Across Ohio Bicycle Adventure

XOBA 2008 by Dan Sheridan

I've wanted for years to ride XOBA (The Across Ohio Bicycle Adventure). I've done many multi-day bicycle tours, including about 15 week-long tours, but I've never ridden XOBA. The first weekend of the ride conflicts with the last two days of the Greene Trails Cycling Classic, which I always do with my six year old son, Ryan.. This year I decided to try to do both rides, by spending two days at Greene Trails with Ryan before heading for XOBA.


XOBA follows a different route each year. The 2008 ride especially intrigued me, since it was based on the Ohio portion of the Adventure Cycling Underground Railroad route.


My friend Lucy Lehner picked me up at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning and we car-pooled to the XOBA start at the fairgrounds in Sandusky, Ohio. After picking up our registration packets and loading our bicycles onto a large semi, the 289 riders spent most of the day travelling on five buses to Maysville, Kentucky. (Maysville is on the Ohio River about 70 miles southeast of Cincinnati.) Most of the riders were adults, but 10 or 15 teens were along for the trip. The youngest rider was 10 years old, while the oldest was 84 (although he looked 60).


Soon after arrival on Saturday, Lucy and I cycled down a big hill to the old part of Maysville and toured a "safe house" from the Underground Railroad. Display cases in the house included items that reflected the horrible reality of slavery, such as neck chains that "troublesome" slaves were forced to wear. Our tour guide was very emotional, wiping away the tears as she showed us a hiding place under the basement floor.


After the tour, we sweated back up the hill and returned to the school in time for a catered dinner where all of the riders gathered for an introductory talk by Walt Williams, our tour director. Walt was followed by a local judge, and then by a speaker who introduced us to the Underground Railroad.

XOBA riders board the buses that will take us to Kentucky.

In Sandusky XOBA riders board the buses that will take us to Kentucky.

Contact Dan through the Heart of Ohio Tailwinds web site.