

bike tc shirt

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Winter Hat/Cap/Bottle/Sunglasses

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Jersey

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You will be the envy of all your riding buddies. Plus it’ll make you at least 3kph faster. Promise.

As a Champion-System Ambassador Team we are able to offer our jerseys to awesome people like you at cost. $55.

We also have bibs, arm warmers, vests, jackets and socks available to order.

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Once we reach the 10 piece minimum, we will place the order. Expect a 6-8 week turn around time.

As an Equipo Norte! ambassador you will be supporting our mission of building a stronger, better connected and more bicycle friendly Traverse City. Gracias.

Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org with questions.

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Shine, Estrellas, Shine!

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Facebook has a cool thing going for Giving Tuesday. On November 29th, the first $1000 raised is matched (thanks Gates Foundation!) and processing fees will be waived.

Soooooo, we’re inviting Norte! fans to create a fundraiser on their FB page on behalf of the Estrellas, our learn to ride program for preschoolers using balance bikes. We’re excited to grow the program to 4 schools this winter (hopefully all of the in town schools in the near future too) but need more balance bikes and little helmets.

Here’s How It Works:

1. On the main FB news feed page, click “Create Fundraiser“, it’s near the bottom
2. Search for “Norte” and select us as the nonprofit
3. Title = “Giving Tuesday for Norte!
4. Use one of these photos HERE as the cover:

or if you have one of your child, use that.

5. Story box: Get creative. Make it fun and personal.

Here’s some copy if helpful:

Help the Estrellas shine this Giving Tuesday. After a successful pilot last year, Norte!’s learn to ride program for preschoolers using balance bikes is growing. They are expanding to 4 Traverse City schools this winter and in need of more little helmets and balance bikes. 100% of Giving Tuesday donations will go to the Estrellas. Learn more about this innovative program here: elgruponorte.org/school/estrellas

Norte! is Traverse City’s bike-centric, youth-focused 501c3 advocacy organization.

Norte!’s mission is to help build a stronger, better connected and more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its young people through bicycles.

Norte! is developing the next generation of active, happy, bikes-for-life leaders through its Safe Routes To School, #BikeTVC advocacy and youth mountain bike programming.

6. End date: November 29, 11:59pm

7. Goal Amount: How about $200??

Need more inspiration, check out these Estrellas fundraisers already created HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

If you’d like to help, please create your fundraiser ASAP.

Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org with questions/concerns.

Bike más. Read más: A Battle of the Books Super Squad

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Like bikes? How about books? In the 4th or 5th grade? If you answered yes, yes and yes, we need you on our Battle of the Books super squad.

Battle of the Books, a National Writers Series program, is a free book-based quiz competition for fourth and fifth graders in the Grand Traverse community. Teams of 4 – 6 students read 10 incredible stories and then test their mettle and knowledge of those stories in quiz bowl style competitions.

Qualifying teams advance to the Battle Finals which also features an appearance by a well-known children’s author from one of the 10 books the teams have read.

Join our super squad HERE.

Additional details about Battle of the Books HERE.

Email questions to hello@elgruponorte.org

Shop Downtown TC. Support kids on bikes in TC

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Give Downtown Traverse City merchants some love, get your holiday shopping done early and support a happy, healthy, and strong Traverse City. Win. Win. Win.

Norte! is excited to participate in Shop Your Community Day for our second time. Last year, $800+ was raised to support of bike-centric, youth-focused programming. So awesome. We hope that you’ll choose us as your nonprofit again in 2016.

15% of your purchase amount will go to support our mission.

Supporting Norte! means supporting:

  •  active, happy, healthy young people in Traverse City
  •  the next generation of bikes-for-life leaders in Traverse City
  •  a stronger, better connected, and more bicycle-friendly Traverse City

Your generous donation will allow us to continue to inspire Traverse City youth through bicycles by way of our many programs and build community in this amazing place we call home. Gracias.

