It all began in 1992, in the Pacific Northwest Chapter, when 13 hardy souls decided they could raise money for trees by riding their bicycles from Seattle to San Francisco in eleven days. The inaugural ride was 1,050 miles. The riders averaged over 100 miles a day with the longest day being 144 miles. The first Tour des Trees exceeded their goal of $60K by raising nearly $100K. Twenty-five years later the Tour is still going strong. This year’s riders traveled a mere 578 miles in seven days and raised over $300K for tree research and education. In 25 years the Tour des Trees has raised more than $3 million dollars and riders have pedaled nearly 15 thousand miles, all in the name of tree research and education. Not too bad for a bunch of tree hugging cyclists!
Three of the original 1992 riders – Jim Clark, Ward Peterson, and Phil Svoboda – were able to join this year’s Tour around the Washington, DC area. Other original riders attended the conference and were introduced during the TREE Fund’s After Hours event. Many of the original Tour riders have ties to the Pacific Northwest and actively participate in tree research and education.
The 2017 tour ended Saturday, August 5, 2017. Here is what Phil Svoboda had to say:
“I have been hard-pressed to gather my thoughts about the magnificent experience of riding over 550 miles during the week. As I noted to my friend, Jim Clark, 25 years ago on the first Tour, the hardest part of the Tour is ending it and saying farewell to new friends and to a wonderful experience that is as close to paradise for me that I can imagine.”
You can still donate to the 2017 Stihl Tour des Trees at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/?key=treefund.