Riders: Wapak is ‘friendly’ to GOBA

Staff Writer
Wisconsin. Maryland. Kentucky. Georgia. Even Canada.
Riders from many different places echoed a common sentiment as the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) passed through Wapakoneta.
“What a friendly town.”
Cyclists had nearly all good things to say about the hospitality of Wapakoneta as many of the riders took the 100-mile loop Thursday that took them through the city. Riders are finishing up the week-long event by traveling from New Bremen to Sidney today and back to Urbana, the starting place, on Saturday. This year marks GOBA’s 25th anniversary.
Kelli Neal, of Madison, Wis., and who was participating in the event for the first time, stopped with a family member to have a light lunch at Cloud Nine Cafe.
“My aunt has been doing it for 15 years,” Neal said. “This is my first organized ride. It is a cute little town. Everyone is so friendly.”
After lunch, Neal said her and her father planned to ride to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum for a visit before making their way back to New Bremen.
Several riders from New Hampshire that were GOBA veterans stopped for a brief break to grab drinks at Marathon service station on State Route 198.
“We’ve seen a lot of
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corn and soybeans,” said Steve Boufford, of Hudson, N.H.
It is Boufford’s fifth time riding in a GOBA event. The group was on their 75th mile of the 100-mile loop, so Boufford said they likely would not make many more stops before heading back to the GOBA camp.
“It’s a big loop,” Boufford said. “At this point you are really thinking about getting back and getting out of the saddle.”
Jason Gaines, of Manchester, N.H., said he was enjoying the trip because it was a level riding area. Gaines is participating in GOBA for the fourth time.
“It is very flat,” Gaines said.
The only complaint heard from a number of riders is a common complaint with people traveling to a different area from their own hometowns. Getting used to the water.
“I don’t care for the water,” one of the riders said. “That would take some getting used to.”
Joe Fehring, of Lebanon, is participating in his second GOBA and teamed up early with two Canadians to enjoy the week-long trek. The trio stopped at the Wapakoneta Middle School to enjoy chicken dinners. They were contemplating their next destination.
“I was lucky enough to hook up with these two guys and we have had a lot of fun,” Fehring said.
Jesse Simonetti, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, said he was amazed at how community service organizations had pulled together to make the Wapakoneta loop an enjoyable segment of the trip.
“It is fantastic how the different service organizations pulled together and offered everything,” Simonetti said. “It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Dennis Jackson, also of Windsor, described Wapakoneta as a “charming little place.”
Simonetti said with the exception of rain on the first day that the weather has been very cooperative and made the ride all the more successful.
Several events were being hosted throughout town as GOBA comes through. The loop passed by the front door of Armstrong Air & Space Museum and the museum was open for cyclists to visit.
Chicken dinners were available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wapakoneta Middle School cooked by Les Chiles from the Wapakoneta American Legion. Lori and Brad Lambert of Park Street Music provided free musical entertainment, and the Wapakoneta WaterPark was open for cyclists.
The Auglaize County Historical Society Museum was open and sidewalk sales were available downtown. Auglaize Embroidery and Homestretch Sportswear had booths in the downtown area and Dena Wireman had a “booth 31.”
Revive Yourself provided 5-minute massages for all riders for a donation to the massage therapists.
The YMCA opened the showers and the pool. Many other events and specials were made available to the riders.