2023 ROUTE HIGHLIGHTS
GOBA offers seven days of scenic cycling on paved, low-traffic roads. Support includes food stops about every 15-20 miles; SAG, mechanical and medical services; and pavement markings and maps (digital and paper).
The new format, introduced in 2019, proved popular and has returned in 2023. We’ll have only 4 host communities, allowing more “optional loop” days and a little less time setting and breaking your campsites.
Among the highlights:
In its 33 year history, GOBA has never explored northeast Ohio. Well, the 34th time’s a charm!! Join us from June 17-24, 2023, on a bicycling voyage to the region of Beaches, Bridges, and Buggies!
We’ll cycle through five counties in far northeast Ohio – Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage, and Trumball and stay in four host communities – Jefferson, Willoughby, Kent, and Burton.
Beaches – You’ll roll along the Lake Erie shoreline on several days and have the opportunity to dip your toes in the water at several lakeside parks. There are several museums and historic sites that will offer a glimpse into the industrial development of the region. Geneva-on-the-Lake offers a beachtown vibe where you can find summertime boardwalk food and fun.
Bridges – Ashtabula county is home to 17 covered bridges, the largest concentration of covered bridges in Ohio! We’re planning one of our cycling days to visit as many as possible, and are working with the local Covered Bridge Association to provide experts and guides at each bridge to provide the history and interesting stories about each bridge.
Buggies – When we work our way through Geauga County, we’ll be in the heart of one of America’s largest Amish settlements. The region is pastural and the roads are calm and enjoyable. There are some unique roadside attractions (e.g. a large geodesic dome, a 50ft Mother Mary statue, a model railroad empire, etc) and also plenty of Amish markets to find great sandwiches, local cheese, and the world’s best fry pies! We’re working to provide an Amish feast for the last night of GOBA when we stay at the Geauga County Fairgrounds.
Wineries – It didn’t fit into our nice “Beaches, Bridges, and Buggies” tagline, but Ashtabula and Lake Counties are home to 20+ wineries and the Ohio Wine Growers Association. One of our cycling days will meander past a number of these wineries. Additionally, we’re working to offer side trips and possibly bring a wine-tasting opportunity into Gobaville in conjunction with our evening’s entertainment.
We’ll start GOBA at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in Jefferson. The fairgrounds will be hosting their annual Ribfest all weekend in addition to a monster truck smash on Saturday night. So, there will be food and a unique entertainment package to enjoy! We’ll stay in Jefferson and ride two days of loops; the cycling opportunities in this area are staggering. We’ll definitely have a “beach loop” one day and a “bridges loop” the other. We’ll bring food and entertainment into the fairgrounds for Monday night.
We’ll ride from Jefferson to Willoughby on Tuesday. This route will take in wineries and Fairport Harbor at Lake Erie which is home to a beautiful lakefront park, lighthouse, and the Finnish Cultural museum. The Gobaville camp will be one block from Willoughby’s vibrant Main Street district. There are 17 eateries and pubs, gift shops and entertainment on the village green.
We’ll ride from Willoughby to Kent via the charming Chagrin River Road. The route from Willoughby to Chagrin Falls winds past beautiful Cuyahoga Metropark lands and sprawling estates where you’ll possibly see some horse jumping or polo activities. Gracious living, indeed. We’ll utilize a nice bike trail to enter Kent where we’ll set Gobaville at another city park adjacent to the downtown district. We’ll enjoy a downtown community concert and explore the shops, bars, and restaurants of this vibrant college town.
We’ll ride from Kent to Burton on Friday and stay at the Geauga County Fairgronds, the home of Ohio’s oldest county fair. We’ll bring in food and entertainment and enjoy our last evening together with the traditional GOBA talent show. On Saturday, we’ll return to Jefferson and surely mingle on the roads with the Amish on their traditional “go to market” day.
- FOUR “MANDATORY” DAYS: Riding on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is required as we move from one overnight town to the next. Two of those routes are approximately 50 miles and the other two routes will have shortcut options at approximately 35 miles.
- THREE OPTIONAL DAYS: Cyclists can choose to pedal more miles or take a break and explore the host towns. You won’t want to miss the two optional/loop days from Jefferson on Sunday and Monday. These will be two of the most scenic rides during the week!
- TERRAIN: Flat to rolling, with some climbs out of river valleys and a few small hills between Willoughby and Kent and on the optional century route. A good workout, but nothing extreme.
- MILEAGE FOR THE WEEK: Minimum about 160, maximum about 400.
