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GOBA to bring thousands of bicyclists to Coshocton

| January 31, 2014

COSHOCTON – Thousands of bicyclists will roll through Coshocton this summer and there is still plenty of time to join them on their ride or be part of the committee that is planning to welcome them.

The 26th Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) will take place Saturday, June 14 through Saturday, June 21. It starts and ends in Mansfield, but the leisure bike tour of Ohio also includes a two-day stop in Coshocton on Monday and Tuesday, June 16-17.

“Coshocton has been in GOBA’s history for many years,” said Julie Van Winkle, director of the event. “It has great roads and wonderful things to see and do. In the past, we also have received a warm welcome and the support of the community.”

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.

Van Winkle was recently in town to work with Jan Myers, director of the Coshocton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, on plans for GOBA’s 2014 stop in Coshocton.

The bicyclists will camp at Lake Park and be provided with opportunities to explore the area.

“We provide a budget for entertainment and things like bus shuttles around town,” Van Winkle said.

GOBA also encourages area nonprofits to use its stops in towns as an opportunity to raise funds by selling food and beverages to the riders, since they are responsible for their meals.

“We are in the beginning stages of our plans, but we know we want the bicyclists to see Roscoe Village, the canal boat and possibly do a tour of Annin,” Myers said. “We also want to have activities downtown at the library and musical entertainment at various venues.”

The events they plan will be geared toward a variety of ages.

“We have a lot of families take part in GOBA,” Van Winkle said.

She also said that about 20 percent of the participants are under the age of 20 and there are usually several hundred people age 75 and older.

The riders also come from all over.

“Seventy to 75 percent of them are from Ohio, but we also get people from at least 40 other states, Canada, Nova Scotia and even Switzerland,” Van Winkle said.

GOBA participants bike about 50 miles a day, but are not responsible for hauling their own gear. Semi trucks are loaded up with luggage and camping supplies and meet the bicyclists at each of their stops.

More than 2,000 people are expected to pack their bags and peddle their way through Ohio.

“GOBA is basically a week-long biking and camping tour of Ohio,” Van Winkle said. “The route takes you on back roads that are usually less traveled, but the most scenic.”

Participants also are encouraged to take their time to enjoy Ohio’s landscape and unique attractions in the towns GOBA schedules stops at.

“It’s not a race,” Van Winkle said. “We just ask that you be in the next town by 5 p.m.”

Riders are required to wear helmets, but a certain type of bike or clothes made for biking are not necessary.

“The cheaper bikes usually don’t make it because the ride is hard on them,” Van Winkle said. “I’ve also found that having the right seat to fit your structure is critical.”

Bikers also don’t need to worry about getting lost. Temporary paint is used to put arrows on roads, paper maps are available and so are GPS downloadable ones. Volunteers also are along the route to help corral the riders.

To receive information on GOBA and the cost to participate, call 614-273-0811, visit www.goba.com or e-mail [email protected]. The deadline to register for GOBA is Wednesday, May 14.

Anyone interested in volunteering to assist GOBA participants during their stay in Coshocton can contact Myers at 622-4877. Her co-chair is Amy Hasseman and they are in the process of organizing several committees.

“We are excited and thrilled that they are coming back for two nights,” Myers said. “It’s a real positive for Coshocton and plus it’s a cool thing to walk down Main Street and see bikes everywhere.”

She also is looking forward to playing with GOBA’s 2014 theme, “Take a Ride on the Wild Side!”

“It’s up for interpretation,” Van Winkle said. “We invite each town to expand on the idea and do something with the theme.”

Myers is ready for the challenge.

“I’m sure we can come up with something ‘wild’ in Coshocton,” she said.

Myers also is hoping that many of the out of town bicyclists will want to come back to Coshocton after learning about all it has to offer.

“Hopefully they will return to see everything they weren’t able to,” she said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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