Traverse City Bike Train Experiment Encourages Students to Bike, Walk to School

More kids around Traverse City are ditching the bus or the car in favor of two wheels.

The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment encourages students to ride their bikes to school.

Riding a bike to school isn’t safe or feasible for everyone.

But the non-profit Norte is trying to help make it possible for more students by organizing bike trains to maximize the number of kids who ride, and making it more of a habit.

“I like it because it’s really fun. You get your exercise, you meet a lot of friends, you get to have fun and chat,” said Moses Coco, who’s part of a bike train.

Moses Coco is part of a bike train that goes to Eastern Elementary School.

A volunteer adult helps get all the kids from a certain neighborhood to school safely, following the rules of the road.

An opportunity that he’s sad will end with the school year.

“Some of my best friends are gonna leave. So I’m gonna probably meet some new friends.”

Even better, some can leave later in the morning and still beat the school bus.

It’s happening in all of the Traverse City elementary schools in town.

“Currently, we have 18 bike trains connecting eight neighborhoods to nine elementary schools,” said Norte Director Ty Schmidt.

And for people who live out of town, there’s a new pilot called Park and Stroll.

Parents can drop off their kids at one of eight locations.

“So the idea is to make it easier on parents. Because sometimes the mornings are hectic. I have the luxury of time so I’m able and willing to lead them and make it easy on the families to get to school.”

The experiment is finishing its first year.

Ty’s group went from five to 12 kids as the word spread.

And Norte hopes to continue seeing growth across the region.

“If more people come, the more people think it will be cool,” said Jameson Schmidt, who’s part of a bike train. “Because a lot of people will be doing it. So more and more people will be coming.”

Norte just got a $20,000 grant to renew its programs.