The 56th Annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV) returned to Portsmouth Saturday as approximately 1,000 cyclists came down from Columbus.
Kim Bauer, Portsmouth TOSRV Coordinator, explained that she has been with the event for 26 years and was excited to see so many happy riders come out for her last year.
“This is a century ride, which is about 100 miles one-way,” Bauer commented. “We had about 1,000 riders coming in from Columbus, making their way down 104, come in on second street and then come to Tracy Park.”
The ride began in 1962 and is now the nation’s only bicycle touring classic and was at one-time the largest bicycle touring weekend. The event is a non-competitive ride the encourages cyclists of all levels of expertise to take part in a ride the showcases Southern Ohio.
“The ride is in three sections,” Bauer explained.
TOSRV, organized by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, provides several options, allowing riders to leave from the Heimat House in Grove City for a round trip of more than 200 miles (traveling down Saturday, staying in the area and riding back Sunday); leave from Grove City and stop in Chillicothe for a 100 mile ride; or leave from Chillicothe and ride to Portsmouth. Close to 400 people stayed overnight in Portsmouth.
At Tracy Park, riders were greeted with refreshments and friendly faces. Following, many riders enjoyed dinner in the community before settling in for the night. Bauer explained that riders were invited to stay with local families, at the Portsmouth High School or in a local hotel.
“It’s a good economic boost,” Bauer stated as she explained that many of the riders staying over night would visit local shops and eat in local restaraunts before heading home. “It’s a nice little influx of money,” Bauer confirmed.
Several members of the community prepared throughout the past week to prepare for the guests. All Saints Episcopal Church held a spaghetti dinner and is one of many examples of local events surrounding the tour.
Kim Ashley, of Columbus, explained that he has been participating in the ride since 1990. Since that time, he has developed relationships with other riders as well as with members of the Portsmouth community.
“I’ve been enjoying the great weather today, the commradary and some really great people,” he stated.
Ashley was part of a group of riders that left out of Chillicothe. He explained that he and his group traditionally arrive at Tracy Park before heading to lunch at Toro Loco for some Mexican food.
“They always seem to recognize us when we come in,” he said. “Traditionally, we then hit one of the spaghetti dinners in the evening.”
Ashley explained that they also enjoy walking along the river and enjoying the floodwall.
These sentiments were shared among the visitors, who each seemed excited to arrive in Portsmouth and enjoy the community for the weekend.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.