June 15, 2013 Great Ohio Bike Adventure (GOBA)
GOBA is a week-long supported ride. It is organized by the Columbus Outdoor Pursuits and this year celebrated 25 years. GOBA attracts all sorts of cyclists, from speedy to slow and steady, from skinny too huge, from old to young. Some riders get up before dawn and are finished early and others take all day to finish the 50 miles (+or-) and enjoy the sites and rest stops. The rest stops provide food and drinks for the approximately 2,200 riders and are supplied by church groups, sports groups and even EMS stations. Some of the rest stops have music and entertainment. At the end of the day GOBAVILLE has been set up in City parks, schools grounds or County fairgrounds. The evening meal can be found at the various churches or schools or at any restaurant in the overnight Town. Basically, GOBA is a small travelling town. Over 2,000 cyclists descend on small Towns throughout Ohio and take over for an overnight rest stop or a two-night rest stop. Most of these Towns get a huge economic boost from GOBA. If every cyclist only eats at the Church supper (average price of dinner is $7.00 the economic spin-off from GOBA is a minimum of $14,000.00. All for the relatively cheap price of a school field or park.
GOBA is our first test with loaded panniers and bikes. The only thing we are not doing is carrying our Big Agnes tent. GOBA is an organized ride with SAG (support vans) carrying your stuff. We decided to carry all our stuff except Big Agnes and have an enjoyable week sleeping in our big tent with camp cots. The camp cots and the tent weigh about 45lbs, we are allowing the GOBA Sag wagon to carry that. We are carrying everything else: sleeping bags, thermarest mattresses and cot, our clothes and of course my Mac and power supply and cameras about 30lbs for me.
We had decided that GOBA would be a good test for us and it would change our normal cycling style from head down and going to stop and smell the roses.
Saturday June 15 2013 – Barrie to Urbana Ohio
We left home at 9:15 am and had a good drive down to Urbana and arrived at 5:15, we located the Dayton Ohio Cycling club van and set up our tent. The Dayton Ohio cycling club rent a Penske van for the week and carry the camping equipment of their club members and “guests”. They set up canopies and have drinks and snacks for us when we have finished each days ride. We also meet a lot of really nice people. If we didn’t join the Dayton Club our camping gear would be loaded on one of three tractor trailers. Instead of searching for our gear with over 2,000 other cyclists we only have to find our gear with 100 other cyclists.
Sunday June 16, 2013 – Urbana to Troy
Kms: 79.23 Time: 4:03:49 Elapsed Time: 5:35
It rained throughout the night and continued through most of the morning, we got wet but we didn’t mind too much as we are on holiday and it is GOBA. Four rest stops today. The first was at 8km and was at the Cedar Bog Historical association. If it hadn’t been raining we probably would have stopped and had a look at the information regarding the Cedar Bog, but it was raining and we didn’t want to get cold. The last section of the ride was along the Great Miami River Trail and parts of the old Miami Erie Canal. We passed an old section of the canal and we stopped and read the historic plaque and took photos.
The lunch stop had this fabulous school bus decked out with all manner of plants.
Ralf made us “license plates for the back of the bicycles – they say SweetCheeks and Mrs SweetCheeks – we have put our website blog address and a small Canadian flag. This allows people who are coming behind us to chat as we cycle along. It is a social ride. A couple of guys asked why we were fully loaded and Ralf told them we were in training for the Grand Adventure. They were fascinated. As was the lady who heard part of the conversation and then came along side me and asked more questions. It is a good way to start a conversation and that is what this ride is about – meeting new people.
In the evening we had a “church” supper at the American Legion – Spaghetti with vege sauce and salad for $7.50. We had a wonderful wander round the downtown area which had some great sculptures and Street furniture. The evening entertainment was an Eagles cover band.
Monday June 17 – Rest Day or a 50 mile loop to Dayton and back
Distance: 77.84 Time: 3:38 Elapsed Time: 4:00
We decided to take a ‘Rest day’ by cycling the 50 mile loop – without panniers.:) It was an out and back on the bike path – the Greater Miami River Trail. Ralf spotted two Grey Herons and I spotted a deer drinking in the river in the woods. Although we were supposed to be stopping and smelling the roses, this was an out and back and we had cycled part of the route yesterday, so we kinda reverted back to our old cycling style of pedaling and not stopping.
We got back to camp fairly early showered and then went downtown to check out the shops and more sculptures.
We met Barry and Anne – this is the couple who introduced us to GOBA in 2008 and the fact that the U.S. has some great week long touring rides. We hadn’t connected with them before on GOBA for a variety of reasons, last year they cycled the southern Tier of the US. We joined them for dinner at a nice restaurant. It was great catching up with them and telling them about our Grand Adventure. They were able to give us some tips on clothing and were very excited about our trip.
Ralf does take some great photographs, even with a little digital camera. We bought him a new smart compact camera for his birthday. He didn’t bring it on GOBA as he hadn’t had the chance to read all of the instructions. I can’t wait to see what photographs he can take with his new camera.
Tuesday June 18 – Troy to Greenville
Distance: 83.6 Time: 3:53 Elapsed Time: 5: 52
Today was a 52 mile route through rural Ohio. Primarily flat with a couple of rollers and ribbon roads. The route as always is very well signed and the rest stops were well stocked. Ralf got a flat tire so we had to fix that, lots of nice people asking if we were o.k and did we need a hand. Great people on GOBA.
The lunch rest stop was really busy and had hot “fast food” and a mile long line, we decided to skip it and head to the last rest stop which was only 10 miles (45 minutes). We hadn’t taken extra Cliff bars so we were risking it a bit. But we have done other rides without as much food as we are consuming on this ride, I figured we would be alright and we had enough water to keep us going.
