The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure lands in Miamisburg

By Matt Clevenger

It’s a reunion more than 20 years in the making, as the city of Miamisburg prepares to welcome an estimated 2,000 riders from the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24.

“There will be over 2,000 people,” Downtown Development Coordinator Katie Frank says. “They arrive Thursday morning and throughout the afternoon, and they will be here for two days.”

Riders will camp at the Miamisburg Middle School, and shuttle buses will transport them downtown. Local merchants are planning a wide range of special GOBA-themed activities, and the festivities will also include two nights of free community-wide concerts at Riverfront Park.

“We’ll have school buses, and we’ll have a shuttle route planned out,” Frank says. “It will drop them off at certain locations. We’ll have the pool as a stop, and some amenities like Kroger. Then we’ll take them downtown, where the merchants will be holding a variety of activities.

“GOBA’s theme this year is ‘It’s Out of This World,’ so it’s all space and alien-themed,” she continued.

Riverfront Park will feature free concerts both nights, beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. with a performance by the Miamisburg Community Band. Headlining act The Fries will take the stage at 6 p.m. Friday night’s music also includes the annual GOBA song contest, beginning at 6 p.m. Sawgrass will perform from 6:30–9:30 p.m.

Food vendors will be available both nights, along with other booths and bouncy-houses for children. Downtown events and the Thursday and Friday night concerts are free and open to the public.

“The park events are open to everybody,” Frank says. “Everybody’s invited to come hear the music and participate in those events. Our downtown will be open, the pool will be open, and Thursday and Friday night are community-wide concerts.”

The city will provide a few special activities that are only offered to GOBA riders and participants, including kayak floats and private tours of Miamisburg Mound Laboratories facility.

“We’re going to have a kayak trip down the river on Friday,” Frank says. “We’ll be having special tours of the mound museum, and also a private tour of the mound T-building, those are for GOBA riders only.”

Currently in its 28th year, GOBA is an annual, weeklong bicycle and camping tour organized by the Columbus-based group, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits. Riders of all ages and skill levels follow a different route each year, bicycling an average of 50 miles per day and tent camping in cities and towns along the way.

This year the tour’s route starts in Hamilton, then goes on to Oxford, Eaton and Brookville before stopping in Miamisburg. Riders will camp at the Miamisburg Middle School, which will become a temporary tent city complete with shower facilities.

“About 800 to 1,000 tents will be at the middle school,” Frank says. “It’s tent camping, so it’s pretty basic. There are restrooms onsite, and they bring in shower trucks, so everyone will have showers.”

Food will also be available for GOBA riders at the middle school, and the profits will benefit local charities and organizations. “That’s kind of a neat aspect. They want to give back to the community,” Frank says. “The proceeds will go to local nonprofits, and then also organizations like the volleyball team, the lacrosse team and school groups, as well.”

GOBA came through Miamisburg once before in 1994 but hasn’t been back to the area since then. “Obviously, things look a little bit different now than they did in 1994,” Frank says.

“There are a few people around town that remember it,” she says. “It was not as big because back at that time, there just wasn’t as much to do,entertainment-wise, so it was a little more low-key.”

Getting the tour to return wasn’t easy due to the event’s intensive route selection process. Frank started contacting the event’s organizers about four years ago, she says, and the group later conducted secret visits to check out the area.

“They didn’t even tell us they were visiting,” she explains. “They scoped out the area and decided it would be a great community to host one of their two-day layovers.”

“I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this event and the people that come,” she adds. “The GOBA people are very respectful. I hear from all the other communities that have done this in the past: they can say nothing but positive things about this event.”

The city is still looking for additional volunteers who are available to help while riders are in town. “If anyone wants to volunteer, they can email me,” Frank says. “We’ll probably need about 80-100 volunteers to help with this, so that’s a big thing where the community also comes in and helps.”

The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure will stop in Miamisburg Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24. For more information, please visit goba.com or exploremiamisburg.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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