For Pelotonia cyclists, entering Granville is an experience worth filming.

Brian Crock, a Pelotonia rider and a Granville resident himself, said he knows of nowhere else on the Pelotonia route where riders so frequently reach for their mobile phones.

Cheerleaders line the streets, he said.

Churches on street corners ring their bells.

And bystanders galore ring cowbells.

"The energy that is in Granville is just not duplicated anywhere else on the route," said Crock, who in addition to riding in Pelotonia, helps assemble the outpouring of support in the Licking County village of almost 6,000 residents.

But that's not a slight against other communities.

Hundreds of enthusiastic relatives, friends and community members show up all along the six routes, from the downtown streets of Columbus, to the 25-mile stop at Pickerington High School North, to the rolling hills outside New Albany on days one and two, to the tree-lined leisure path leading to Kenyon College's 100-mile finish line -- and all parts in between.

Next month, they will gather to cheer on more than 7,600 riders and well over 250 pelotons -- the term used for Pelotonia's fundraising teams that generally is defined as the primary group of cyclists in a race -- that are expected to participate in Pelotonia activities Aug. 4 to 6.

They will cheer for a common goal: an end to cancer, sped along by the millions of dollars raised for research at Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital.


For Crock, Granville's reputation among Pelotonia cyclists on the 55-, 100-, 135- and 180-mile routes is a result of a few variables.

First, Granville's small size makes it easy for residents to know someone who has been affected by cancer, Crock said.

"There are a lot of people in Granville that have been touched by this disease," he said.

Second, Granville is a popular stop for family and friends who want to support cyclists pedaling the higher-mileage routes.

"It's a logical place to stop to cheer them," Crock said.

Crock estimated about a third to half of Granville's Pelotonia supporters who turn out the day of the cycling event are residents.

The others are from out of town, supporting riders as they proceed to Kenyon College in Gambier for the 55-mile and 100-mile finish lines, he said. (The 135- and 180-mile routes resume the second day of riding -- Aug. 6 this year -- but will not make another pass through Granville.)

Granville resident Blaine Franz is a Pelotonia cyclist who helps organize Granville's community response during the event.

"The crowd is unparalleled," he said.

A variety of community organizations are part of the process, Franz said.

For example, Granville High School's football coaches organize players to move bleachers to the street, he said.

Several downtown businesses also support the ride, he said, and some offer specials when the cyclists past through through Granville.

In addition, Don Lewis, president of the Granville Kiwanis Club, said he and other Kiwanis members help onlookers remain safe while cyclists are coming through. About a dozen members help police control pedestrian traffic.

"Along the way, we cheer (the cyclists) on," Lewis said.


The experiences in Pickerington and New Albany are essential for riders completing the two shorter routes Aug. 5.

Pickerington North is the finish line for the 25-mile route, as well as the second rest stop for the other five routes, making the Fairfield County city a key participant.

Although Theresa Byers will be a Pelotonia cyclist for the first time this year, the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce president has helped coordinate street-side support since August 2015.

Last year, Pelotonia cyclists in Pickerington were cheered on by the Pickerington Central marching band and cheerleaders, as well as the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, Byers said.

Ernst & Young, a Grandview Heights-based business, handed out water and Gatorade there, she said.

Safelite AutoGlass, which has a significant number of Pickerington employees and Pelotonia riders, also attended, bringing tents and grilling food, Byers said. As cyclists rode by the tent, they could hear cheering and music playing, she said.

In addition, for the first time last year, Pickerington partnered with the American Motorcyclist Association to create a "thunder tunnel" in which motorcycles lined the streets and revved their engines, Byers said.

The cyclists loved it, she said, and the tunnel will return this year.

"It's fun and exciting and loud," she said.

New Albany

Meanwhile, on Aug. 5, New Albany's Bevelhymer Park is the finish line for 45-mile riders, the starting line for 55- and 135-mile riders and the lunch stop for 100- and 180-mile riders.

The following day, Aug. 6, the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany is the finish line for 135- and 180-mile riders.

Hundreds of people line Village Hall road as cyclists finish their rides the second day, city spokesman Scott McAfee said.

"It's a true celebration," he said.

Similar support occurs at the 50-mile finish at Bevelhymer Park.

Residents who live nearby come out to support riders as they pass, said Dave Wharton, the city's recreation and parks director, and supporters line both sides of the park driveway, holding signs and cowbells.

Wharton, who has completed the 50- and 100-mile routes in Pelotonia, said he is in awe of the people who turn out to ride.

"It's for anybody who is willing to take the challenge on for such a great cause," he said.