Traverse City Safe Routes To School: A Fall Recap

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 or get involved with SRTS in TC here:

Traverse City Safe Routes To School on Michigan Radio


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:


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.

Very wet but awfully fun Adventurama! photos and results


We explored Traverse City on bicycles. We found treasure. We played in parks, found little libraries, discovered public art, read the plaques and made friends with strangers, too. We also got really, really wet. Despite buckets and buckets and buckets of rain, the inaugural Adventurama! was a blast. Thanks to everyone for playing along and helping us raise $3000+ for our Safe Routes To School programming.

Let’s do it again next year!

Super official 2016 results:

  1. Skid Marks: 375 points
  2. Secret Stash Dashers: 353
  3. Nerdy Pigs: 325
  4. Saggi Jam: 320
  5. Trojans: 295
  6. Los Fuertes: 288
  7. Eagle Eyes: 265
  8. Riptide Riders: 250
  9. Pedal Posse: 244
  10. Green Bino’s: 240
  11. School Daze: 235
  12. The Northern Scenesters: 235
  13. The Five Amigos: 225
  14. Wet Noodles: 225
  15. Shooba Looba Ding Dong: 205
  16. The Striped Whites: 195

NerdyPigs’ Fly by:


Photo gallery:

Adventurama! nears: 7 things to know


Adventurama! is this Saturday, September 10th. It’s 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 geo cache. Part costume contest. Full adventure!

Pedaling Adventurama! squads on a quest for #BikeTVC glory will compete against each other in a not so serious way by exploring Traverse City, discovering treasure, and solving riddles.

If you’re not signed up, you should be. 100% of proceeds go to support our Safe Routes To School programming. Register your squad here:


and them read these 7 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
  • One pen
  • One backpack or something to carry your treasure in
  • One 5 dollar bill
  • One quality kids book

3. Schedule:

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

12:40 – Mandatory squad meeting. All squads must be checked in

12:50 – Treasure maps Challenge Cards are unveiled

12: 59: 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 three 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 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 to 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.

7. Earning additional points:

Enlist your squad before August 15 – 15 bonus points

Enlist your squad at Bike Night at Right Brain on Wednesday, September 7th – 10 bonus points

Join our Strava club – – 10 bonus points. Show us how you #BikeTVC by sharing your adventure on the big day.

#Adventurama – 3 bonus points each

  • You can earn a maximum of 15 points when you post photos of your squad preparing for Adventurama! Posts must include the hashtag #Adventurama #{squadname} and must be made before September 10.

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 course and bring back to RBB) – Various points

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

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

Traverse City's Pedal Powered Community Bike Shop

el barrio bike fix.jpg

Traverse City’s first pedal powered community bike shop is for real. It’s big. It’s orange. It’s about to awesome things in TC. Big thanks to Rotary Club of Traverse City, Oryana, Carter’s Compost, Marathon Automotive, Image360 and Charles Schwab for making it happen and supporting El Barrio (The Neighborhood) Bike Fix, our learn-to-wrench program.

A bike-powered “maker space” of sorts, EBBF allows Traverse City elementary students to get their hands dirty, turn wrenches and learn basic bike repair and maintenance skills from our professional bike mechanics.

From changing a flat to adjusting brakes to dialing in shifting, EBBF aims to empower youth to take care of their own bicycles to promote self-assurance, confidence, creativity and lifelong bike independence.

EBBF had a great start last fall at Glenn Loomis and then again last winter at Eastern so we’re excited put our new community bike shop to work to teach more elementary students the basics of bike mechanics.

Hey, kids! Check out a bike. Ride it to school. For free.


Norte! is excited to partner with the Traverse Area District Library and McLain Cycle to host a pop up Kids Bike Library on Wednesday, August 17th from 9a – noon.

Kids grow up fast. They out grow their bikes fast too. As part of s our Traverse City-wide Safe Routes To School program, the Kids Bike Library aims to preschool and lower elementary aged students awesome by making sure their bike always fits no matter how fast they grow nor their family’s resources.


Thanks to generous support from McLain Cycle, Norte! will have 47 like new Specialized kids – balance, 12”, 16” and 20” – bikes to loan out. These sizes are ideal for preschoolers and lower elementary students.

“Partnering with Norte! has been a great experience. It has allowed us to promote community engagement of cycling in a new way. We are linked together with a shared value of getting kids and families on bikes”, Kris McLain, owner at McLain Cycle.

Young riders are welcome to borrow a bike for as long as it fits them. Once they outgrow the bike, they return to the Norte! in exchange for the next size up. For FREE!

Here’s How It Works:

  1. Show up at the Woodmere library anytime between 9a – noon.
  2. Sign up for a Norte! Kids Bike Library card. It’s both easy and free. Parent’s photo ID is required.
  3. See a bike you like? Give it a test ride and then take it home if it’s a keeper.
  4. Once the bike is too small, return it to Norte! and check out the next size up.

