Bowling Green’s population will swell by more than 2,700 people next week when the swarm of bikers in the
Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure establishes a temporary village at the Wood County Fairgrounds.
GOBA will kick up its bike stand and embark on the organization’s 21st state tour this month with about
2,700 participants, ranging in age from 2 to 88. This week-long, 300-mile cycling tour will trek across
Northwest Ohio and set up overnight camps in Norwalk, Elmore, BG, Defiance and Fostoria. The regional
cycling odyssey, scheduled for June 20-27, will commence with a parade on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in
downtown Norwalk and the pack will pedal its way into BG on Tuesday.
The riders will cycle about 45-60 miles per day from town to town and spend the night at a variety of
fairgrounds, schools and parks throughout their journey, which begins on Father’s Day weekend. Along the
way, the group will find opportunities to shop and eat and to take in the cultural and entertainment
offerings at each destination.
BG, for example, plans to offer the riders a variety of musical performances, food vendors and children’s
activities. A shuttle from the camp site to downtown BG will also help the riders experience the breadth
of dining and shopping opportunities that are available in town.
"I think we have a lot for people to do," said Wendy Stram, Bowling Green Convention and
Visitors Bureau director. "We are very privileged to have something as nice as the Wood County
Fairgrounds to host events as well as be the home of Bowling Green State University, which is where it
has been previously held. So I think the addition of our beautifully renovated downtown – it just makes
for a nice afternoon."
Many of the riders know what to expect since they are repeat participants, she said.
"This is like their vacation, and they spend their week participating in this year after year."
About 75 percent of GOBA riders come from Ohio, said Julie Van Winkle, GOBA director. The tour
additionally is comprised of riders from 41 states, as well as China, Japan and Canada. Registration is
up this year by about 200 riders, she said. The registration deadline was June 3.
Although riders of every age routinely participate, she said, GOBA recommends at least some light
endurance training. Because while this region has few hills, she said, the strong winds will create some
resistance for riders.
Winkle said she wanted to bring GOBA back to BG – a previous destination on the tour, which covers a
different Ohio region from year to year – because of the city’s permanent entertainment areas, its
restaurants and university and its dedicated committees that work to provide the riders with special
The tour will depart Elmore for Bowling Green on Tuesday. The riders will follow Brim Road south into the
fairground gates that afternoon. The first group likely will arrive sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
and almost all riders will make the trip into BG by 3.
Dave Pickering, who owns Cycle Werks in BG, will provide mechanical support for riders on the tour.
Pickering has participated in the tour for the past 15 years, with the exception of the last three
tours. The bike shop owner said he was "bummed out" about missing the experience in recent
years and wanted to once again join the traveling surge of fellow cyclists.
"It’s a very family-oriented event, so most people can just imagine going out for a little bike
ride," he said. "And that’s basically what it is only it’s day after day for a week."
More information about GOBA and the tour route is available online at www.goba.com.