Norte! Youth Cycling is a grassroots organization dedicated to getting Northern Michigan kids outdoors and on their bikes. Every Wednesday evening throughout the summer, Norte! Youth Cycling, The Little Fleet, and McLain Cycle partner to present TC Rides, a community bike ride through Traverse City for cyclists of all ages. These rides are held every Wednesday at 5:45 pm.
MyNorth’s Adrienne Roberts talked with one of the founders of Norte! Youth Cycling, Ty Schmidt, to find out more about the benefits of biking and how to get kids off the couch and into the bike saddle.
Can you tell me a little more about TC Rides? Is this event good for kids?
TC Rides is an all-ages community bike ride where we pedal on our neighborhood streets and trails to get some exercise, ring our bells, and have fun. It’s meant to build community, encourage an active lifestyle, and create awareness for the growing presence of people on bikes in Traverse City. It’s not only great for kids but for grandmas and grandpas and everyone else in between, too. We have riders ranging in age from six to 80 years old. It’s a beautiful thing.
Can you tell me about Norte! Youth Cycling? How did it get started?
Norte! is a bike-centric, youth-focused non-profit organization in Traverse City. We started in the fall of 2013 with the purpose of promoting more “going by bike” amongst Traverse City’s young people. We aim to develop the next generation of lifelong cycling enthusiasts and leaders by engaging them in an active, healthy, resilient, community-minded lifestyle.
Tell me more about the Spanish-speaking component of Norte! Youth Cycling.
Why Spanish? We say, “Why not Spanish?” Johanna and I spent several years in Tucson where we fell in love with the culture there. We’re aspiring Spanish speakers and Mexican food lovers. In 2006, we moved North (Norte!) to Traverse City to be closer to family. We try our best to sneak in some Hispanol with the kids whenever possible.
What does it mean to “inspire Traverse City youth through bicycles?”
We use the power of the bicycle to promote an active/healthy lifestyle, to foster leadership skills while setting and achieving personal goals, to empower Traverse City’s young people to be self-assured, creative, resilient, gritty and self-confident to help them overcome obstacles both on and off their bikes, to grow civic-minded and engaged leaders by participating in bike friendly community outreach activities and to inspire a love for all things cycling. Bikes for happiness. Bikes for recreation. Bikes for transportation. Bikes for health. Bikes for racing. Bikes for fun.
Why is biking a good activity for kids?
Bikes are more than tangible things. They are more than just toys. Bikes are powerful tools in promoting independence, freedom, confidence, better connected communities and sustainable transportation. Plus bikes are just fun. It’s really hard to not have a good time on a bike.
Do you have any ideas of ways to get kids off the couch and outside, especially in the summer?
Make riding bikes fun. Go on adventures. Explore. Ride to the ice cream shop. Ride to the beach. Ride in the woods. Ride to school. Invite your classmates, neighbors, friends, siblings to join you. Kids on bikes creates more kids on bikes which in turn makes for a stronger, better connected community. Riding bikes is infectious. It’s so simple and it’s so awesome.
For a complete list of upcoming events, visit ElGrupoNorte.com.