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"Appreciate nature and experience adventure," youth mountain biking team expands to Midland

906 Adventure Team Mountain Biking
906 Adventure Team Midland hosts their orientation night on Wednesday, June 1.

A non-profit youth mountain biking group from the Upper Peninsula has made its way to Midland; It will be the first 906 Adventure Team in the Lower Peninsula.

Parent volunteers say 906 Adventure Team is as much about life training as it is about bike training.

“Our vision is to empower people, particularly youth, to discover the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure,” said Todd Poquette.

In 2014, Poquette founded 906 Adventure Team in Marquette. Since then, it has expanded to seven total communities.

“To see us to be able to offer this to communities outside of the Upper Peninsula- to me it’s really needed,” Poquette said. “I've never seen kids and families in a bigger place of need for positive outlets and influences having come through this pandemic the last couple of years.”

The team is co-ed for children ages 5-17.

Peter Mann will be a student at Jefferson middle school in the fall. He attended the Adventure Team orientation on June 1, where volunteers performed safety checks on bikes and helmets.

“I hope to get a good experience and hopefully get to know a few people, because I'm actually new to living in Midland,” Mann said.

He has been mountain biking since 2020.

“Mountain biking is a lot different because the training is a lot different. It's a lot more hilly, and you end up doing a lot more elevation compared to just going flat,” he said. “It’s just what I like to do.”

7-year-old Harper Bartle and 5-year-old Nora Bartle are sisters on Midlands 906 Adventure Team. They like riding their bikes fast and going downhill.

The group emphasizes personal growth over competition.

“The only competition that we foster within each youth is personal competition, teaching them how to get a little bit better, every day,” Poquette said.

Watching his son grow up, Poquette said the competitive aspect of youth sports left third string kids on the bench, where they weren’t given adequate opportunities to practice or improve. 906 Adventure Team encourages kids of all skill levels to participate.

“There's no roster limit, and there's no bench because everybody that shows up has to ‘play’,” Poquette said. “It's been wildly successful, because if people get their kids in it, these kids end up doing things that (parents) never imagined their own kids would do. It’s amazing.”

Midland’s 906 Adventure Team is still open for late registration, and volunteers can also sign up on the website. Their first ride is on June 13 from 6-8 p.m. at Midland City Forest. For more information, email adventurecoordinator@906adventureteam.com.

Jill Harrington is a junior at CMU majoring in journalism and minoring in theatre and interpretation. Jill grew up in Novi, Michigan and is interning in Midland this summer working for WCMU and the Midland Daily News.