2017-06-29 / Outdoors

Community support strong for student biking program

Inland Seas to buy 26 bicycles
By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff


BICYCLISTS MAKE their way to the schooner Utopia operated by the Inland Seas Education Association at Discovery Pier in Greilickville. BICYCLISTS MAKE their way to the schooner Utopia operated by the Inland Seas Education Association at Discovery Pier in Greilickville. A group of Traverse City West Senior High School students ended up raising more than twice as much money as they’d hoped to buy bicycles for the Suttons Bay-based Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA).

As a result, ISEA will be able to buy up to 26 high quality.commercial-grade bikes and accessories that will allow “schoolship” students to ride the Leelanau Trail between the Inland Seas Education Center in Suttons Bay and Discovery Pier in Greilickville for years to come.

Students on the high school’s Community Outreach Council hosted a “Bayside Bash” in Greilickville last month hoping to raise $3,000 for the project. They raised $7,000 through a “go fund me” account online and at a “family friendly” event at Discovery Pier that included carnival-themed games and tours of the tall ships at the pier.

“Those kids really exceeded everyone’s expectations, so our bike program will be fully funded – and then some,” said ISEA executive director Fred Sitkins.

The bikes will be used so students who visit the Inland Seas Education Center from all over the state and region each spring and fall during the school year will be able to bike between the two schoolships – the schooner “Utopia” in Greilickville and the schooner “Inland Seas” in Suttons Bay.

Sitkins said that ISEA is partnering with a local company, Suttons Bay Bikes, on the project. Nick Wierzba of Suttons Bay Bikes said that he can get a special deal for ISEA on 26 high-quality Bianchi bikes, worth about $450 each.

“We will have a maintenance agreement with Suttons Bay Bikes that will keep these bicycles in good shape for many years to come, and will have some money left over for helmets and other accessories,” Sitkins explained. “Most of our schoolship students visit during the school year, in the spring and fall, so when Suttons Bay Bikes is busiest – during the summer – they will be able to rent-out some of our bikes if they need to.”

Sitkins said the bikes will be acquired and ISEA’s biking program will begin in the fall with the start of another school year and the next schoolship season.

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