Monday, November 20th, 2006
GOBA bicyclists will return to Celina
By Janie Southard
Look out, Celina. A few thousand cyclists will breeze into town next Father's Day weekend for the start of the 19th annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA).
Julie Van Winkle, director the the 2007 tour, announced today the route for the 50-mile per day, week-long bike trek through northwest central Ohio.
According to Van Winkle's press release, the group starts from Celina on Sunday morning and spends Sunday night in Van Wert, Monday and Tuesday nights in Wapakoneta, then it's Wednesday and Thursday in Troy, Versailles on Friday and back to Celina on Saturday.
The 2007 ride marks the third time Celina has been selected as a GOBA host town, the first two occurring in 1994 and 1998. Once again, they'll camp at the Mercer County Fairgrounds.
"This is a great honor to be selected again as host city. It shows the people of Celina appreciate this bicycle adventure," said Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue. "Healthwise I think cycling is great, which is one reason I'm a great proponent of the bike paths we're looking at around the city."
The GOBA director stated the terrain in western Ohio is hospitable making this event a real draw for families wanting a great vacation together.
Van Winkle also pointed out Ohio as a state is a "cyclist's dream ... with quiet back roads and rail trails coupled with surprising attractions tucked into welcoming corners."
Late afternoon on June 16, at least 1,500 cyclists are expected to ride around town in various costumes.
"Usually there's a family of fish, people in chicken hats, clowns; but, everyone has to incorporate their helmet into their costume," said Celina Coordinator Laura Walker, of Montezuma, who has participated in eight GOBA rides. Walker and her younger sister, Rachel Smedley, rode in the 1994 ride in Celina when Smedley was only 7 years old.
"This is the biggest family bike tour in the world with children making up more than 20 percent of our riders," Walker said.
The big parade will come Sunday morning (June 17) when 3,000 cyclists, full of energy foods such as spaghetti and pancakes, ride out of the fairgrounds toward Van Wert via a little dip into Indiana.
And then they're off on their great adventure, which winds up back at the Mercer County Fairgrounds on June 23.