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NEOC Draws Nearly 200 Cyclists through Nelson Township


Nelson Twp – The blue skies, seasonal temperatures, and low humidity made Sunday the perfect day for a bicycle ride through the hills and dales of Northeast Portage County, Southern Geauga County and Western Trumbull counties. The Out-Spokin’ Wheelmen Bicycle Club from Youngstown thought so too, as they held their 39th Annual North East Ohio Century (NEOC) often referred to as the North East Ohio “Cookie” ride as they usually have fresh homemade cookies for the riders as they ride through the rolling hills of the region.
Event coordinator Ode Aduma said this was the 39th Annual NEOC ride, but it was the first time it was started and completed in Nelson Township. In previous years, it had started at Newton Falls, Vienna and Trumbull County fairgrounds. It has always gone through the region, just not starting and finishing here. This event usually draws riders from Pennsylvania and all over Ohio and this year was no different. The ride drew just under 200 participants for the day.
Cyclist started to arrive at Pixley Park just before daybreak to start their ride. At the park, they picked up maps for the day’s ride, and grabbed a snack before hitting the road. The NEOC is not a race, it doesn’t have a mass start or mass finish, it is a set your own pace bicycle ride through the countryside. Cyclists could choose how far they wanted to ride. The club had four routes to choose from; when one rode all four routes they completed a little more than a hundred miles, called a Century.  One of the four routes had a shortened version created (A little over 12 miles) for the newbies. Some folks opted for the “metric century” which is about 62 miles. All routes started and finished at Pixley Park.
NEOC organizers had purchased locally fruit, sandwiches, cookies and beverages for the riders and set up a “refueling” station in the township garage at Pixley Park. The riders could have a sandwich, get a drink, and stretch out before setting out to ride another route.
Another service the club provided was Service and Gear (SAG) vehicles also known as SAG wagons which ran the routes helping distressed cyclists if needed. The SAG wagons helped any rider who a developed physical issue or had a mechanical issue along the route. The SAG wagon patrolled the roads helping those who might need assistance and making sure everyone was safe.
The NEOC Ride was sponsored by The Out-Spokin’ Wheelmen Bicycle Club of Youngstown Ohio. More information on other rides or their bicycle club can be found at www.outspokinwheelmen.com.