Bike-Powered Snow Plows Clear Traverse City Sidewalks and Trails

Plow truck drivers in Traverse City aren't the only ones keeping busy with all of this snow.

One group has taken to two-wheels and is using their bike-powered snow plows to clear off sidewalks and trails in the area.

The bike-powered snow plow was the brain-child of Dr. Thomas Auer.

Then, the former Executive Director of the TART trails, Bob Otwell, brought that idea to life, using a few pieces of wood and the heads of push brooms.

“Part of this is we are part of a bigger collaboration with TART, they've done an excellent job clearing the trails, and we're just a small piece of that puzzle.”

They may be a small group but they're taking over what some consider a large task. Ty Schmidt is just one of many who hook a plow up to their bikes to keep the sidewalks and trails of Traverse City snow-free.

“I think about it more about building community, as a gift to the neighborhood, to make Traverse City more walkable,” Schmidt explains.

He saw the need for these plows first hand.

He rides his bike with his son to school each day. He says the benefits of having a plow hooked to his bike are endless.

“Everyone knows were responsible for our own sidewalk but a lot of folks can't do it, and so I'm happy to get out and do it, it's a great workout, it's clean energy, there's zero emissions, it's infinite amounts per gallon.”

It's also a way to get your bike out during a time when it may be sitting inside.

“It gets people out in the winter on bikes and when you're riding by, you're on your bike you can stop and talk to your neighbor, you get a lot of smiles, you get a lot of thank you's and it's just another way to make cycling a fun four season event.”

Schmidt says he sees the bike-powered snow plows fitting into the community, and believes by next winter, the creative way to clean up will be a familiar sight for many.

“Like an army of bike plows, and just something regular where people are walking and they see a 2 foot path cleared, and then they're like 'The bike plow guys are out!'”

An open house is being held tomorrow, December 28th, at 525 Washington St. from 1-3 PM for anyone interested in the bike-powered snow plows.