Hallie Dozier, Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 1/28/2009 8:34:29 PM
A community meeting to plan Vélo Dendro S, a leisurely bicycle tour of Shreveport’s most significant trees, brought law enforcement, elected officials, bike club members and representatives of the LSU AgCenter to Columbia Café Jan. 20.
The LSU AgCenter and Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets (B.R.A.S.S.) will bring the event to Shreveport in the fall, likely Nov. 7.
Riders – amateur and experienced, young and old – will enjoy the camaraderie of a slow, easy, fun bike ride on the streets of Shreveport, said Shreveport native Dr. Hallie Dozier, an urban forester with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. She has put on the event six times in Baton Rouge.
“This fun and information-filled ride encourages and supports the growth of bicycling and healthier living in Shreveport and Caddo Parish,” Dozier said.
The ride will cover approximately 15 miles in Highland, South Highlands and Broadmoor, with frequent stops along the way to look at special trees.
Dozier said riders will learn why the Osage orange tree is also called Bois d’Arc and they will be treated to a visit to the Louisiana State Champion sycamore tree at A.C. Steere Elementary School. Dozier attended Steere, Broadmoor and Byrd schools and graduated from Centenary College in 1982.
Dozier also will answer other questions, such as:
-- Why do cypress trees have knees?
-- Is Spanish moss really a moss?
-- Why does the power company have to prune the trees so severely?
-- Where is the best place to plant a tree?
-- What kind of tree should I plant?
-- What’s the best tree to plant where storms strike?
-- How do I take care of my trees?
In addition to getting the scoop on local trees, riders will be given basic instruction on good cycling etiquette, hand and voice signals and other road safety tips.
Loren Demerath of A Better Shreveport and a faculty member at Centenary College said his group will facilitate in the planning of the event with blogging and maps.
A Better Shreveport is hoping to make the city “a more walkable, bikable place,” Demerath said. “Some of us are hoping this could lead to painting our first bike lanes in Shreveport by way of painting the tour route.”
The cost of the tour will be $15 for each rider, which includes a commemorative tee shirt, educational materials from the LSU AgCenter and posters of native trees. Children 5 and under are free but must ride on their parents’ bicycles. Children 14 and under must wear a helmet.
Water, snacks and rider support will be provided along the route. Also included in the tour fee are post-ride refreshments and music hosted by Columbia Café on Creswell Avenue.
“I think it will be wonderful,” said Monty Walford, Shreveport city councilman.
Anyone interested in attending the next bike tour meeting, which has not yet been scheduled, may contact Dozier at (225) 281-3264.