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Gateway Adventures Offering Pedal & Paddle Tours of Columbus

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea Gateway Adventures Offering Pedal & Paddle Tours of ColumbusPhoto via Olentangy Paddle Facebook page.
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If you want to explore Columbus by both land and by water, Gateway Adventures has you covered. The newly-formed tourism venture combines the recreation passion of two women in an effort to show Columbus off in a fun and challenging way, to the local and the visitor alike.

Lisa Daris started Olentangy Paddle because of her love for waterways, “But I also knew, from a business perspective, that I didn’t want to be limited to just kayaking and canoeing.”

Heather Bowden of Cbus Bike Tours felt similarly, wanting to expand beyond bicycles into new territory. Soon, friends started recommending that she connect with Lisa Daris.

“Of course,” said Bowden, “It’s Columbus, so Lisa and I had 20,000 friends in common.”

The result of their collaboration is Gateway Adventures, where groups of clients can see Columbus from both kayak and bicycle, customizing their tour based on their interests and raising money for their favorite causes if they so choose. Most of all, Daris and Bowden want to provide adventurers with a unique vantage point from which to see their city and a certain guidance that is sometimes hard to find.

“One of the most common questions I get, even from people who just bought their own kayak is, ‘where should I go?’” said Daris. “It can be intimidating. There’s a lot of trails out there, and thanks to the scenic waterway that was designated on the Olentangy River, there are a lot of launch sites, but you also don’t want to get on a kayak and then realize, ‘oh well, we just paddled a half mile and we’re already done.’”

Daris continued, “We get a lot of customers who are newbies to the sport, who are thinking about buying a kayak, or maybe they’re a very casual outdoors person that they’re looking to make a lifestyle change, we’re ready to help them by helping them figure out where to go.”

Bowden has received similar questions on the bike side of things about the best places to ride, though she said the bike trails in the area are generally well-established and well-marked.

“But a lot of folks that I find — when they go on our tours — they’re a lot more comfortable riding as a group if they haven’t ridden on the roads before,” said Bowden. “So I’m hoping it’ll help folks to realize that they can get around the city via bike on the roads, and do it in a safe way, and it’s not as scary as they once thought it was.”

The tours are meant for bike and boat novices as well as experts, and are designed to include stops that showcase the environment and history of Central Ohio. Daris and Bowden hope their clients will come away from their tours with a new or renewed appreciation rom the city.

“If they loved Columbus when they started the tour, we’re hoping they love it even more,” said Daris. “That’s part of the reason I started this business, because I want to show Columbus off to people, whether they lived here all their lives or they’re just visiting, or they’re thinking about moving here, I want them to realize that this is a great place, both in terms with the urban mixed with the nature part. Ohio has a unique blend of both, right here, and it’s really, I think, a benefit to live in an area like this, and be able to enjoy the outdoors as much as Central Ohioans do.”

“We know we’re a cool city, but I wanted to be part of that crowd…that lets people from outside of our city know that,” said Bowen. “We’re not a cow town anymore.”

For more information, visit ohgatewayadventures.com.

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