WOBA arrives


By Sam Wildow


TROY — The Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure (WOBA) — this year’s smaller version of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) — arrived in Miami County on Wednesday as riders cycled through the Covington and Bradford area before setting up camps in Troy’s City Park, as well as across the street at Hobart Arena.

“It’s a joy for us to be able to share our area with others,” said Leiann Stewart, executive director of the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

While the full-scale GOBA, which brings anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 participants into the communities they visit, was canceled for another year, the organization was able to hold a smaller-scale version of the bike tour, WOBA. WOBA was open to 500 participants this year, and according to Jeff Pierron, director of GOBA, just over 250 people registered to participate.

WOBA kicked off on Saturday in Sidney, where cyclists then went to Wapakoneta for Sunday and Monday and then Versailles on Tuesday. On Wednesday, volunteers from the city of Troy, Troy Main Street, and the Visitors and Convention Bureau greeted WOBA cyclists at an information booth at Troy’s City Park with maps of the area.

“We’re really excited about having them,” said Patrick Titterington, director of Public Service and Safety for the city of Troy, who helped welcome and guide cyclists on Wednesday at City Park. He said this is the fourth time the bicycle adventure has been to Troy, and the city looks forward to the larger GOBA visiting the city again next year.

“We’re very excited,” said Dee Mahan, president of Troy Main Street, who was also helping guide WOBA participants. She added they are also looking forward to the Tour de Donut to return to Troy, as well, on Aug. 28.

“We’re really pleased that organizations have picked Troy as one of their destinations,” Mahan said.

WOBA helped introduce Miami County to some visitors and other Ohioans who have not been to the area before, such as cyclist Nancy Vallen, of Ashtabula.

“It’s a beautiful park,” Vallen said about Troy’s City Park. “It seems like it’ll be a real nice bicycling area. Every day we bicycle about 50 miles, so we’ll start from here and make loop trails to return.”

Vallen said her experience with GOBA is “always positive,” adding that the trails are well-marked.

“You just get out and find out what’s all around the state,” Vallen said about GOBA. “It’s really a nice way to travel.”

Steven Stuckey, of Coshocton County, said he had been to Troy previously to see a concert featuring Home Free at Hobart Arena. On Wednesday, he returned as a first-time WOBA cyclist.

“The ride’s been good. The support’s good. We stayed at a really nice place in Heritage Park in Versailles,” Stuckey said about the WOBA trip so far.

WOBA not only showcases the town, but also local businesses and restaurants, with some offering coupons to the cyclists. Riders will be completing 50-mile bicycling loops in the local area each morning, stopping for lunch in Piqua on Thursday and then in the West Milton and Tipp City areas on Saturday.

WOBA participants will also have other ways to get a taste of the local area while they are here this week, Stewart said, such as visiting the Troy History Museum or seeing the renovations at Lockbox 290.

“They have the opportunity to take a tour at WACO,” Stewart said. They also have a chance to check out Hobart Arena and the Troy Aquatic Park. She said they were not able to plan large bus tours for the WOBA participants this year, but they hope to do that next year with the larger GOBA event.

The city of Troy and Troy Main Street are also holding nightly concerts in conjunction with WOBA, and the concerts are open to both the WOBA participants and the community. On Wednesday, the city hosted its Troy Truck Yard where local “party cover band” Party Punch provided live music. Beverages from Moeller Brew Barn and food from participating food trucks were also available for purchase.

On Thursday, Troy Main Street will be hosting a concert starting at 7:30 p.m. at Prouty Plaza, at the corner of Main and Market streets in downtown Troy, featuring the band Kid Politics. Andrea Keller, executive director of Troy Main Street, said the band has performed in Nashville and also had a nationally televised performance as part of the 2019 NFL draft.

“That concert is free,” said Keller, who added this event is for everyone. “We’re really hoping the whole community will come downtown.”

Capping off WOBA week will be Friday’s Johnny Cash Tribute concert at Troy’s Treasure Island Park. Sponsored by the city of Troy in conjunction with WOBA, the free show starts at 7:30 p.m., and the event will also include food trucks.

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