EATON — Eaton and Oxford will be featured stops for the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) this summer, bringing approximately 2,500 bicyclists to camp overnight in the cities.
GOBA hasn’t included Preble County or Oxford since 1998.
Preble Trails, a local pro-cycling group and sub-committee of the Preble County Youth Foundation, is taking the lead role for the Preble County portion of the ride and was happy to announce the opportunity for Eaton to be a host for the cycling adventure.
Heidi Bortel, chair of Preble Trails, is the “Town Coordinator,” in Eaton and is working with city officials and other businesses and organizations to support the event.
GOBA participants will be staying on the grounds of the Eaton High/Middle School campus on June 19.
“It stimulates the economy. It’s fun. It gives outsiders a chance to experience the quaintness, the businesses and the friendliness of Eaton and our cool school grounds,” Bortel said earlier this year. “We have an awesome facility that they will be able to use. Our boosters (Eaton Athletic) have just been really, really energetic about this.”
She said Preble Trails is excited for the adventure to include the county.
“We’re really excited about GOBA coming this summer because it is going to bring a lot of new faces to Preble County and we want to be good hosts,” Bortel said. “We want to open up our town and just show them the good folks we have here, the good businesses. We want to make it a really good experience. It’s basically 24 hours to show them what a great place Eaton is.”
GOBA riders will have a chance to ride across some of Preble County’s historic covered bridges, and through the newest one at Hueston Woods. The camping site at Eaton High/Middle School is located just a quarter mile from historic Fort St. Clair. On the school campus, school booster clubs will offer a variety of refreshments and services, and “The Bug Guy” will present his show. Exotic animals will also make a visit to the campground site. Preble County Historical Society will be open,, and is offering an “elegant evening dinner” from 6-8 p.m. Reservation for the special dinner is $60/personn or $115/couple and is due by June 1.
GOBA riders will have three boarding options in Oxford — sleeping at one of the six local hotels, camping outside Millett Hall, or staying in a Miami Dorm.
According to Oxford Visitors Bureau officials, bikers will be able to “mosey uptown to enjoy the historic shopping district full of boutique shops, local coffee shops and pubs, listen to music in the parks,” and more.
There will also be a “Tall Bike Parade” in Oxford on Monday, June 20. On Tuesday, GOBA riders can enjoy a tour of Miami’s campus, and enjoy square dancing at the Oxford Community Art Center with the Old Time Jericho Band.
Bill Gordon, director of this 28th annual GOBA, said the tour will take place June 18-25 and will feature a route in the southwestern quadrant of Ohio.
Gordon said GOBA moves to a different area of the state each year.
The expected 2,500 riders will start gathering for the tour on Saturday, June 18, at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Hamilton. They will begin cycling on Sunday, June 19, covering an average of 50 miles per day, and will overnight in Eaton on Sunday, Oxford on Monday and Tuesday, Brookville on Wednesday, Miamisburg on Thursday and Friday, and will return to Hamilton on Saturday, June 25.
“This is not a race. This is a recreational ride,” Gordon said. “We would love for the community to get involved. Part of what these riders want to do is see a town they’ve never seen before. They want to see what Eaton’s all about.”
Some of the many attractions featured on this tour include Hamilton’s Victorian Gothic octagon house, sculpture parks, Preble County’s numerous covered bridges, Kings Island and Soak City, Hueston Woods State Park, Pioneer Farm Museum, Miami University campus, McGuffey Reader museum, Miami Whitewater Trail, Great Miami River Trail, a boat cruise on the Ohio River, Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center, Carillon Park, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Miamisburg Mound, and other historic sites, art museums, and nature areas.
The fun-filled week will include the traditional bicycle parade and the gala opening ceremonies in Hamilton; family-oriented entertainment each night; two layover days offering bicycle loops of 50- or 100-miles; optional excursions; and the ever-popular GOBA Song Contest.
“This year’s theme, ‘GOBA-28 – It’s Outta This World!’ fits the tour perfectly. Besides the fact that many activities and attractions feature aerospace, our route will also be taking us to places and territory that GOBA has not visited in the past 27 years,” Gordon said.
Held annually in June, GOBA features bicycle touring at a leisurely pace, for approximately 50 miles per day for one week. This will be the 28th year for GOBA. The tour is owned and organized by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, a non-profit organization, for the benefit of bicycle-related projects in Ohio. In 2015, 2,000 people from 38 states; the District of Columbia; Canada (Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario), Japan, Sweden and Australia, took part in the tour. Included in this number were many families: nearly 20 percent of the participants are children traveling with their parents, making GOBA the largest family-oriented bicycle tour in the world.
Over the past 27 years GOBA has been instrumental in generating nearly $10 million in tourism revenues in the towns along the route, as well as in providing access to Ohio’s rural treasures to people from all over the country.
“GOBA riders are constantly surprised at what a wonderful state Ohio is for bicycling. Our wonderful back roads, charming communities, and great parks and historical sites make it perfect for bicycle touring,” Gordon said.
Those interested in receiving registration information and tour details can request a brochure by calling 614-273-0811, or by visiting the website at www.goba.com. Advance registration is required with a deadline of May 18.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.