TRAVERSE CITY — Ty and Johanna Schmidt wanted to make sure biking remained a part of their daily routine when they moved to Traverse City from Tucson, Ariz., eight years ago.
The year-round bike commuters have shared their enthusiasm for biking by founding Norte! TC, an organization that encourages youth to become life-long cyclists. The couple used the group to develop programs that focus on fun while teaching safe biking practices.
The latest bicycle-oriented adventure is a partnership with McLain Cycle and Fitness and The Little Fleet to sponsor weekly, casual, family community bike rides throughout the summer months. Riders will meet at 5:45 p.m. each Wednesday beginning Wednesday at McLain’s, 750 E. Eighth St. The rides get underway at 6 p.m. and travel a slow, two- to three-mile loop along neighborhood streets and trails before concluding at The Little Fleet on Front Street.
“Tucson was a very bike-friendly city,” Ty Schmidt said. “Johanna and I are committed to biking to work all year, and we’ve dabbled in amateur mountain bike racing, so living in a bike-friendly town was really important to us, but we felt something Traverse City lacked is the ability for kids to ride safely to and from school.”
Schmidt said he also fears that instances occurring over the last few years involving cyclists hit by cars has made some novice riders fearful.
“We don’t intend to go out there to be obstacles or create mayhem,” Schmidt said. “We just hope to get people who don’t usually ride their bikes to come out for small, community rides. There’s safety in numbers, and we hope to meet at the same time each week, talk, ride, and create awareness for the growing presence of people on bikes in Traverse City.”