Posted Sunday, July 27, 2014 --- 8:55 p.m.
Nearly 85 cyclists from across the globe have arrived in Madison as part of the 2014 "Tour des Trees." The group will be riding a 600 mile loop throughout the state, raising money for tree research and education.
"These are not people who are here for the bike ride, these people are here for the trees," said Mary DiCarlo with the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund.
This is the twelfth year Warren Hoselton, of Canada, has been participating in the ride.
"It's the cause that brings me back but also the fellow riders, we call ourselves the tree family," Hoselton said.
Throughout the year, riders raise money to contribute to the TREE Fund. Since 1992, the ride has generated more than six million dollars for tree research and education.
"It's not until a tree reaches maturity that it really starts to create value in a community. You can plant a million trees but if nobody's caring for them, they don't grow to be big mature healthy trees and they're not really adding a lot of value," DiCarlo said.
The Tour takes place in a different part of North America every year, and this year's ride through the Badger state makes Wisconsin riders exceptionally proud.
"We love showing off our state, they loved Milwaukee and we can't wait to show them the rest of the state now," said rider Doug Drysdale.
Throughout the week, the group will also be making stops in Door County, Green Bay and Stevens Point before returning to Milwaukee. Along the way, riders will be planting and dedicating dozens of trees.