Prepping for major influx of bicyclists in June

(Posted May 23, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

What do you do when 1,500 cyclists pedal into town? You give them a place to rest, good food to eat, and fun things to do.

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce is in full-on preparation mode as a town coordinator for this year’s Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA).

The week-long bicycle-camping tour, organized by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, starts and ends in Delaware with overnight stops in London, Circleville, Lancaster and Newark. Cyclists are camping at the Madison County Fairgrounds Sunday and Monday, June 17-18. The tour runs June 16-23.

“This is GOBA’s 30th anniversary. They’ve been to London before in 2002, 2006 and 2011. This is the second time they’ve camped out at the fairgrounds. The last time was 2002,” said Jessica McNeil, Chamber communications coordinator.

The Chamber, in coordination with city leaders, civic organizations, and businesses, will once again roll out the welcome wagon for the visiting cyclists.

“It will be a great time to showcase what London has to offer and, hopefully, we’ll gain some return visits,” McNeil said.

Cyclists will start arriving at the fairgrounds around 10 a.m. on Sunday and will wheel out early on Tuesday morning. On Monday, they have the option of pedaling a loop to Yellow Springs and back, or sticking around London for a total rest day.

The Chamber is arranging for food options at the fairgrounds. The Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails is teaming up with Buckeye BBQ to man a food truck on the grounds for lunch and dinner on Sunday and Monday. McNeil said she is looking for a second food vendor to set up shop.

“This is a great fundraising opportunity for a local non-profit or church,” she said.

Additionally, the Chamber will sell a grab-and-go bagged breakfast on Tuesday morning. Some cyclists will head out as early as 5:30 a.m. All cyclists will be out of the fairgrounds by 9 a.m. that day.

During daylight hours of the tour’s stay in London, the Chamber will operate an information booth at the fairgrounds. Cyclists can stop by the booth for restaurant menus, coupons, maps to points of interest, and other information.

“We are looking for volunteers to help staff the booth,” McNeil said, adding that volunteers also are needed to help with trash pick-up, maintenance of a tables-and-chairs area, and clean-up afterwards.

As for entertainment, London’s Dixieland Band will perform at the fairgrounds from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, followed by local musician Matt Rees from 7 to 9. The London Community Organization will operate a beer garden. For the night owls in the group, the State Theater on South Main Street is showing the classic horror film, “The House on Haunted Hill,” at 10 p.m.

More movie fun is planned for Monday, both off and on the grounds. The State Theater is planning a matinee, and the city of London is lending its inflatable big screen for a family-friendly evening movie at the fairgrounds.

To learn more about volunteer and event support opportunities, call Jessica McNeil at the Chamber, (740) 852-2250. To learn more about GOBA, go to goba.com.

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