What is the Tour des Trees?
The Tour des Trees is an annual long-distance cycling adventure which serves as the primary public outreach and community engagement event for Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund). Since 1992, Tour des Trees riders have cycled through communities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., planting trees, educating children and shining a light on the work done by arboriculture professionals and the importance of science-based tree care.
The Tour des Trees serves to advance TREE Fund’s mission of supporting scientific discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in arboriculture and urban forestry. TREE Fund research has produced better ways to plant and care for urban trees, making them more resilient, more resistant to pests, and less prone to failure. The Tour also supports education programs aimed at connecting young people with the environment and career opportunities in green industries. TREE Fund has been able to disburse more than $4.4 million in grant and scholarship funding since 2002, and the Tour des Trees has been a key component in the organization’s ongoing success.
Full-Tour cyclists commit to raising at least $3,500 for TREE Fund; part-time riders have reduced commitments. Event expenses are defrayed by TREE Fund’s generous partners, so funds raised by riders can be applied to new grants, payments on multi-year grants awarded in prior years, or added to permanent endowment funds that will sustain research into the future.
The links below provide key information for riders, volunteers, donors, and those considering participating in or supporting the event. We hope to see you on the Tour this year!
What’s the Tour like?
- Please note that the 2020 Tour begins with a mandatory orientation and dinner on Saturday evening, so you should plan to arrive early enough to check in to the host hotel, pick up your gear, get your bike ready, and be ready for the evening’s programs by 5:00 p.m. The Tour will roll for five days: Sunday through Thursday.
- As part of a full-time Tour registration, you will have six hotel nights (Saturday through Thursday). You will have a roommate unless you request and pay a supplement for a single room. We do our best to accommodate roommate preferences. If you do not request a roommate, our Tour Director, Paul Wood, will team riders up using his proprietary algorithm.
- Daily Routine:
- Bring your packed travel bags to the designated area (usually near breakfast or the lobby) at the time announced on the white board and at the rider briefing the prior evening.
- Eat breakfast, fill your water bottles, air up your bike tires, and find your ride buddies.
- Attend the mandatory rider briefing 15 minutes prior to rollout which will cover what to expect that day, including weather, road conditions, events.
- We roll out as a group.
- There is generally a morning rest stop, lunch stop, and afternoon rest stop placed ~20-30 miles apart along the route.
- Stops can be:
- Events – These are community engagement events with VIP hosts, media, etc., so you are strongly encouraged to plan your ride so that you can attend, participate, and help advance TREE Fund’s mission. You are an ambassador for TREE Fund, the Tour and our Partners. Community members will be eager to meet you and understand why you are involved in the Tour.
- Programs – These are short presentations or tree planting ceremonies that you are encouraged to attend.
- Rest Stops – A stop with just food and bathrooms.
- Towards the end of the day, support will SAG any riders still on the road at the time necessary to get everyone to the mandatory rider recap and dinner.
- Massage therapy is available in the bike room at day’s end. Get your name on the list first thing when you arrive.
- A mandatory Rider Briefing is held before dinner each night. We review the day and discuss any potential adjustments to make the ride even safer. This is also when we hold award ceremonies, educational programs, and preview the next day’s ride.
- Dinner doesn’t include alcohol. Bring cash if you want adult beverages.
How can I stay informed about Tour details and any changes to plans?
- Before the Tour, the best place to find the latest information is at treefund.org/tourdestrees. After you register to ride, you will also receive a monthly e-newsletter called the Ride Guide that will keep you up on the latest.
- During the Tour, we communicate via the mandatory rider briefings (morning and evening), a white board located in the bike room, and using an app that texts you with last-minute changes.
How will I know where we’re going?
In the August Ride Guide, Paul will broadcast the finalized RidewithGPS files so you can download to your respective navigation tools. Riders receive maps and route notes at registration. The route is reviewed at the mandatory Rider Briefing each evening. Where applicable and safe, the route will be marked (we will go over what to look for during the rider briefings). Always bring a cell phone and never ride alone.
What if I can’t ride the whole day?
No worries. We have “SAG wagons” available to transport cyclists as needed due to mechanical problems or fatigue. The hope is that you can ride most of the way, but if you need help, it’s there. When you’re out of gas – the van won’t be!
Can I bring a guest to dinner?
Yes, we are happy to have guests join us! Please let Paul and Maggie know in advance if you’re planning to bring one (or more), so we will have enough food. The cost per guest (age 12 and older) for breakfast or lunch is $20 and for dinner it’s $40, payable by credit card to Maggie the day of the meal. Please note that we do NOT make any money off guest meals; we are simply covering our costs so we can keep Tour expenses in line.
What can I expect from the mechanics?
The Tour mechanics can handle just about any repair. You are responsible for the cost of items needed to repair your bike. Help is always available, but you may have to wait a bit for it.
- Being able to fix a flat yourself will get you back on the road faster.
- Knowing how to assemble/break down your bike if you’re shipping it will make your life easier.
What kind of training is recommended for participation in the Tour?
Here are some general training tips to prepare for riding 400+ miles in five days:
- If you have limited time for training, pool it and ride 50-65 miles twice a week rather than short rides every day.
- Ride back-to-back long rides of close to 80 miles as often as possible in the final six weeks, but stay within your weekly mileage goal. Riding long on consecutive days in training is the key to feeling good on the Tour.
- Be comfortable training 200-250 miles per week for the eight weeks before the Tour. Get ready gradually.
- Train on the bike you will be riding on the Tour. If you are concerned about bike fit and your riding position, get advice from a cycling coach, bike shop professional or knowledgeable rider before the Tour. Don’t make position changes without adequate time to adapt.
- Participate in weekend group rides to become comfortable with other wheels just inches away. Group rides tend to be fast too, which is good training.
- Begin some of your training rides in early morning. Ride occasionally on rainy days and in other less-than-optimum conditions so you’ll be ready for anything.
- Get comfortable eating on long rides. About 250-300 calories per hour will help ensure all-day energy. Drink at least 24 ounces an hour (one water bottle) to stay hydrated.
- Don’t forget speed. Training rides should include some rolling hills to sprint up, some escapes from farm dogs, and some fast tailwind stretches to help you turn a big gear. Making these surges, rather than always riding at a constant pace, will help raise your fitness and cruising speed.