June 2, 2011
The 2011 Great Ohio Bike Adventure is set to begin on June 18, and Delaware County is gearing up for the bike tour’s arrival.
Currently entering its 23rd year of operation, the Great Ohio Bike Adventure (GOBA) is a week-long bicycle tour that spans several counties and passes through dozens of cities.
This year, Delaware will act as host to more than 2,500 riders expected to attend the tour during an extended stay on June 20 and 21. Starting the tour in Kenton in Hardin County, GOBA riders will ride from town to town, normally taking food and water breaks every 15 miles.
Corporate and charity sponsors such as Bob Evans will provide complimentary food and water bottles to the riders during scheduled stops on the tour route. Riders will stay in various towns along the route by night.
Debbie Shatzer, executive director of the Delaware County Convention and Visitors Bureau, expects the crowd of riders to positively impact the economic and cultural climate of the city during the tour’s two-day layover in Delaware. Shatzer has been working closely with GOBA organizers and town committee heads to prepare the town for the influx of visitors.
Shatzer also said the other committee heads plan to organize live music, food and assorted entertainment in downtown Delaware during the tour’s stay in town. She described the preparations for the GOBA tour as “a pretty big undertaking.”
“It’s nice to know you’re going to have that many guests for that many days and that businesses will benefit from it,” Shatzer said. “We look forward to having them. I think it’s going to be wonderful exposure for the town.”
Officials from GOBA’s administrative structure estimate that riders participating in the tour will spend a collective average of up to $100,000 on food, entertainment and lodging per 24-hour period. This estimate includes not only time spent by riders in longer-term layover towns, but short stops in towns along the route as well. This estimate also accounts for an optional side-trip through Sunbury, Galena and Kilbourne.
Local riders are also working hard to prepare for the tour.
Powell resident Andy Musilli plans to ride in the GOBA with his 13 year-old son Michael. This father and son team has ridden five GOBA tours in the past seven years, and the two are training hard in order to endure the 60-mile rides they’ll face this year. Musilli said he and his son have been riding 18 to 30-mile circuits near their home over the past few weeks.
“If you can do 30 miles in one sitting, you can do 60 miles in a day,” Musilli said. “A little practice goes a long way.”
Musilli said he enjoys riding in the GOBA because it gives him the opportunity to explore a wide variety of Ohio locales firsthand.
“The nice thing about GOBA, in my opinion, is that a lot of these cities that you see from the freeway, you see signs for them from the freeway, now you get a chance to really stop and see what the cities are all about,” Musilli said. “And the cities really come out and put on the dog for us. They love that we come through, they want to show us what they’re all about.”
Michael, who has been riding without training wheels since before the age of three, also expressed excarticleent for the scenic country roads and the chance to see new places.
“It’s been fun every single year, just riding around seeing new places,” Michael said.
Seeing the GOBA tour as both an athletic adventure and a bonding experience, Musilli said he is looking forward to the tour as an escape from everyday life.
“I just like getting away from the routine. Away from our daily routine and the work routine,” Musilli said. “It’s good to get away from the rat race for a while.”