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Tour de Trees : Bike Charlotte

May 16, 2016

Bike Charlotte is a 17-day event filled with bicycle-related events focused on empowering Charlotte citizens to incorporate cycling into their lives. Obviously, you know how much I love riding my bike, so I was all for the celebration!

One event that sounded so cool to me when I was looking up the event schedule was Tour de Trees: a history of the arbors in the city. I’m a bit of a history nerd, especially local history. I love hearing the stories that provide the backstory to what I experience now. I knew a little bit about the fact that the trees lining certain roads were chosen with care; but I wanted to learn more.

Stephanie was in town for the weekend from Houston before a work training session in Chapel Hill, and luckily she was more than happy to go on a 3 hour bike ride Sunday morning with me!

We met at 10am at Heartwood Tree Service, where the owner Patrick led the tour. I was so impressed and loved Patrick’s enthusiasm and passion for trees. He has been in business since 1978, and had such knowledgeable info.

Things I learned:
– Poison Ivy/Oak, while awful for humans, isn’t necessarily bad for trees.
– English Ivy, on the other hand, can suffocate a tree.
– A tree needs to have 30% of it’s trunk in tact in order to have strong sense of survival.
– It used to be in fashion to put concrete blocks in a tree that had a cavity to help close it up. That has since gone out of style because arborists believe that it actually causes more scar-damage to the trees when they move.
– The Big Leaf Magnolia is native only to Gaston County, but is now being transplanted to other surrounding counties.
– Evergreen trees don’t not lose their leaves. They push out the older leaves and are immediately replaced, giving the appearance of being ‘forever green’
– The Greenway trails around Freedom Park are really cool and shady to ride on. Long live the Greenway!
– Freedom Park in Charlotte has some Cherry Blossom trees that, 11 years ago, the city wanted to take down. Patrick & his crew took on the liability saying “we want to save them!” and helped keep 23 of the 26 trees in the park.

After a 3 hour tour over 14 miles, we were starving! So we headed to 7th Street Station for some Croque Madams’ from Local Loaf, Crepes from Hazelnut Crepes, and sweets from Cloud 9 Confection.

It was so nice getting the chance to leisurely ride and catch up with Stephanie, miles and timezones make it hard to keep in touch on a frequent basis, so having the chance to reunite always makes for a happy occassion!

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route

Edited to Add: I got asked a lot of questions this weekend about my Fitbit and my RoadID bracelet.IMG_2159

I use the fitbit Alta, and really like it’s slim look, it’s intuitive nature (it knows when I’m sleeping and when I’m biking versus walking), and it’s ability to show me who is calling me and texting me.

I wear a RoadID slim bracelet for pretty much any adventure activity because it allows me to have my name, the city I live in (great when you’re travelling), and ICE contact information. Matt wears the ID Elite band because it has room for more lines of info (he has some medical allergies that doctors need to know). We also have the hospital we would prefer he get taken to when we lived in AK on his band. It makes me feel a lot safer when he is mountain biking alone that he can be taken care of. Use this link for $5 off your RoadID order! 

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