On your mark, get set, commute smart! This week, from June 6-10, the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails (TART) of Traverse City challenges everyone to think before commuting and make sustainable choices about how we get from here to there. Whether you bike, walk, carpool or bus it, TART knows it's possible.
The challenge began with the kick-off breakfast, and continues through the week. Smart commuters can pledge their allegiance to the event by signing up online, for $5. The event is merely five days, but TART aims to have an everlasting impact upon participants and the Northern Michigan community at large. This week is meant to actively engage the Traverse City area in ways that can positively change their lifestyle and environment. TART offers mentors and resources to help participants find simple and sustainable alternatives to their normal commute choices.
And although the reward for long-term commitment to commuting sustainably might be less concrete, there are loads of fun prizes TART is giving away this week for the most creative and dedicated commuters. Gift certificates from Pirates Cove, Yen Yoga and Don’s Drive-In located in Traverse City are a few of the possible prizes to lure commuters into the challenge, but the snazziest of them all is a gorgeously retro Electra “Amsterdam” bicycle donated by City Bike Shop of Traverse City.
Each day this week, “commuter breakfasts” will be offered for Northern Michigan riders, walkers and carpoolers who have taken on the challenge, and frequently include fun specials for participants.
June 7—Travel Safe Tuesday: Commuter breakfasts from 7-9 a.m. at Oak Park Elementary and Oryana Natural Foods Market, with free massages from Living Light Massage, and free bike tune-ups from BikeLab TC.
June 8—Try Transit Day: Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) of Traverse City is offering free Cherriot bus rides all day! Commuter breakfasts from 7-9 a.m. at Old Town Coffee and the BATA Transit Center (with free bike tune-ups from BikeLabTC) in Traverse City, as well as at Deb’s Dish in Suttons Bay.
June 9—Healthy Communities Day: Commuter breakfasts from 7-9 a.m. at Munson Medical Center and Munson Community Health Center in Traverse City.
June 10—Bicycle Trains to Breakfast and Bicycle Swap drop-off: There are three bicycle trains you can ride to breakfast with! Departing from Tom’s on 14th and Division, the Civic Center, and the Cherry Bend Parking lot by the Leelanau Trail, these three trains will head out at 7 a.m. destined for the The River at Clinch Park in downtown TC. The Smart Commute Challenge ends at noon, but festivities continue! Drop off your old bikes at The Old Town Parking Garage between 5-8 p.m. for the bike swap on Saturday and head to Blue Tractor with Porterhouse Productions for artisan beer, local wines, and a full bar—it’s all free!
Closing Friday at 12 p.m., Traverse City's Smart Commute Week challenge will draw to a close, but the festivities will continue throughout the weekend. And hopefully, smart commuting thoughts will keep sprouting in Northern Michigan minds too. For registration, visit traversetrails.org/events/smartcommute/challenge.