A crowd of individuals representing various London businesses, organizations, and charitable interest groups met at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday evening for an informational meeting to discuss the upcoming Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) for which the city will play host June 17-19.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, GOBA is a week-long bicycling and primitive camping tour that stops at several cities over its duration.
This is London’s fourth year hosting a leg of the tour — the last time was in 2011.
Madison County Fairgrounds will serve as the campground, or GOBAville, for the two nights and single day that the bicyclists and others will be encamped.
Larry Jenkins, executive director of GOBA parent organization, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, assisted by Mary Larson, GOBA Administrative Coordinator, gave a presentation at the town hall-styled meeting on what community members can expect from the influx of nearly 1,500 additional people to the London area.
Beyond the immediate boost to the economy, advantages include highlighting London’s link-up to the Ohio to Erie Trail, and exposing them to the diversity of retail and service experiences the city can provide for future needs.
“Help us showcase London in the best possible light — you’ve got two days to do that. It presents a little bit of a challenge, but also extra opportunity to showcase and capture,” said Jenkins. “Bicyclists do spend a lot of money.”
One of the biggest opportunities to make some money is in providing food.
Bicyclists tend to be big eaters, according to Jenkins, and it isn’t uncommon for them to go home weighing more than when they left despite the hundreds of miles of exercise.
While restaurants will be the obvious beneficiaries of the 1,500 tourists, there is plenty of room for service organizations and charities to get in on the action by selling food items at one of the several food stops stationed along the route.
Jenkins cautioned that parties interested in being food vendors should contact GOBA coordinators to ensure that there would be no “stepping on toes” or “stealing of thunder” between groups.
Restaurants should also be prepared for a larger number of patrons those days, he said. It might be prudent to limit the menu to a single page of limited fare to prevent running out of items, he suggested. Also, extending the hours of operation might be something to consider. At the very least, they should prepare for longer lines than usual.
If anyone is interested in becoming a food vendor or in any other possible opportunities through the GOBA event, they are encouraged to contact local GOBA coordinator and Madison County Chamber of Commerce Communications Coordinator Jessica McNeil at 740-852-2250.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.
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