Volunteers helped make cyclists welcome in BG

Lines were forming in GOBAville Tuesday afternoon, for what cyclists considered essential services:
showers, massages and information.
The Wood County Fairgrounds was teaming with cyclists of all ages by 2 p.m., as riders rolled into
Bowling Green from Pemberville and Perrysburg and points in between. Those not in other lines waited to
hop a school bus for a trip to the pool at City Park, to the restaurants downtown or to the Rec Center
at Bowling Green State University.
A high priority was cooling down and relaxing after the 54-mile ride this morning from Elmore via
Pemberville and Perrysburg.
As the mercury crept above 85, 13-year-old Kelly Spray was hawking lemonade to collect enough money to
provide a pizza party for the massage therapists traveling this year’s route. CLICK
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PHOTOS“We
picked a good day to do it, of course, because it’s hot out,” she said as she sat under a tent.
Twelve licensed massage therapists had their tables set up under a large tent, and coordinator Evonne
Herkert assigned waiting cyclists to available masseuses.
Herkert, a member of the American Massage Therapy Association, said she’s been organizing the “massage
gypsies” for GOBA for the past 19 years. A resident of Cincinnati, she uses AMTA contacts as well as
members of the former National Sports Massage Team to find licensed massage therapists each year.
The group travels the GOBA route and sets up its tent at each overnight stop. A line was forming to have
the therapists work out tired and strained muscles at $15 for each 15 minutes.
Richard Swesshelm, of Westerville, has provided his services for five years, and added there were
counterparts from Grand Rapids, Cincinnati and Athens who also joined the crew this year.
Herkert kept track of clients and paid the massage therapist, who also accepted tips.
Kim Jacobs, of Columbus, roused herself from the relaxing massage to share she was traveling with 11
other bikers and this was her fourth GOBA.
Parked just a couple dozen feet away were two semi-tractor trailers converted to shower stalls, with
hoses hooked to nearby fire hydrants. A men’s and women’s line formed at each truck. Those wanting a
quick wash had available sinks and mirrors, and that’s where 74-year-old George Schoebe, of Windsor,
Ontario, Canada, was using a shaving brush to cover his whiskers with soap.
“I’m old-fashioned, I guess,” he said when asked about his older-style shaving equipment.
Members of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, as well as the Chamber of the Commerce and
GOBA volunteers, worked to make sure visitors found the services they needed for their overnight stay.
Bowling Green Parks and Rec also had its food trailer available, with hot sandwiches and chips, for
those who didn’t want to travel into town.
Wednesday morning, cyclists are invited to partake in a Chris Cakes pancake breakfast, or take a
grab-and-go meal provided by the Friends of the Library before heading to Grand Rapids. Tuesday night,
the Bowling Green High School volleyball team served a spaghetti dinner as a fundraiser.
Other local organizations also rolled out the welcome mat, including the first Presbyterian Church, which
provided an ice cream social and strawberry shortcake.