Our Board

Ashlea Walter :: President


Ashlea is passionate about building a creative, healthy, bike-friendly and sustainable community. She spends most of her work time as the Marketing Manager at Traverse City State Bank, but you can also find her cheering on all things that involve frozen water and community winter fun as the founder of “My Best Winter Ever!” She also helps her bike-loving husband, Chris, get his cargo bike company, Hauler Cycles, rolling along. Haul yeah! Ashlea and Chris live in downtown Traverse City with their two pedaling birdies, Wren and Phoebe.

Scott Howard :: Vice President


Scott believes that Bikes = Fun therefore More Bikes = More Fun. Year round smart commuter, top notch road and mountain bike racer, super Dad to Gabe, Maya, Ben and an always thoughtful husband to Michele. Not a bad nordic skier either. Scott pays the bills with an Environmental Attorney gig at Olson, Bzdok & Howard, PC and enjoys the occasional beer and donut.

Kristen Talaga :: Secretary


Kristen is a bike enthusiast who has a passion for celebrating and creating community. She has a background in marketing/communications and was recently named one of Traverse City’s Top 40 Under 40. Kristen spends a lot of her time sharing how awesome Goodwill Industries is with the residents of GT County but you will most likely find her and husband, Gabe, biking around TC with their son, Elliot, and daughter Daphne.

Polly Carlton :: Treasurer


For Polly, biking means being part of her community, slowing down to enjoy the view, and supporting her local economy. And she’s excited to inspire the youth of Traverse City to do the same, especially her son Fletcher. She and her husband Patrick have lived downtown for six years, enjoying their rides to the farmers market, beaches, and restaurants. As the owner of Carlton & Company, Polly always prefers to ride to her clients offices, where she helps small businesses and nonprofits organize and stay on top of their finances. While accounting may not be every business owner’s favorite task, Polly makes it fun and meaningful. When she’s not crunching numbers, you’ll find her, Patrick, and Fletcher finding adventures outside in every season.

Ty Schmidt :: Executive Director

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A Canadian import, Ty came to Traverse City in 2006 by way of Tucson, AZ. Along with his wife, Johanna, a Leelanau County native, Ty founded Norte! in 2013 to advocate for more happy, healthy, strong. A recovering Cat 2 road/elite mountain bike racer, Ty now rides at kid pace with his two boys, Carter and Jameson, and loves it. He can often be seen at Munson where he is a part time physical therapist – he job shares with Johanna – or at Carter’s Compost World HQ where he volunteers as a bucket scrubber and pile turner.

Jason Plum


Jason is an avid mountain biker and believes that bikes are a simple, useful and fun way to go about daily life. Bikes are a big part of life for Jason, his wife Rachel and their two kids, Beatrice and Charlie. His day job involves municipal construction engineering for Northern Michigan communities. Having lived and worked in Traverse City for almost 30 years, Jason works to bring his experience and enthusiasm for every day biking to the Norte! community.

Nick Perez

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Nick is an enthusiastic biker and loves to explore the region’s vast trails, roads, and paths available to northern Michigan. Nick spends most of his time helping his clients with their digital marketing and custom web development needs from his downtown Traverse City consulting firm, Solution Studio. His favorite activity is to unplug and enjoy the great outdoors in all seasons along with his wife Nan, and their two children, Kennen and Juno.

Biz Ruskowski


From training wheels, to banana seats, to handlebar streamers, Biz started her passion for biking at an early age.  Now, as the principal of Eastern Elementary school, she rolls on the Eastern Bike Trains with her students weekly and realizes the power of physical activity before school.  Raised in Traverse City, when you don’t see Biz biking to school, you can find her shifting gears on the many trails around the town.  When she isn’t riding, you can find her and her husband Jerry cheering on their son at the hockey rink.

Chris Hinze


As a physical therapist, Chris is passionate about improving the health of his patients and his community. Chris understands that healthy behaviors are often shaped by our environmental and social surroundings. He is passionate about working to create a healthier Traverse City by encouraging safe, comfortable and convenient places to bike, walk and roll and by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to be more physically active. Chris lives in old town with his wife, Katie, and daughters Stella and Olive.

Shelly Charron


Shelly, a Traverse City native, is a supporter of sustainable development, outdoor fun and adventure, and happy healthy families. She brings a background in Urban Planning and Community Development from her prior work with Detroit revitalization projects. She currently supports families as a Family Engagement Specialist with the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Early Head Start Program. Shelly and her daughter Sophia are biking enthusiasts and love biking around Traverse City as well as the area mountain bike trails.

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