“With Mother’s Day and graduation ceremonies set at some schools this will be an especially busy weekend for those traveling the highways, and our utmost concern is safety,” said James Brushart, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 9, headquartered at the half-way point of the ride in Chillicothe. “Drivers of cars and trucks and those people riding the bikes will need to show a heightened alert for safety and attention.”
Riders come from all over the country and converge in Columbus early Saturday to begin the ride. Some begin arriving in Portsmouth’s Tracy Park, where an information center will be set up, as early as 11 a.m.
Generally, representatives from the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce go to Columbus on Friday to give participants details of what to expect when they arrive in town.
Some riders take different routes to Portsmouth but the planned route is along U.S. 23 to Circleville and then Ohio 104 from Circleville to Yoctangee Park in Chillicothe.
They will follow Three Locks Road from Chillicothe to Waverly, crossing the Scioto River at Higby Road and continuing to Old U.S. 23 and Watson Road at Richmond Dale.
From there they take the “new” Ohio 335 into Waverly. At Waverly, they return to Ohio 104 and continue on it into Portsmouth.
Most of the weekend’s activities in Portsmouth are centered at Tracy.
But riders also will be at the Southern Ohio Medical Center Life Center, its Friends Center, Portsmouth City Schools and Shawnee State University, with people manning the facilities all night.
Meals are often catered by area churches. Life Ambulance also cooks for the event.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.