GOBA rolls in


Craig Foltz photos/www.buydrphotos.com Cruising down the hill on Rohrer Road in Orrville are GOBA cyclists headed for the University of Akron Wayne College, where they camped out on Sunday night. Copyright 2014, The Daily Record, reprinted with permission

ORRVILLE -- From fry pies to camping space, services, refreshments and even entertainment were ready when bicyclists pedaled onto the campus of the University of Akron Wayne College throughout the day on Sunday.

Having covered the terrain from Mansfield, GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) riders were ready to set up their tents, hit the mobile showers, and replenish calories by the time they reached Orrville.

"A lot of them are just coming in," said Tracey Haley at about 3:30 p.m., as she manned an Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio fundraising concession stand supplied with water and fresh fruit.

"It was slow this morning," said Kathi King at another booth, waiting with helpers Angie Singer and her daughter, Nicole Singer, for bicyclists to snap up water, chips and fry pies, "but it has picked up tremendously."

King said she was amazed to be told by the coordinator of the Waynedale High School station, raising funds for next year's post-prom, that fry pies have perennially been popular with riders.

Of course, King said, "they did just burn how many calories?"

A fry pie is "a little pat on the shoulder," Angie Singer said.

Just inside the Wayne College Student Life Building, Jim Costello of Niles munched on one of them while setting up an informal charging station for campers' electronic devices, having just stumbled upon it, he said.

"This is my second (fry pie)," he said, noting GOBA participants hail from "all over the place."

This year marked Orrville resident Andrea Wenger's 14th year with what she called the "traveling city" of GOBA, complete with mobile showers and three truckloads of the riders' luggage.

Even though she lives in Orrville, Wenger said she and her family planned to camp out on the grounds.

"We'd miss out on the fun if we didn't (sleep in a tent)," said Wenger, pointing out riding bicycles is a lifestyle for her and her husband and children.

"It's pretty much what we do as a family," she said, noting this bike ride is a chance to see GOBA friends once a year.

Mike Rae from Mentor -- who rides annually with GOBA, chose an indoor sleeping space, offered by Wayne College for just five dollars in the Smucker multi-purpose room -- said, "You get older; you get wiser," and air-conditioned comfort suited him.

"(I spent) the first 20 years outside," Rae said.

The GOBA trip, with stops in Orrville, Coshocton, Mount Vernon, Bucyrus, and Mansfield, is "a great way to start summer, a great way to exercise," Rae said, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

This year GOBA was also a wonderful showcase for the campus of Wayne College, where accommodating the riders was an effort made by the entire college, said Regina Schwartz, director of communications.

Wayne College's John Lorson, who has been a cyclist with GOBA, has been "working diligently (on the event) since the fall," Schwartz said.

University of Akron Wayne College interim dean Dan Deckler said clubs and organizations also pitched in to make the campus a welcoming overnight spot for about 1,899 riders.

"It's great to see this many people on campus," Deckler said.

"It's a great opportunity to show it off," Schwartz said.

Wayne College had it covered down to the last detail -- Happy Father's Day buttons, made by Jackie Ashbaugh, coordinator of student activities, and worn by volunteers.

A group of Orrville High School students, jazz band members who formed a group called Ceiling, performed for cyclists arriving in the late afternoon.

"Most everybody (in the group) is (or was) in the band," said senior Wil Myers.

Also on hand, just in case they were needed, were volunteers from Aultman Orrville Hospital helping out in two-hour shifts.

"I've actually been busy," pharmacist Matt Baldwin said at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, "mostly (distributing) ice packs (for) achy knees and a Band-aid here and there," in addition to water and sports drinks to keep riders hydrated.

"It seems like everything is going well," Baldwin said.

For any extra support, supplies or refreshments needed, members of Wayne College's clubs and organizations filled the bill, according to Yani Frederick, the college's president of associated student government.

"We're excited," she said.

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at 330-264-1125, Ext. 2230, or lhall@the-daily-record.com.