Category Archives: 2013 Ride for Research

Ride for Research - London 2013

London Ride for Research . . . to infinity and beyond!

And so it was, that, on October 23rd at 8am on a day of sunshine and showers, 21 intrepid cyclists from across the country embarked on Fund 4 Trees’  second Ride for Research charity event of the year, heading along the Thames Path from Kew Gardens to Westminster and back, a total of 29 miles in all.

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Tony Kirkham, of Kew, was enlisted to fire the starter’s gun, and the riders made their way along the muddy scenic towpaths of Kew and Richmond through Hammersmith, Fulham, Lambeth and Wandsworth, to the Houses of Parliament.

Along the route two schools were to be visited and some of the pupils were in for a tree planting and arboriculture lesson. St Pauls Primary was the first.  Russell Ball led the pupils out to the spot where a sweet gum tree was to be planted and gave a short lesson to the throng of fascinated faces, (the ‘arbs’ of the future perhaps?) Russell asked the question:-

‘Children, how many trees do you think there are in London?’

To which the reply came

One hundred? No, ten hundred. No, five hundred?’ Until one voice ventured the best answer to be heard all day,


Well, the arboriculturists of the present were in no mood to let the pace drop and hurtled away from the first school en route to an important and time-sensitive appointment looming on the horizon. Completely out of character with some of the group, the riders stopped commenting on the state of the street trees (and the fact that one of their group may have failed a ‘caffeine test’ due to the rumoured wearing of a cycling accessory, which put the wind up more than one of our hardy bunch) and concentrated their thoughts instead on arriving at the second school St Faiths Primary on time where the Deputy Mayoress of Wandsworth would plant a cherry tree with the children. It was time for the second crocodile of the day to venture forward, as the older children led the young ones out into the playground.

Russell, sticking with his well prepared script, asked the children again how many trees they thought there were in London, and, to his mild astonishment, found that the answer was the same:-

INFINITY!!!! came the reply!

The be-chained Deputy Mayoress then broke the ground with her official spade, and everybody cheered. The tree officers Gavin Simmons (Hammersmith & Fulham), and Patrick Langley (Wandsworth) made sure that all procedures went well and the cycling convoy wound its way to lunch at Battersea Park, and then off to the Houses of Parliament for a talk on assessment of heritage trees by Mark Wadey.

Negotiating the precarious roads around Parliament Square, and with the necessary photos taken for perpetuity, our intrepid group finished the course and went straight to the pub; a pint on a sunny Kew Green.

Which surprised nobody.

By the way there are approximately 6.5 million trees in London, some say 8 million whilst others just say infinity!

The next Ride will coincide with the ICF Trees, People & the Built Environment II conference on 1st  April 2014.

Written by Sharon Hosegood

Riders: Russell Ball; Richard Barnes; Mick Boddy; David Challice; Tracy Clarke; Mike Connick; Dermot Cox; Ollie Coyne; Rebecca Farrar; Martin Gammie; Sharon Hosegood; Alvan Kingston; Karen Martin; Jonathan Mills; Tim Moya; Chris Rea; Jon Ryan; Oliver Stutter; Tom Thompson; Graham Underhill; Mark Wadey & Peter Wharton.

Thanks to Gavin Simmons (Tree Officer: Hammersmith & Fulham) and Patrick Langley (Tree Officer: Wandsworth) for organising tree planting with their contractors Advanced Tree Services and Ginkgo Landscapes. Also thanks to Karen Nolan for preparing the delicious packed-lunches.

Last but not least, many thanks to the event sponsors; Capita, City Suburban Tree Surgeons (T-shirts and lunches) and especially to Barcham Trees for the supply of the trees.


Riders taking part in the Ride for Research London 2013 event can now start their own fundraising page. Click on the button below.

Make a fundraising page for Ride for Research London 2013 with JustGiving

Help promote the London Ride for Research

Help promote the Ride for Research event on October 23rd by downloading this poster and displaying it in your workplace.

More riders are still wanted, for what will be a fantastic route from Kew Gardens to central London, and which is suitable for riders of all abilities (i.e. this is not a sporting event!).

Read more about the London Ride for Research event.

Ride for Research London. Download as a pdf poster and display prominently.
Ride for Research London 2013. Download as a pdf file and display the poster prominently.

Ride for Research branches out to St Paul’s Primary!

A great write up from Dumbarton Road Corridor Environment Trust about the 2013 Glasgow Ride for Research event.

We were recently contacted by an organisation called Fund 4 Trees about their Ride for Research annual cycling event held in the UK to raise funding to support sustainable treescapes, which this year was going to be held in Glasgow! rideforresearch-logo-final-cmyk

Ride for Research events are undertaken by professional arboriculturists, foresters and others who feel passionately about securing a future for our trees.

