Beginning today, hundreds of bicyclists from around Ohio and the country will converge on Findlay. They’ll set up camp at the Hancock County Fairgrounds and, come early Sunday morning, will set out on the first stage of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), a weeklong bike tour of North Central Ohio.
This year’s event, the 29th, starts and ends here.
Those riders who complete each leg will average 50 miles a day while visiting communities like Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Bellefontaine, and Kenton and pass through smaller ones along the way.
Many of the miles will be spent crossing the mostly flat farmlands of rural Ohio — on two-lane county roads. Especially for those who come from cities, it should be a peaceful ride.
Riders who do the entire loop will arrive back in Findlay next Saturday after traveling between 271 and 431 miles.
Findlay has been the host city for GOBA once before, in 2005. That year, a total of 3,002 participated. This year’s version, which has a “Wizard of Oz” theme, was limited to the first 1,500 who registered.
It’s a tough time to get around Findlay with road construction projects seemingly everywhere, but we would hope residents roll out the red carpet to welcome our cycling visitors.
Many GOBA participants will be doing more than parking and camping at the fairgrounds. They will be exploring Findlay, our restaurants, bars and other businesses.
It’s been estimated that GOBA has an annual economic impact of about $600,000 to local businesses and nonprofit groups during the week it’s held each summer.
GOBA provides host communities with some funding for camping logistics, transportation, emergency planning, housing, food and entertainment.
Riders pay a $300 fee to participate in the tour, pay for their own food, and provide tips to those who move their gear from campsite to campsite. For many, GOBA is a vacation.
Although bike riders always deserve motorists’ attention, it’s especially important this week to remember that they have a right to the road. GOBA stresses safety and provides training classes for riders.
Both coming and going, let’s give our guests plenty of space to operate safely so they can get to their next destination.
Welcome, GOBA! Enjoy the week discovering the best parts of Ohio, including Findlay and Hancock County.
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