 

The Bike Más Project: Continuing to Inspire Traverse City Youth Through Bicycles

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The Bike Más Project, our adventure-based after school program recently wrapped up its 6th season. We have expanded the program to now serve three elementary schools; Traverse Heights, Eastern and Central Grade School.

Norte! is developing the next generation of active, healthy, and empowered young people in Traverse City. Students are learning as much about themselves as they are about bicycle safety, maintenance and repair, riding skills and techniques, as they put into practice the rules of the road. The program meets once a week for 4 weeks and is for upper elementary students.

Our mantra is to ride Responsibly, Respectfully, and be stellar Representatives of Norte!, their school and community. Expectations include positive attitudes and top notch behavior while out riding. With a wet and sometimes windy fall, our kids represented just that. We like to say “anyone can ride on a sunny day”. No complaints were heard from these kids, they just put their heads down and rode on.

Some of the techniques we learn and practice on our adventures:

  • Power starts, with your foot at the 2 o’clock position, so when it’s time to go, you GO.
  • Riding in a predictable straight line, single file and on the right side of the road
  • Communicating with those around you by calling out car up or back, parked car, pothole, signaling turns and stopping
  • Being courteous to other trail users, passing slowly on the left with a ding and wave.
  • Where to position ourselves at the intersection if turning right, going straight or turning left

The Bike Más Project riders are learning to ride safely on the streets and non-motorized trails. Norte! stresses that sidewalks are designed for pedestrians. If cyclists use sidewalks, the speed is a walking speed and pedestrians have the right-of-way. Kids are taught to bike smart, that includes being especially aware at intersections, and driveways and alleyways.

Before venturing downtown to see the Michigan DNR fish weir, we practiced in the school parking lot, to ride in a straight line WHILE looking back. Not an easy task, but with practice, everyone improved. This skill is important when riding in traffic and needing to change lanes.

We were now ready to try out the downtown bike lanes, paying close attention to parked cars and keeping our distance from possible doors opening. Adventures also took us to parks with time to play, tours of local businesses like Oryana, TBA Credit Union, and relaxing stops for yummy snacks, like Higher Grounds and GT Pie Company.

The program challenges kids to dig deep, sometimes riding further than they ever have before, to practice, practice, practice and grow. They grew their skills, knowledge, strength and confidence. Look for The Bike Más Project coming to your school soon!

Traverse City Safe Routes To School on Michigan Radio

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In case you missed it, our co-founder, Ty Schmidt, recently talked with Stateside’s Cynthia Canty about the importance of active, happy, ready-to-learn kids getting themselves to school in Traverse City. Give it a listen:

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The Traverse City City Commissioners will be considering a resolution next Monday the 17th about a large, 10 school Safe Routes To School infrastructure grant to make our neighborhood elementary schools more walkable/bikeable. Voice your support by emailing them HERE.

Learn more about the benefits of our comprehensive Traverse City-wife Safe Routes To School programming HERE.

Adopt an Icekid: An Iceman Scholarship Fundraiser

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Help awesome Traverse City kids race the Iceman Cometh Challenge this November.

Mr. Iceman, Steve Brown, has been a super Norte! supporter since day one. He has regularly come out for our weekly mountain bike ride, Vasa Domingos, and has spent lots of coaching and mentoring time with the kids to help them have more FUN! on the bike.

2 years ago, with the help of Mr. Brown, we founded the Norte! Iceman Scholarship Fund (N!ISF). The N!ISF is committed to helping Traverse City kids who have earned it – think showing up consistently for our mountain bike rides, being a positive Norte! ambassador, championing bikes at their school, volunteering at our community outreach events, graduating from The Bike Más Project – take part in arguably the most awesome mountain bike race in the US.

Adopt an Icekid aims to raise funds to help 30 deserving young people race this November by covering half of their Iceman/SlushCup registration fee.

30 kids x $35 = $1050

Norte! needs your help.

Please donate $35 and we will pair you up with one of our young racers. Your adopted Icekid will continue to train hard by riding mas bikes in the woods, give it her/his best on race day and then write you a thank you note after the Iceman.

100% of donations raised will go to the N!ISF

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Gracias!