We were sad to announce that on March 1, because of the ongoing pandemic, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits canceled the 2021 Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. This difficult decision came after months of consultation with health officials and the host towns.
The slow rollout of vaccines, the arrival of new COVID-19 variants, and the likelihood of continued tight restrictions on mass gatherings and temporary campgrounds did not bode well for holding a full-featured GOBA for 1,200 to 1,500 participants like the GOBAs our riders have come to expect. Across the U.S., several other large multi-day tours recently have reached the same conclusion.
We plan to reinstate GOBA in 2022 in the same towns. All 2020 deferments will be rolled over and can be used to register for GOBA at no additional cost in 2022, 2023 or 2024, whichever year the holder chooses.
A NEW RIDE JUST FOR 2021
Outdoor Pursuits recognizes that many cyclists are eager to ride in a tour this summer if they can do so safely. To that end, the organization has been working with communities and health departments to develop a new event with less frills and fewer attendees than a typical GOBA, and with a greater emphasis on bicycling (which is considered low-risk for spreading COVID) and avoidance of activities seen as more risky.
The goal was to create a smaller, weeklong tour that would comply with current strict COVID rules and thereby improve the chances that the event can be held even if the restrictions aren’t eased by summer.
This new, one-time event is called the Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure (WOBA), and it is planned for June 19-26, 2021, in Sidney, Wapakoneta, Versailles and Troy — on the same dates and in the same towns that had been planned for GOBA 2021.
But WOBA isn’t GOBA. There are major differences.
The Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure will have a limit of 500 riders and non-riders. Participants would drive — instead of ride — from one overnight town to the next. They would have their vehicles throughout the tour, making it easier for them to leave camp for lodging, food, services and shopping. WOBA will not have luggage trucks, shuttle buses and ambulances. The camps will have shower trucks and portable toilets with enhanced cleaning. Tents will be spaced farther apart. Food service in the camps will be limited, and most entertainment will be off-site. There will be no indoor floor sleeping.
All rides will be loop rides, about a 50-mile out-and-back on each of the seven days of cycling (Sunday through Saturday), with a 100-mile option on one of the days. The rides will begin and end at that morning’s camp. On moving days, cyclists will drive to the next town after their ride. It’s a hub-and-spoke format with four hubs.
REGISTRATION AND DEFERMENTS
With the cancellation of GOBA 2021, we have added 2024 to the period in which 2020 registrants can choose to use their deferment. Deferment holders will be able to register for the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure in their choice of 2022, 2023 or 2024 without paying a registration fee.
GOBA 2020 registrants won’t be able to use their GOBA deferment for a free registration this year on WOBA because the two are separate events. However in gratitude for their patience and support, Outdoor Pursuits will give deferment holders a deeply discounted rate of $240 for WOBA if they register by May 15 or before the 500-rider limit is reached.
The regular adult “open” rate for non-holder of deferments is $350 until May 15, or until the 500-rider limit is reached.
For the purpose of assigning priority for early WOBA registration, the deferment holders were divided into two groups, depending on when they registered for GOBA 2020. The priority period for Group 1 ended March 31. Enough spots remained to allow everyone who signed up for the Group 2 wait-list to register April 1-15 and be guaranteed a spot.
Members of the two groups were sent emails that specifies which group they’re in. The emails included a link to the registration page (for Group 1) or the wait-list signup (for Group 2). If you were deferred in 2020 and do not receive the emails, please check your spam folder or send your current email address to email@example.com .
Outdoor Pursuits has struggled, as have many charities, due to COVID-19. For 2021, in addition to the Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure, we are still planning XOBA in July and TOSRV in September. We also will be operating daily kayak trips in the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. The two-hour downtown Columbus bike tours that began in 2020 for 10 or fewer riders will continue.
Please watch goba.com and your email in-box for further details. We hope you’ll join us in exploring new frontiers on the Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure.