Gobble, gobble go the bikes

Gobbler Gives Bike Tour puts meals on wheels

By Lisa Bennett

Photo: The Gobbler Gives Bike Tour takes place on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Adventures on the Great Miami facility in Troy

On Saturday, Nov. 21, a throng of intrepid volunteers will deliver donated food to Foodbank Dayton on their bicycles. Possibly dressed as fowl. Yes, you read that right. Bicyclists dressed in turkey costumes and/or on decorated bikes will pack their bikes with loads of food and travel 17 miles from Tipp City to Dayton to make this very special delivery.

Gobbler Gives Bike Tour was the brainchild of Tom Helbig, owner of Tomfoolery Outdoors.

Helbig is one of those exceptional, rare people dedicated to helping improve the lives of others. His personal life mantra, which has also become the mission for his company, is “to encourage folks to live active, laugh more and inspire all.”

“My company creates events, promotions and life gear that pushes that mantra forward,” Helbig adds.

His compassion for others and deep love of sports, recreation and the outdoors led him to work with Special Olympics for nine years and Five Rivers MetroParks for seven years before founding his own company. Today, his company not only sells outdoor gear, but also puts on a number of events each year to benefit the community.

“Every event I have has a nonprofit organization that we give a percentage of the proceeds to,” Helbig says.

When asked how he came up with the idea for the bike tour, Helbig says, “I love to ride bikes. I travel by bike, I use it for exercise, I use it for daily errands and I really wanted to do a biking event.

“When I started to think about my company mantra and life mantra, the ‘live active,’ which includes the biking, the ‘laugh more,’ being kind of goofy and fun and irreverent, that kind of led me down the path of doing something goofy on a bicycle,” he continues. “And then the ‘inspire all’ part of it leads me to supporting nonprofit organizations with all of my events. I had some friends who worked at a foodbank, so I cooked up the idea that what if we did a foodbank delivery by bicycle?”

Helbig approached the Foodbank of Dayton last year, and as synchronicity would have it, a few of the volunteer members just happened to be into biking.

“I personally wore a turkey costume for the event,” Helbig laughs. “I would really like that spirit to evolve, where people dress up in costumes and decorate their bikes.”

The event last year created a long-term relationship between the foodbank and Tomfoolery Outdoors.

“I love the work of the foodbank,” Helbig says, “and they’ve definitely embraced Tomfoolery Outdoors because we’re doing good things in a fun, irreverent way that catches people’s attention and raises awareness about [what] the needs of people in our are and the difference we can all make with just a few dollars or a simple food donation.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit isn’t to the food pantry at all, however. The messages that this event sends, not just about helping others or thinking outside the box, but also about health, fitness and helping the environment are astounding. Even more, the bridges that are being created between the community and businesses, between members of the community in the form of lasting friendships and of the community with those in need will last well beyond the event, perhaps even for a lifetime. To think that a single, fun event can make such a difference in people’s lives really does take your breath away.

The Gobbler Gives Bike Tour takes place on Saturday, Nov. 21. Riders meet to load their bikes at The Adventures on the Great Miami facility located at 1945 Ross Rd. in Tipp City. Registration is $55 and closes at noon on Nov. 18. Post-ride party only registration is $15. For more information or to register, please call 937.417.2228 or visit tomfooleryoutdoors.bigcartel.com/product/gobbler-gives-bike-tour.

Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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