Bike The Buckeye State: Tour des Trees 2018

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, our ace office team flipped a switch (proverbially speaking) and registration went live for the Tour des Trees to Benefit TREE Fund. We’re using a new event management system this year, so the team let me be the test beastie up front to make sure everything was working well and that I couldn’t break anything (since I’m very good at breaking things). All went smoothly, so I officially signed up as Registered Rider #1 for this year’s Tour (my fourth), and I am very much looking forward to seeing who joins me in the weeks ahead, knowing some stalwart friends will sign on, and also that we’ll have some great new folks on the road with us this year.

The Tour will run about 530 miles over seven days: July 29 to August 4, inclusive. The route begins in Columbus, Ohio, works its way up to Cleveland and the shore of Lake Erie, then back to finish where we started. Our last day is a “slow roll” into the International Tree Climbing Championships, which is amazing to experience, for those who aren’t familiar with our industry. Click on the image below for an interactive guide to the planned route; we will be adding stops (one about every 25 miles) and/or community engagement events (a couple-three each day) in the months ahead, so there may be some small tweaks to get us in and out of our interim stops safely and efficiently, but this is the macro plan:

Nah, those aren't hills . . . just lumpy terrain. Easy!

I would love to have people from other eras of my life ride the Tour with me this year — Albanians, Iowans, Cackalackans, NR (“Never Rong”) Folks, Squids, Nucs, Rocky College Peeps, Chops, Engineers, Great Danes, Music Geeks, Blog Readers, Imaginary Online Friends, family members, work colleagues, what have you! We are capping the number of registered riders at 125 this year, and we expect the slots to fill up, so if this sounds like a thing you’d want to do, then please get your registration in sooner rather than later. We are also offering a Virtual Tour option this year that will allow you to ride, run, swim, unicycle or otherwise support the cause at a time, place, and distance that works for you — and at a fundraising level you set yourself.

What will you have to do after you register? Raise or pay $3,500 toward our research program (less if you do not ride the full seven days, or if you choose the virtual option), train so that you can manage at least a 15 mph rate over the course of the Tour (if you’re riding), get yourself and your bike to Columbus — and then relax and ride with full support (meals, lodging, road crews, etc.) from an amazing team of pros and volunteers with years and years of experience in bringing this amazing event to fruition. Our tour director, Paul Wood of Black Bear Adventures, is simply the best in the game, so you’ll be in good hands under his guidance and care.

We hope to raise a total of $325,000 from our riders this year for tree research, with the costs of the event itself defrayed by our corporate partners. (If you can’t ride, but you control the coffers at your place of business and would like to become a partner, holla!) The money goes to a great cause, of course, but an equally important part of the Tour is community outreach and engagement — helping folks of all ages understand why urban and community forests are so important to us all, how scientifically-rigorous research directly benefits the trees we live with, and the roles that our professional arborists and urban foresters play in preserving and protecting the canopy. We visit schools, we stop in community centers and parks, we plant trees — and best of all, we have the great Professor Elwood Pricklethorn with us all week to make sure that we always remember to plant the right tree in the right place and give trees a chance!

Want a peek at what that looks like? Here’s a little video of our traditional tree blessing done at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where we planted a tulip poplar cultivated from the last of the colonial Liberty Trees — which came down at St. John’s College in Annapolis in 1999 after sustaining irreparable damage in Hurricane Floyd:

Hear the spirit? Feel the fun? Appreciate the camaraderie? See me wearing my yellow NAVY cap, 35 years and 1,000 yards from where I spent plebe summer? Wanna experience it all first hand in 2018? (Well, except for that Navy nostalgia bit). Click here for all the details, and hopefully to take that first step to being a part of a truly life-altering experience . . .

2 thoughts on “Bike The Buckeye State: Tour des Trees 2018

  1. The internet can be a marvellous thing, can’t it? Looking things up referred to in your post has this morning gained me the following knowledge:

    – Ohio’s nickname is the Buckeye State (I’m pretty good at locating the states on a map, and I know quite a few of the capitals, but the nicknames are a bit of a mystery to me)
    – The buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra) is related to the horse chestnut (or, as we would have called it as kids, a conker tree – do Americans know about/play conkers?)
    – What ‘plebe summer’ is (I felt exhausted just lying in bed reading about it!)
    – That the American use of ‘plebe’ *seems* to be different to the English use of ‘pleb’
    – That the word pleb is a ‘back-formation’
    – That the verb ‘burgle’ is an English back-formation of the word ‘burglar’, whereas Americans formed the verb ‘burglarize’ by suffixation

    …and it’s still only 6am!

    Good luck with the Tour, Eric – I shan’t be signing up (the twin obstacles being my location on the other side of the Atlantic and the fact that I don’t own a bike!) but I wish you all the best with all your bike/tree endeavours 🙂

    • It’s always a good day when you learn a new thing or three. Or six.

      “Conkers” was a word I learned from Jethro Tull lyrics, I think . . . though I did not know that there was tree/nut derivation to it!!

      I still have Plebe Summer dreams all these years on. My version of the going to school without your clothes on, or having a test that you’ve never prepared for tropes. About the only place I’ve ever heard to word “plebe” used in any regular parlance is to refer to the service academy training programs.

      Thanks for good wishes, much appreciated as always!

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