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Ride for Research 2013 event in Glasgow

A group of 14 cyclists enjoyed the clearest and brightest of spring days for the latest Fund 4 Trees Ride for Research on 30th April 2013. The event was meticulously planned by ride leader, Russell Ball and we enjoyed a circular route from the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The itinerary covered a cycle route of about 25 miles along the River Kelvin, Forth & Clyde Canal, Pollock Country Park and Kelvingrove Park and included taking in site along Glasgow’s Clyde Bank.

Planting with school children during the 2013 Ride for Research event at Glasgow
Planting with school children during the 2013 Ride for Research event at Glasgow

Cyclists included Fund 4 Trees trustees Mick Boddy, Martin Gammie, Russell Ball; Arboricultural Association Scottish Branch Chair, Paul Hanson; ICF Deputy Director, Russell Horsey; Arboricultural Association Trustee, Pete Wharton; amongst others from both AA and ICF. The event was timed to coincide with ICF’s National Conference, held in Glasgow on 1st & 2nd May.

En route, the riders visited three schools and planted a tree at each one. At the first school, St Paul’s Primary, we were welcomed with applause from the whole school. Glasgow’s Lord Provost joined us there to help plant the tree and the whole school entertained us by singing a song before we departed.

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On the way to the second school, we headed for the Clyde side docks area to take in views of the Tall Ship, Glenlee, a tea clipper. Passing iconic modern buildings including the Riverside Centre and the ‘Armadillo’ (Clyde Auditorium). We headed to the second of the three schools, where a plum was planted. This was the Bellahouston Academy  where the students seemed glad for the opportunity to enjoy some outdoor time in the spring sunshine. The school later invited Russell Ball back to talk to their 16 – 18 year old students about career opportunities in arboriculture!! Before departing, the team enjoyed lunch on the school field, which was provided by Russell Horsey, in advance of our departure for the final school.

Being ahead of time, we  managed  to stop off in a Country Park to visit the venerable Pollock Beech; a huge ancient stubby specimen of great character set atop a mound. The path to the tree meandered around some interesting specimen trees and rhododendrons in full flower.

For our third planting, we were once again welcomed by applause from the whole of St Alberts Primary School. A birch was planted whilst Russell gave his now familiar talk about the benefits that trees provide. The pupils shared their beautiful drawings of trees, many with exotic fruit and smiling birds in nests, with us. It was interesting but rather humbling to learn later from their headteacher, that many of the pupils at the school have very limited opportunity to play outdoors and that the school has an active gardening club, which aims to promote the enjoyment of being outdoors, learning to grow and care for plants or even just experience what it’s like to feel grass beneath your feet!! The children’s enthusiasm made it clear that the opportunity for them to be outdoors was a positive experience for them.

We then headed back for the Botanic Gardens through Kelvingrove Park for the final planting of the day. We were met there by the Botanic Gardens’ Curator to plant a Swamp oak (Quercus bicolor) and  ICF’s Emma Thompson who welcomed us  with bananas & chocolate biscuits to revive us after the final stretch, which included the steepest hill that we had tackled all day!!

And so…. Another Ride for Research ended with a quick debrief at the pub, located in a former church. There were strong affirmations that we’d all like to do it again and hopefully would meet next time on 23rd October at Kew Gardens.

This was a great day, with unbeatable spring weather, a brilliant route, which was scenic and achievable for all levels of fitness. There was good company and enthusiastic children, three more trees in Glasgow’s schools and a new one at the Botanic Gardens as well.

Many thanks to the event sponsors; Capita Symonds, City Suburban Tree Surgeons, Barcham Trees for the supply of the trees and to Russell Horsey for our lunches.

Lesley Adams and Mick Boddy

Thank you

To the riders: Lesley Adams; Mick Boddy; Mike Charkow; Matthew Cooper; Sharon Crawford; Martin Gammie; Paul Hanson; Russell Horsey; Sammi Jones; Alan Motion; Will Ritchie; Rob Sim and Pete Wharton. We raised over £1,500. Enough for three Fund4Trees (F4T) student bursaries or a substantial contribution towards a F4T £5,000 award for research project.

To our sponsors, Capita Symonds and City Suburban Tree Surgeons and of course the continued support of Barchams for their trees. In terms of the ride logistics, thanks also to Graeme Golding (Glasgow City Council Tree Officer), Stephen Herrington (Curator at Glasgow Botanic Gardens), Will Ritchie (Assistant Curator at Glasgow Botanic Gardens), Louise Henderson (PA to the Lord Provost), Dr Collin Little (Glasgow City Council Sustainability Officer), Allan Maclean (Glasgow City Council Cycling Officer) and Mark Irwin (Glasgow City Council Education Officer) who helped to make the ride possible. Last and by no means least thanks to Emma Thomson ICF Marketing Officer for her support.