GOBA participants explore Coshocton

| June 18, 2014

COSHOCTON – Thousands of people participating in GOBA rolled into town last week to take a rest from pedaling across Ohio’s back roads.

The 26th Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) took place June 14-21. It started and ended in Mansfield, but the leisure bike tour of Ohio also included a two-day stop in Coshocton June 16-17.

“I enjoy riding a bike for a week and being laid back and relaxed,” said Larry Steele of Akron, who has taken part in GOBA since it started.

GOBA is an annual event organized by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits that tries to expose bicyclists to different parts of Ohio. Coshocton was included on the tour in 1992, 1999, and 2008.

“I like the music food and people here in Coshocton,” Steele said.

While in town, the bicyclists camped at Lake Park and were provided with opportunities to explore the area and attractions like the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, which transformed its special exhibit gallery into the All-Ohio Brew Gallery. Bicyclists were able to enjoy beer from the Millersburg Brewing Company and explore the Advertising Art of Coshocton exhibit.

“We did this exhibit 11 years ago, but we didn’t have nearly this volume (of items),” said Joe Kreitzer, who helped curate the exhibit.

The room is covered from floor to ceiling with trays, signs and calendars that were made in Coshocton from 1890 – 1950 and advertised everything, including beer.

“Back in the 1980s everybody had this stuff in their homes,” Kreitzer said. “I hope people see this and realize that advertising art is a big part of our (local) industrial history. Back in 1927 there were at least 700 people employed by American Art Works.”

On Tuesday, June 17, riders were treated to a lunch and a presentation at the REACT Memorial Park in Roscoe Village. Medbery Marketplace provided a lunchmeat and vegetable sandwich, chips, fruit, and chocolate. They also received gift bags from Roscoe after the luncheon.

“We’ve interacted with them a lot the last couple of days,” said Debbie McDonald, marketing/public relations manager of Roscoe Village. “They are fantastic. They love to do things, so we’re offering them a lot.”

Local historian Chris Hart gave a presentation about the history of the canals, and then made an appearance as Captain John B. Reynolds, a canal boat captain.

GOBA also gave local nonprofits an opportunity to raise money by selling food to the riders. One local group, The Friends of the Parks, teamed up with Chris Cakes for pancake breakfasts on the mornings of Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17-18 at Lake Park Pavilion.

“Our goal is to help a local organization raise funds and have fun while doing it,” said Hal Epler from Chris Cakes. “We throw pancakes to the kids and do things like let the adults catch them behind their back or between their legs. It’s not just a standard cafeteria line where you get food slapped on your plate.”

The group also loves to tease people.

“We’ve been seeing some of these people for 20 some years so we can take it as much as we give it out,” Epler said.

Chris Cakes, which is based out of Columbus, has participated in GOBA since the beginning and traditionally tries to setup where ever the riders camp and partner with a local nonprofit.

“We go all over the state of Ohio and primarily do fundraisers,” Epler said. “We bring everything. You just have to provide us with lights, water, electricity and a few helpers.”

The breakfasts by Chris Cakes were open to GOBA participants and the community, which the bicyclists enjoy interacting with.

“I like seeing all the different towns and checking out the small businesses and eating at the mom and pop diners,” said Nathan Obral. “You can lose track of time at the places you stop at along the way.”

The Avon resident is on his third GOBA trip.

“You’re also always bound to ride with the nicest people,” Obral said.

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