July 17, 2007
Bike tour with focus on urban forestry to stop at Stanford
By Michael Peña
Just about everyone has heard of the Tour de France, but not so well known is its distant cousin: the Tour des Trees. The 16-year-old event, which combines bicycling and tree planting, returns to Northern California this month and includes a stop at Stanford.
The six-day bike ride is sponsored by the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund), an environmental nonprofit organization that supports the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry. More than 80 cyclists will begin the morning of Friday, July 20, in Sacramento and follow a 550-mile route that will take them to Clearlake, down through the wine country and over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco, down the Peninsula and on to Santa Cruz and the Monterey area. The tour ends in San Jose on July 26.
Each day of the ride, a tree-planting event will be held along the route to raise public awareness of the importance of community forests and trees in urban settings. At Stanford, the university's Grounds Services Department has agreed to plant a coastal live oak tree in Kennedy Grove, behind the Humanities Center on Santa Teresa Street, at noon on July 24.
Sponsors of the bike tour invite the community to attend the planting.
Each rider raises $3,500 or more to take part in the full tour, and since its inception in 1991, rides have crossed the country and traveled several times into Canada and once in England. In 1992, the bike tour finished in Oakland. One of the sponsors for this year's event is Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Established in 2002, the Wheaton, Ill.-based TREE Fund has raised more than $3 million for tree research and education. Its annual ride is considered the largest fundraising event in the nation to benefit the care of trees through research and education. For more information, go to http://www.tourdestrees.org/.