2021 PLANS


Registration to open in early 2021, with priority to riders who were deferred in 2020

Sidney, Wapakoneta, Versailles and Troy to host GOBA on June 19-26, 2021
Normally the week of Thanksgiving is when the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure reveals — with a touch of fanfare — the overnight towns for the upcoming tour. It’s also when we launch registration. But alas, this year has hardly been normal.

The 2021 towns are no secret because they were announced shortly after the pandemic forced cancellation of GOBA 2020 in March. A huge thanks goes to our four 2020 communities in western Ohio for stepping up again to host GOBA on June 19-26, 2021. The tour is scheduled to start in Sidney (one night), then take us to Wapakoneta (two nights), Versailles (one night), Troy (three nights) and back to our cars in Sidney.

Registration presents a special challenge. With cases of COVID-19 surging in Ohio and elsewhere, we are taking a cautious approach to signing up riders. Therefore we will delay opening registration until early 2021. Prices will be announced then.

Our hope is that by February we’ll have a clearer picture of the prospects of holding GOBA in June and whether we might need to limit the number of participants. A major factor will be how quickly a vaccine can be approved and distributed.
Regardless, we expect that mitigation measures such as facial coverings, social distancing and enhanced sanitizing will be necessary to some degree. We are working with state and local health departments, who will determine whether events like GOBA are allowed and whether there are restrictions on the number of people and the types of activities permitted (indoor sleeping, for example). We also are exchanging ideas with other bike tours to try to develop safety protocols.

Our highest priority is the health of our riders, volunteers, staff and the communities we visit.

For 2021 registration, preference will be given to those who wish to use their GOBA 2020 deferment in 2021, and to those who converted their 2020 deferment into a donation to Outdoor Pursuits (thank you!) and wish to purchase a 2021 registration (at the 2020 price).

If you hold a 2020 deferment, you can use it in 2021, 2022 or 2023 at no additional cost and can wait until as late as June to decide. Or you can transfer or sell the deferment to someone else, who can use it in 2021, 2022 or 2023. For deferment details, please see the accompanying box.

Next in line for registration would be people who weren’t registered in 2020. The number of spots available to new registrants will depend on how many participants GOBA is allowed to have and how many people use their 2020 deferments in 2021. In a normal year, registration is capped at 1,500 people. Most likely, the limit will be set lower than that when 2021 registration opens early in the year. We will increase the number of spots as conditions improve and health departments ease their restrictions.

In January 2021, GOBA will send an email to 2020 registrants to ask them whether they plan to ride in 2021 or defer to 2022 or 2023. This nonbinding survey will help us gauge how many riders to expect in 2021 and will include a link for riders to register for 2021 at no charge if they wish to do so early. The 2020 registrants can sign up for GOBA 2021 anytime before June at no charge by using their deferment. If they decide later not to ride, they can cancel their 2021 registration without penalty and defer their deferment to 2022 or 2023.

GOBA also is preparing for the scenario that no one wants to see — the possibility that the pandemic continues to rage and forces another cancellation due to the risk to participants and communities. Because of the logistics and large expenditures involved in putting on GOBA, both for Outdoor Pursuits and the communities, a decision to cancel would need to come by mid-April. If there is a cancellation, all 2020 deferments would carry over to 2022 or 2023, and any new registrations would be fully refunded.

We appreciate your patience and support as we work through the challenges of putting together a bicycling tour in 2021. Cycling is a healthful activity with the proper precautions, and certainly there is a pent-up demand for two-wheel adventures. We’ll do our best to offer a 2021 GOBA that’s as “normal” as possible!

Please stay safe and protect others.


• January: Survey to be sent by email to 2020 registrants about when they’ll use their deferment. The survey will have a link they can use to register for 2021 at no charge if they wish to do so at this time. This group includes riders who donated their 2020 registration fee to Outdoor Pursuits.
• February or March: Opening of registration for new riders (those who don’t hold 2020 deferments) and start of sales for add-on items such as apparel and camping services. Prices for registration and add-ons will be announced then. New riders might need to go on a wait-list in anticipation of more spots opening.
• Mid-April: Deadline for GOBA to decide whether to go forward with the 2021 tour. If canceled, the deferments of 2020 registrants would be deferred to 2022 or 2023, and the registrations of new riders would be fully refunded.
• Early June: Add riders from the wait-list and late registrants if spots are available. The number of spots could increase in June if riders with deferments decide to delay using them until 2022 or 2023, or if health departments allow more participants.
• June 19: GOBA 2021 begins at the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Sidney, Ohio.

Dates and details subject to change.



When can I use the deferment?

GOBA 2020 registrations have been deferred to 2021, 2022 or 2023. The deferment will cover the entire cost of one registration in any one of those years, even if the price of GOBA increases.

Can I defer my deferment?

A registrant who defers to GOBA 2021 or GOBA 2022 will have until the start of the ride to defer the deferment — in other words, to withdraw from that year’s ride for any reason and transfer the deferment to the following year with no processing fee.

Can I transfer my deferment to another person?

GOBA 2020 registrants also can transfer or sell their deferment to another person with no processing fee. The original registrant will need to use the online transfer form to notify GOBA of the transfer or sale, and the new participant will need to register, for free, at least a week before the ride so that GOBA has their information. The link to the deferment transfer form can be requested by emailing goba@outdoor-pursuits.org.

I don’t want to ride in a future GOBA. Can GOBA help me sell my deferment?

We’re working on setting up a message board or other means to help bring together people wishing to sell their deferment with those who want to purchase one. Any agreement for the sale of a deferment, including the price, is strictly between the two parties involved. Outdoor Pursuits takes no responsibility for the transaction or lack thereof.

Will I need to sign up again for GOBA if I’m keeping my deferment?

Yes. We’ll need people with deferments to go through the online registration process again in 2021 so that we have the most up-to-date information for everyone. There will be no charge for the registration. You’ll be able to purchase add-ons such as apparel and camping services when registration for all riders opens in early 2021. (The only 2020 add-on that carries over to 2021 is the raffle tickets. The other 2020 add-ons were refunded.)

I donated my 2020 registration fee to Outdoor Pursuits. How does this affect my 2021 registration?

First, thank you for your generosity in helping Outdoor Pursuits, the nonprofit organization that puts on GOBA, stay afloat during this difficult year! If you wish to register for GOBA 2021, you’ll be charged the same rate as you paid in 2020 and will be given first priority for a spot, the same as the deferred riders. 

Please watch your email in-box and goba.com for further updates.