ASTORIA — In less than two weeks, an estimated 32,000 cyclists will roll through Astoria Park, a stopping point on the annual Five Boro Bike Tour — and this year the ride will look a little greener.
The trees — a mix of red maples, tuliptree, eastern white pine and other species — were planted with funding from the Greening Western Queens Fund and are part of Bike New York's efforts to make its annual bike tour as eco-friendly as possible.
"This is our major rest stop, right here in Astoria park," said Bike New York president Kenneth Podziba. "They welcome us with open arms every year, and it's really gratifying to give back and do something nice for the park."
Bike New York is in the process of being certified as sustainable by the Council for Responsible Sport, which recognizes and certifies environmentally and socially responsible events.
When its certification is complete, the Five Boro Bike Tour will be the first sporting event in city and the second cycling event in the country to earn the honor.
In addition to the tree planting, the bike tour makes use of things like recyclable bike plates, rider identification bibs and reusable helmet covers.
Bike New York partners with GrowNYC and the NYC Compost Project to compost at least 60 percent of waste produced by the event, and works with NYC Water to provide drinking water at rest stops and water stations along the tour route in lieu of using plastic bottled drinks.
"We're doing everything humanly possible to become as sustainable as possible," Podziba said. "We want to be an example."
The Five Boro Bike Tour will roll through the city on May 4. While standard and VIP registration is sold out, interested cyclists can still ride on behalf of one of Bike New York's charity partners. More information can be found here.