It was getting hot as we arrived into Greenville (the end of the days ride) and there were several welcome groups one was a couple of girls playing the song “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. As we came into the school where we are camping tonight the High School cheerleading squad were doing a routine. An older couple were setting up their tent and the woman commented on the very cheerful-cheerleaders, the guy responded – “let them do 50 miles on a bike and see how chirpy they are after that”. I laughed.
Wednesday June 19, 2013 – Greenville to New Bremen
I forgot to reset my Garmin, so I don’t have the individual times for Wednesday and Friday
Today was a 57 mile route through more of rural Ohio. Similar terrain as yesterday, but windier out of the NNW and we were cycling north and west and very occasionally south (headwinds for 57 miles)!! It was a lovely day perfect temperature, a little cool to start off but soon warmed up to perfect temperature. I felt good, legs were good, shoulders were good, etc but I just wasn’t feeling right – couldn’t get into the rhythm. Ralf left me to my own thoughts and I decided it just didn’t start of right – no loo roll, no cold water, no oatmeal breakfast – pancakes again, I really didn’t want to catch my breakfast again, just didn’t start me off right. I even spotted two windmills and that didn’t brighten my day. Eventually, after a lovely lunch I brightened up, but it seemed like a long day. Ralf was wonderful – as he said there will be days like this on the Grand Tour. He is wonderful.
I think part of my discombobulation was due to the fact that I haven’t had any caffeine, and probably too much sugar as well.
Hills or headwinds asked a young boy as we passed him and his Dad (with the daughter on a tag-along). We both agreed that hills were better than headwinds, because you could see the end of a hill.
This is a great family ride, often there will be three generations riding together. A variety of bikes are used with tandems and and tag-alongs seeming to be the most popular.
Thursday June 20, 2013 – Rest Day
Thursday was a second scheduled rest day, or two loop options – a Century ride and a 50 mile loop. Ralf loves his century rides, so I decided that I would have the rest day. Which meant getting up at 7:30, having a relaxed breakfast, chatting to Richard and Beverley (from the Dayton Cycling club) and then going to the laundromat and getting the washing done. Very relaxed morning.
Another example of the great people on GOBA, – the Laundromat was served by one young woman who was a little overwhelmed by the amount of people that had descended on the Laundromat. Unfortunately the drains were a little overwhelmed as well and began to flood the floor – she tried to mop the floor and deal with the number of people but as I said she was on her own, so one GOBA cyclist took the mop from her, and started mopping, then another took over from that woman, then I started to wring the cloths out and another guy got a rubber mop and we managed to get the floor mopped and dried. Great people all helping out.
Ralf did the Century in record time. He hooked up with a couple of guys from Scarborough Ontario and kept up with them on his touring bike (no panniers) while they were on speedy road bikes. Mind you one of the guys was 74!
New Bremen also houses the American Bicycling Museum. After Ralf had showered and changed we went into New Bremen and spent a couple of hours in the Museum. Every variation of bike, it was great they even had a section of Raleigh bicycles. Apparently there was another bicycle company in Beeston called the Humber Bicycle Company which made Penny Farthings and they had an example of one.
We had a great meal at an Italian Restaurant, the waitress was lovely.
The Penny Farthing or High Wheeler
Friday June 21, 2013 New Bremen to Sidney
This was a lovely riding day. The weather was great not too hot, and lovely ribbon roads. It reminded me of the flatter areas of Pennysylvania, where the Amish farmed with horses. No horses plowing the fields here but very rural and quiet country roads. We stopped at a couple of the historic signs and read that the French had been in this area, but were kicked out by the British and the North American Indians. However, as we were getting close to the end of the ride we should have stopped at the remains of some canal locks but didn’t, I think they would have made some great photographs. We really have to work on slowing down.
The last night of GOBA we caught the shuttle bus into the Town and walked a few kilometres to the bike shop. The owner was surprised at how many cyclists managed to find him as he was out of the downtown core area. We had our evening meal at the Methodist Church – vege lasagna, salad and some great desserts and a drink for $7.00. As usual at GOBA you never sit on your own for long, someone will always join the table and start chatting.
Also on the last night the organizers present some facts and figures and there is the GOBA song contest. This is where participants will write a song about their week on GOBA or take the music from a well known and provide new lyrics – I particularly liked the little known Kenny Rogers song called “You took a Fine Time to Leave me Lose Wheel”. Very funny. We said our goodbyes to the wonderful people we met from the Dayton cycling club because we are not sure if we will see them tomorrow before we hit the road.
Saturday June 22 – Sidney to Urbana
Distance 66.57 kms Time: 3:05 Elapsed Time: 4:37
Breakfast is usually available in the ‘campground’ but there wasn’t any on the last morning. We had known about this so had a couple of granola bars and some water to start our morning. By the time we got to the first rest stop they had run out of almost everything so we shared some nuts with another Dayton cyclist and carried onto the next rest stop. I was hungry by this point, we stopped and had a good sandwich which kept us going until the end. At the end we loaded our bikes and luggage into our car, had a shower and after saying our farewells again to the Dayton people we were on the road by about 2:30.
Once again we didn’t stop to take photos during the ride – the Big Four Railroad Bridge leaving Sidney was an amazing large span railway bridge. It would have made a great photo in the early morning light. We really have to learn to stop!! Although in our defense after cycling 66 kms and then an 8 hour drive home, we needed to get the ride finished at a reasonable time. We will not have these deadlines on the Grand Adventure.
We told a lot of people about the Grand Adventure. Everyone was very excited for us and we hope they will follow the Blog.
As I was cycling on the last morning I turned to Ralf and whined I don’t want this to stop, I don’t want to go to work on Monday. But, I will go to work, we will save the money and this time next year we will be on the Grand Adventure.