In return, we simply ask that the kids promise to:

  • take good care of the bike.
  • ride the bike as much as possible. Especially to school!
  • be a positive Norte! ambassador.

Word on the street is that TADL’s new Book Bike will be making an appearance too!

While this is a 100% free service, Norte! will be accepting donations – tax exempt, of course – to help fund our Safe Routes To School programs.


Learn more about our kids bike library HERE.

Learn more about how we’re empowering elementary students to be active, happy, and ready-to-learn HERE.

Learn more about McLain’s fabulous 100% trade-in program HERE.

Email us at with questions

Bike Happy. Bike Mas. Bike TC.


Bike Night at Rare Bird to Support Safe Routes To School


Norte! is excited to partner with Rare Bird Brewpub to host “Bike Night at Rare Bird” on Tuesday, August 2nd starting at 4pm. This is a kickoff party to celebrate the launch of the Norte! “Do Good” tap.

$1 from each pint sold during the entire month of August will go directly to support Norte!’s community-wide Safe Routes To School programs which are dedicated to empowering elementary and middle school students across  Traverse City students to actively transport themselves to school.

Big thanks to our friends at Rare Bird for supporting Norte!’s mission of building a stronger, better connected and more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its young people through bicycles.

Look for mucho bike parking outside Rare Bird’s beautifully restored 1931 red brick building  at 229 Lake Avenue in downtown Traverse City and we’ll see you tomorrow night.

Got 2 hours? Norte! Needs You


Norte! is hustling to build a stronger, better connected and more bicycle friendly Traverse City but we need your help.

We have LOTS of happenings coming up in the next month.

If you like what Norte! is doing and want to get involved, we’d love to have you as volunteer. Many FUN! – never boring – opportunities are available. Volunteers will help encourage more people to ride bikes in TC and raise $ for our programs.

July Happenings

  • Wednesday, June 29th : 2-3:30 at the Woodmere Library –  Bike ‘n Read: Ride to Medalie Park via Boardman Lake Trail and help keep the kids safe. Sign up HERE.
  • Saturday, July 2nd – July 9th at the Open Space – Cherry Fest Bike Valet: Accept and return bikes. Sign up HERE.
  • Sunday, July 3rd: 8-10:30 & 10:30-noon at Cherry Bend Park – Pancake Ride: Help with breakfast. Sign up HERE.
  • Sunday, July 3rd: 10-11:30 at the Open Space – Cherry Fest Pie Ride: Ride the TART to Dalzell and back and help at crossings. Sign up HERE.
  • Tuesday, July 26 – Sunday, August 31 at the Bijou – Traverse City Film Fest Bike Valet: Accept and return bikes. Sign up HERE.

Funds raised during these events will go to support our Safe Routes To School programs. Learn more HERE.

Email questions to



Traverse City Bikes To School Day


One small ride for your school, one giant ride for your City.

Traverse City Bikes To School Day is back.  TCB2SD is a community-wide, multi-school celebration of National Bike To School Day. It’s going to happen on Wednesday, May 4th and it could quite possibly be the most awesome day of kids on bikes in TC history. We say that every year but we really mean it this time 😉

Remember last year? Check out this infographic from 2015’s TCB2SD:

tc-bikes-to-school-day-week-infographic 2015

In addition to inspiring and empowering more elementary students to actively transport themselves to class via bicycle than ever before, we will also crown The Most Bike-tastic Traverse City School with a little friendly competition. Eastern won last year? Can the Stars defend their title?

Plus we’ll have all sorts of crazy FUN! Prizes and high fives, too, of course.

Here’s How It Works:

1. Commit to ride your bike to school on Wednesday, May 4th and then sign up HERE. Once you commit, you’re promising to bike on the big day. Pinky swear.

2. Tell your friends, teacher, principal and lunch lady about Traverse City Bikes To School Day and have them commit, too. Yay, lunch ladies on bikes!

3. Don’t forget, you have to sign up HERE to help your school win The Most Bike-tastic Traverse City School award. This is a big deal and we’re taking it very, very seriously. We’re going to use some math, actually.

# of pedaling students and staff ÷
# of total students and staff at school
x 100 =
Your School’s Bike-tastic-ness number.

Highest Bike-tastic-ness number wins bragging rights for the entire year and probably a sweet trophy to show off, too.

4. On Wednesday, May 4th, hop on your bike and pedal to school with some friends or join one of our many Bike Trains and pedal with A LOT of friends.

So simple. So awesome.

Do you live too far from school to bike? Maybe you don’t have a safe route to school? No worries, you can still participate.

