I had the pleasure of making the trip from Salt Lake City to Columbus to ride (most of, I’ll get to that) the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, or GOBA, this year on a borrowed A:1 Adventure. I joined 1499 others including my Ohio Friends, Marc, Scott, and Vargas, pseudo GOBA vets, as we rode around North West Ohio. Being from the high desert out west, I was really excited to ride a flat route at sea level! I am by no means a cycling addict. GOBA was the first organized ride that I had ever done. Many years ago I used to ride a lot of street to train for swim team and a couple of sprint triathlons. The last few years I have been working on regaining my mountain bike skills from college, but this was new to me!
I was able to get the borrowed roll: A:1 from my colleague at Vertiv, Greg R. a couple days before the ride began. My first impressions were great, I choose the A:1 over his Trek race bike. At first I found myself looking for the front derailleur levers, but quickly figured out that I didn’t need anything but the ten gears on the rear. I took the bike out for a test ride along the Alum Creek Trail in Columbus. What a great bike! I am used to more mountain biking than road biking, so the flat bars and upright riding style suited me just fine! Being a little taller than Greg, I was able to move the handlebars up a couple inches with only few minutes of tweaking. Sitting a little more upright was just what I needed. With the bike set up, I was able to strap on handlebar and seat bags, and I was ready to roll.
We started on Saturday in Findlay, OH at the fairgrounds. We arrived, registered, and set up camp for the night. Findlay has a really nice downtown! We ate at Logan’s Irish Pub and stopped by a cool bike shop called Muddy River Bicycle, but the highlight of the night was the Fern Cafe. Bright and early on Sunday morning we rolled out towards Tiffin. The first ¾ of the 50ish miles for the day was with the wind, and was a great warm up. We made great time and arrived at Hedges-Boyer Park to spend the night.
Monday was the first rest day (or, for the more dedicated riders, a loop to Bellevue and back). We spent the day walking around Tiffin, enjoying any microbrews we could locate, and playing Frisbee golf at the park. The Clover Club and MST Pub and Grub were the hot spots in town. Weather was decent except for a microburst that caused a handful of people to head to the store to replace their tents.
Tuesday we were back on the road after some coffee and Chris Cakes. It was awesome to ride the back roads of Ohio, even riding against a pretty solid wind most of the day. Our rest and lunch stops were in small towns along the way, all of which showed amazing hospitality! From Tiffin, we headed south to Upper Sandusky where we spent the night at the fairgrounds. The Rose Bud Tavern was the highlight of that night.
Wednesday we were back at it, heading to Bellefountaine. We rode through some beautiful Amish country and arrived at the Bellefountaine High School. I got a flat, and quickly threw on a new tube and continued. I grabbed a spare tube from Dan at Breakaway Cycles who was in the middle of rebuilding the crank of an old Schwinn for a teen age girl. He is great guy! Thursday was another rest day (or the century loop if your butt was up for it. Mine was not). I highly recommend having a flight at Brewfountaine downtown. We got back from town and learned that it was supposed to be a really bad night of weather that was going to carry into Friday. We were given the option of taking down camp and moving inside the school or sending one of us back to Findlay on a bus to pick up the car and end our ride. We had to make a quick decision, so we ended up ending our trip that night. Thursday night would have been alright, but Friday would have been a full day of riding in the rain followed by setting up camp in the rain. It was still disappointing, and I am sorry that I didn’t finish. I still had legs and butt left to give, but I don’t have any regrets. I was able to ride 150 miles of our planned 250 (the hardcore folks did 400 miles that week). We sat out on Friday, but took a ride on the Ohio to Erie trial to get in 40 more miles on Saturday before I headed back home on Sunday.
I had a really great week of riding with old friends. The bike performed admirably, super smooth, solid, quiet, and easy to cruise on, along with being fun for some easy off road excursions. Top gear, at an easy pace, was around 18MPH, and I never got close to low gear on the small hills we encountered. Now all that is left is to figure out how to get one of my own…. Or maybe the S:1 Sport model.