Meet Will. Will is a 5th grader at Eastern Elementary. He came out to many Vasa Domingos – our weekly mountain bike shred – this fall and was also part of our first Bike Más Project class – our after school empowerment program – at Eastern too. We asked Will to share his experiences. Here’s his story:
Vasa Domingos + The Bike Más Project = Awesome Iceman SlushCup
by Will Unger
When I first started doing Norte!’s Vasa Domingos rides I had no confidence in being able to do the Slush Cup. I felt like I was being asked to ride to California and back. Luckily, I learned on the first ride that you could go at your own pace and the group would wait for you; you didn’t have to feel rushed.
After a few weeks of doing the Norte! rides, I had way more confidence and actually had somewhat a belief of being able to do the Slush Cup. Now, I felt like I was being asked to ride to Kalkaska, not impossible but hard. As weeks passed, I gained more and more confidence. I felt stronger. I could go through sand pits and make it up most of the hills without walking. I felt like I could do it in just over an hour. On race day I finished the race in my goal time because I had done the Norte!’s Vasa Domingos rides.
The Bike Más Project also helped me do the Slush Cup because I learned communication so I understood what the other riders meant by “on your right.” Also I learned bike maintenance so I could check if my tire release is tight enough or if my brakes work. I certainly didn’t want my tire to fall off or my brakes to stop working while going down a hill in the Slush Cup. Also The Bike Más Project allowed me to see what it is like to ride in a group. I learned how much more fun it is to ride in a group that communicates and lets you know exactly what is going to happen. I loved riding through town joking around with my friends. Our leader, Cody Sovis, always had a joke ready.
The Bike Más Project is a lot of fun and the Norte! rides are a ton of fun too.
Will is also involved with Class Chat, a student run video series at Eastern. Check out this episode featuring our very own, Cody Sovis:
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Will, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you like Will’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
You can give here:
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.