The Bike Mas Project Summer Camp: A Grand Finale

 

by Ben Boyce, Norte! Program Director

Great week of bike adventure, Bike Más!  This was a week of great pedaling, great signaling, great attitudes, and lots of fun.

Today’s 9.9 mile ride took as ALL OVER town.  I was especially proud of our street crossing at Cass St., Union St., and Division.  Way to go, Norte!

That new sculpture in Lay park was cool.  Inspired, I took an artsy photo:

 

 

Riding through downtown is fun, but finding secret cuts through downtown is even better!  Hannah Park has a lovely ribbon of dirt that spits us out on the west side of town, and sets us up nicely to take advantage of the 7th St. crossing at Division.

Our large group of 15 bicyclist took up the whole lane as we waited for our green light, but we only occupied as much roadway as 2 large cars.   That’s pretty cool.

 

 

We explored some paths through the old state hospital that lead to Higher Grounds Trading Company.  Higher Grounds has been supporting Norte! youth programming for a long time.  Inside, Josh took some time out of his busy day making delicious coffee to explain to the group how their coffee roasting process works.  Very interesting stuff, and it smelled so good in there!

We extended out snack-stop behind Greenspire School to include a nature break along the trails up there.  We found that hippie tree that everyone’s talking about!  The land behind the state hospital is full of trails and places to explore.  I hope everyone gets a chance to venture out that way.

 

We took another fun secret cut through some fields to get back into town, and stopped in at another Bike Más sponsor, Oryana Co-op.  Stephanie lead the kids around the store showing them what makes Oryana different from other stores (including organic jelly beans).


We followed the TART Trail through the mist  and over the lake back to our part of town.  Despite the cool, misty weather, there was unanimous support for ice cream at Bardon’s.  Who would have thought?!

These kids did really well this week.  I am super proud of their riding abilities and positive attitudes while we cranked out the miles through burning sun and chilling rain–they’re a bunch of troopers!

I had a great week riding bikes with them, and I look forward to watching them progress as community-minded cyclists.  Bike happy, Bike Más!


Learn more about The Bike Mas Project summer camp HERE.

 

 

Bikes + Adventure + Traverse City = Best Summer Camp Ever

Make your summer bike-tastic! The Bike Más Project, our adventure-based summer camp for awesome kids going into the 3rd – 6th grades, is back in 2017!

 The Bke Mas Project teaches urban bike safety skills through empowerment, education, and adventure. Much adventure!

The Bike Más Project camp goers will:

  • Explore Traverse City on your bike and discover its awesome places
  • Learn how to bike safe and bike smart
  • Develop bike repair and maintenance skills
  • Become a bike handling ninja
  • Build confidence. Get fit. Have FUN!

Dates for kids going into 5th/6th grades:

June 12 – 16
July 10 – 14
August 7 – 11

Dates for kids going into 3rd/4th grades:

June 19 – 23
July 17 – 21
August 14 – 18

Time:

9:00 – noon

Camp meets at the Norte! Clubhouse at the Civic Center

Cost:

$100

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 available. Apply HERE.

Learn more about last year’s summer camp HERE.

The Norte! Kids Bike Library has a couple bikes and helmets to loan out too if needed.

Email us at hello@elgruponorte.org with questions.

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!

The Bike Mas Project: Confidence, Independence and Smarts Through Adventure

imageWe just wrapped up our first ever summer camp and it was awesome. These 12 soon-to-be 5th and 6th graders came a long way this week. Biking smart. Signaling big. Getting fit. And building confidence and independence through pedal-powered adventures through Traverse City.

The numbers:

  • 42 miles pedaled
  • 24 parks visited
  • 2 bike fix clinics (Thank you, Einstein Cycles and Brick Wheels!)
  • 2 tours (Gracias, Cone Drive and Wastewater Treatment plant!)
  • Mucho snacks

We’ll be back next summer!