More than a thousand bike riders from across the country will visit Port Clinton in June for the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. Port Clinton High School will become the first location in GOBA’s 31-year history to host a three-night stay.
Cyclists will begin arriving on Monday, June 17, and will depart on Thursday morning, June 20.
GOBA is a noncompetitive event that is billed as a fun, family oriented activity for cyclists of all ages. It seeks to promote bicycle tourism in Ohio by highlighting a different region of the state each year. GOBA registration includes tent camping at the host sites, but many riders opt for hotels or other lodging.
The 2019 tour is expected to draw 1,200 to 1,500 cyclists from about 40 states and several countries, according to GOBA Director Jeff Pierron of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, the nonprofit organization organizing the ride.
Port Clinton is the second stop on a route that begins in Bowling Green, where riders will gather Saturday, June 15, before pedaling the next day to Fremont. They’ll continue to Port Clinton and Oregon before returning to Bowling Green on June 22 to complete a large loop.
The visit to Port Clinton will be the fourth for GOBA, which came to Bataan Middle School in 1996 and PCHS in 1996 and 2005. The three-night stay in 2019 means that GOBA riders will have two “layover” days in Port Clinton, when they’ll have choice of riding optional routes, visiting local sites or just relaxing.
“Port Clinton is the ideal place for GOBA to test this new format,” Pierron said. “Our riders have a wide range of ages and interests. The diverse attractions and natural beauty of Port Clinton, the Marblehead peninsula and the Lake Erie Islands offer something for everyone.”
Food and activities will be available to cyclists in the ”GOBAville” camp at PCHS. Or they can ride bikes, walk or take shuttle buses to dining, entertainment, shopping, lodging and other activities.
“Spending by GOBA riders can have a significant economic impact on a community,” Pierron said. “Town coordinator Weston Strayer of the Lake Erie Islands & Shores visitors bureau will be instrumental in spreading word about GOBA to local businesses and rounding up volunteer groups.”
Pierron said Principal Gary Steyer and his PCHS staff also have been welcoming. He said the high school offers lots of green space for tent camping and indoor areas for activities. The school also has plenty of parking for GOBA’s traveling entourage of shower trucks, luggage trucks, medical vehicles, ham radio operators, bike mechanics, staff and others.
For community groups, GOBA’s visit offers fundraising opportunities to feed riders, provide entertainment and shuttle luggage in camp, Pierron said.
Strayer and the visitors bureau are recruiting residents to lead committees such as food, emergency planning, entertainment and information. The committees will begin assembling volunteers in early 2019.
To learn more about GOBA or register to ride, visit goba.com.
Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, founded in 1939, is a volunteer-based participatory organization created to provide opportunities and education for outdoor recreation. Activities include bicycling, flat- and whitewater boating and backpacking. COP’s events include the Tour of the Scioto River Valley, which began in 1962 and is the oldest bicycling tour in North America.