The TENTATIVE daily route itinerary as of 3/22/23:
Saturday, June 17: Jefferson
— Arrive early and explore the local trails. Ride or walk downtown and enjoy the annual Ribfest at the Fairgrounds.
Sunday, June 18: Layover day in Jefferson (optional loop)
— 30/52 miles (1,700 ft climbing) – Ashtabula Harbor district, lunch at Geneva on the Lake, and more covered bridges and wineries.
Monday, June 19: Layover day in Jefferson (optional loop)
— 30/58 miles (1,700 ft climbing) – Lunch on Lake Erie at Conneaut, covered bridge loop w local guides, and winery.
Tuesday, June 20: Jefferson to Willoughby
— 50 miles (1,200 ft climbing) – west to include wineries and our 3rd lunch on Lake Eries at Fairport Harbor. Also, historic Morman settlement of Kirtland.
Wednesday, June 21: Willoughby to Kent
— 50 miles (2,800 ft climbing) , south along the Chagrin River Road valley
Thursday, June 22: Layover day in Kent (optional loop)
— 30/50/100 miles (1,900 – 3,600 ft climbing) east and southeast to communities around Alliance.
Friday, June 23: Kent to Burton
— 35/50 miles (1,400 – 2,500 ft climbing) ride back into Amish country and to the Geauga County Fairgrounds
Saturday, June 24: Burton to Jefferson
— 37 miles (1,000 ft climbing) to finish where we started. Lots of Amish activity on this day.
Route details and mileages are approximate and subject to change.
- Ashtabula County Fairgrounds – Jefferson, OH
- Todd Field – Willoughby, OH
- Fred Fuller Park – Kent, OH
- Geauga County Fairgrounds – Burton, OH
Food stops on GOBA are offered mostly in conjunction with nonprofit community groups as well as some restaurants. In some locations, there is not an “official” food stop, but the route goes through towns where riders can find convenience stores, etc. for FOYO (food on your own). We try to limit the number of FOYO stops, though this year the pandemic and shortages of volunteers have led some community groups to turn down selling food and drinks, though they’ve been generous about letting GOBA set up portable toilets and a water station at their properties.
The food stop hours that community groups set are calculated on when a rider who leaves the GOBA camp between 7-9 a.m. might reach the stop if riding at an average speed of around 16-18 mph. Riders who leave before 7 a.m. and pedal fast might find that stops are not open when they arrive. Similarly, the closing time of each stop is based on the 5 p.m. cutoff time for support on the routes.
Best advice: Be sure to carry a little more food in your pockets and fluid in your bottles than you think you might need!
For a two-page pdf that lists the food stops in a grid, CLICK HERE. Also, the clicking on the food icons in the RWGPS maps also shows more details about each stop. Note: The online pdf of the grid was updated … (placeholder)
DOWNLOAD THE GOBA MAPS – Let’s Ride!
**Route details (below) are released a week prior to GOBA so we can ensure all roads are open & safe. See the “Route Highlights” in the left column of this page for more descriptive details of the week’s routes.
Each day’s Ride With GPS files for your bike computer or phone are hosted on Ride with GPS. All routes (for GPS download) are compiled in one event page here!
EASY-TO-PRINT PDFS FOR PAPER MAPS
SUNDAY: 50 mile loop to
MONDAY: 55 miles to
TUESDAY: 46 mile loop to
WEDNESDAY: 49 miles to
THURSDAY: 58 mile loop to (updated June 17)
FRIDAY LOOP 1: 49 miles to
FRIDAY LOOP 2 (CENTURY RIDERS): 53 mile loop map – click here for map
SATURDAY: 30 miles to
FOOD STOPS: PDF GRID THAT LISTS THE STOPS (updated June 17)
MANDATORY SAFETY PLEDGE: All registrants must turn in a signed Safety Pledge form in order to pick up their packet. The second page of the form has the Event Liability Waiver, which also must be signed before you can receive a packet. The combined pledge/waiver form will be available to sign at check-in in Sidney, or you can download it here to print, sign and take to Jefferson. Thanks for your cooperation!
SAFETY SHOW: The footage may be vintage, but the advice in this GOBA Safety Show video at https://youtu.be/lgOO_wT2Ri4 is just as relevant today as when it was filmed circa 1990. (Thanks to David Jeffords for digitizing it!) The Safety Show will be offered Saturday and Sunday during check-in at GOBA camp in Jefferson before riders hit the road for the 34th annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure.