Bicyclists tour Treetown for inaugural Ann Arbor ride
“It was just such an impressive tree,” he said. “It’s one of the trees that I remember from my youth.”
Hieftje made the decision Saturday after leading more than 30 bicycle riders on the Ann Arbor Tree Conservancy’s first-ever Tree Tour Bike Ride. The two-hour trip took cyclists nearly 10 miles throughout area parks, Kerrytown and the University of Michigan campus to learn about the city’s trees.
“(We wanted) to build awareness about the great trees we have in Ann Arbor and also encourage bicycle riding in town,” Michael Conlin said, who helped organize the tour.
Arborist Cam Knight led the group with the mayor, pointing out some his favorite trees and teaching participants how to identify them.
The riders, a mixture of tree enthusiasts, cyclists and those just looking to spend an enjoyable afternoon outside, said they had a good time and learned a lot.
“It was a lot of fun,” Vickie Smith said. “There are sections we just don’t go to, even though we’ve lived here forever.”
Judy Schmidt of the Ann Arbor Bike Touring Society helped plan the bike route but said she had no idea some of these places existed.
“Seeing some of those trees, to me, it’s like a real treasure knowing it’s there,” she said. “It’s like having little treasures all over town.”
Hieftje said the ride emphasized two aspects of the city that have been important to Ann Arbor throughout its history.
“It’s nice to have a focus on trees and biking at the same time,” he said. “It’s two things we focus on in Ann Arbor, historically and most recently.”
Members of the Tree Conservancy said they were pleased with the turnout and plan on making the tour an annual event.
“We call ourselves Tree Town,” member Gary Woodworth said, “and I think we’re moving back to deserving that title.”