VERSAILLES – More than a thousand bike riders from across the country will spend a night in Versailles in June on the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure.
Heritage Park will host the cyclists on Tuesday, June 23, as they arrive from Wapakoneta before leaving the following morning for Troy on their weeklong biking-camping tour. The loop for the June 20-27 event starts and finishes in Sidney.
GOBA is a noncompetitive ride that is billed as a fun, family-oriented event for cyclists of all ages. It seeks to promote bicycle tourism in Ohio by showcasing a different region of the state each year.
Participants typically hail from about 40 states and several countries. The 2020 tour is expected to draw 1,200 to 1,500 cyclists, according to GOBA Director Jeff Pierron of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, the nonprofit organization that organizes the ride.
The visit will be GOBA’s third overnight stay in Versailles and the first in 13 years. Riders on the 1998 and 2007 tours camped at the old Versailles High School. Nearby Greenville was a host in 1994, 2005 and 2013.
“Versailles embodies much of what we seek in a GOBA community: hospitality, history, excellent facilities and good cycling roads,” Pierron said. “The village is a little smaller than the typical overnight town, but the leaders and volunteers are adept at hosting big events such as the annual Poultry Days and the 2019 bicentennial celebration. There’s a lot of community pride.”
Rodd Hale, village administrator of Versailles, is serving as the local coordinator for GOBA planning. He and other community leaders are reaching out to organizations, businesses and government officials for support and to find residents to lead committees such as food, emergency planning, entertainment and information. The committees will begin assembling volunteers in early 2020.