** If you take the bus to school, ride your bike to the bus stop. That totally counts. We’ll have a limited number of our pop-up neighborhood bike racks set up at popular bus stops. If you can talk some buddies into biking-to-bus with you, let us know HERE and we’ll pedal one over.

** Does your mom or dad normally drive you to school? Ask them nicely to leave a little earlier on TC Bikes To School Day and drop you off a mile or so from school. Then ask them to join you so that both of you can pedal to school together. That’ll be fun. Not sure where you should park to have a safe route to school? Email us at and we’ll help give you some ideas.

** We’re also encouraging outlying schools to participate. Talk to your teacher or principal about hosting a bike “at school” event. Maybe a recess ride with your classmates? Maybe some skills practice at lunch time?

Just don’t forget to commit. Your school needs YOU!


Are you an awesome mom, dad, neighbor who’s already biking to school with your child/fave neighborhood kid? Maybe none of our bike trains are convenient? Start your own train. Invite a friend, classmate, neighborhood kid to join you and BAM! you have yourself a bike train. Please register your new bike train HERE because more bike trains = more better.

We currently have 18 Bike Trains registered connecting 12 different Traverse City (and Suttons Bay!) neighborhoods to 9 different Traverse City elementary and middle schools:

The Eastern Star Express
The Eastern High-lander
The Eastern Special
The Eastern Star Line
The Eastern Flyer
The Central Grade Zephyr
The Central Grade Coastal Classic
The Central Grade Limited
The TCAPS Montessori Trolley
The TCAPS Montessori Meteor
The TCAPS Montessori Bay Express
The TCAPS Montessori Morning Star
The Traverse Heights Golden Arrow
The Trinity Lutheran S-Bahn
The West Middle Empire Builder
The Westwoods Rebel
The Willow Hill Comet
Suttons Bay/Leelanau Montessori Water Wheel Express

Want to volunteer with Norte! and help make TC Bike To School Day a success. We have lots of fun (not boring!) jobs. You can be a Bike Train conductor or help the kids cross at busy intersections or hand out snacks/stickers/high fives at school. Sign-up HERE. Gracias.

Schools are encouraged to celebrate with us by hosting a small event the morning of the big day. Anything goes, really. Healthy snacks or stickers or High Fives or a dance party or a scavenger hunt with inflatable penguins. Whatev.

Questions can be sent to

Bike Happy. Bike Más. Bike To School in TC.

Bike To School Fridays: The Week 1 Numbers


Well that was a very impressive start. The first Bike To School Friday of the year rocked. Special shout-out to the Willow Hill Comet for the largest train of the day and to  Eastern Elementary for boasting the most bikes at school with 46.

Principals On Bikes is next week. Make sure to invite yours and we’ll see you on Friday.

Bike To School Fridays- Week 1 (1)

Read more about The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment HERE.

Learn more about our City-wide network of bike trains HERE.

The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment Is Coming


We are thrilled to announce that Norte! has been selected by The Michigan Fitness Foundation and Michigan Department of Transportation to receive a $25,000 Safe Routes To School grant for the  Traverse City Area Public Schools. This grant will help fund The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment; a Norte! program dedicated to empowering students to actively transport themselves to school in a fun and safe environment.

In partnership with Eastern, Central Grade, Traverse Heights, TCAPS Montessori, Willow Hill and West Middle, Norte! will expand its city-wide Bike Train network to connect more Traverse City neighborhoods to more Traverse City neighborhood schools to allow more Traverse City youth to bike to school.

These adult-led groups encourage elementary and middle school students to bike together while learning how to safely operate their bicycles on neighborhood streets and urban pathways. Students will become confident cyclists, learn independence, gain self-esteem and arrive to school alert and ready to learn.

Our Bike Trains will also provide social connections to friends and neighbors, help reduce motor vehicle traffic congestion and air polluting emissions near schools and build a stronger, better connected Traverse City.

This Safe Routes To School grant will also help fund a collaboration with East Middle and Cherry Knoll to support their at-school bicycle related activities including bike repair education and bike handling skills training.

While The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment does not officially launch until fall, Norte! has a lot happening this spring:

  • The Bike Más Project, our experienced-based after school program, will be at Traverse Heights Elementary and aims to develop the next generation of active, healthy, engaged young leaders in Traverse City through bike repair, education, safety and adventure.
  • The inaugural Traverse City Bikes To School Day is a community-wide, multi-school celebration of National Bike To School Day on Wednesday, May 6th. Stay tuned for details on what could quite possibly be the most awesome day of kids on bikes in Traverse City history.
  • We’re teaming up with Remember To Love and the Cherry Capital Cycling Club to host the 2nd annual Traverse City Bike Rodeo. It’s on Saturday, May 16th at Central High School. A free day of fun, bike skills and education for all elementary aged youth.

Bike Happy. Bike Más. Bike TC.