This Guy Is Riding a Hubway for 160 Miles of the Pan-Mass Challenge

It's been an uncomfortable few months of training for Nik Pereira-Kamath.


Image courtesy of Nik Pereira-Kamath.

People’s reactions to the news that Nik Pereira-Kamath is going to ride 160 miles of this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge on a Hubway bike happen in several phases.

“It’s usually laughter, then surprise, some denial, and then a ‘good for you,’” he said.

Although Pereira-Kamath admits that he’s nervous, and panic is starting to slowly set in, he’s keeping in mind that his efforts are for a good cause, and the unique challenge helped him raise more money than he did last year to go toward the charity event.

“It’s not the most comfortable mode of transportation,” admitted Pereira-Kamath, citing the wider-than-normal seat, spaced-out handlebars, and weight of the bicycle. “But I think it’s doable. I wouldn’t have signed up if I didn’t think it was achievable. I have a few friends texting me telling me I’m crazy, but that’s part of the fun.”

For months, Pereira-Kamath has been training—sometimes more than 20 miles a day—on a slightly-modified Hubway bicycle with three gears that he has kept in his apartment for the Pan-Mass Challenge, a charity bike ride that takes more than 5,000 cyclists on a 160-mile journey to Cape Cod to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.

He was able to secure the bicycle through a partnership with the folks at New Balance and the city of Boston, after coming up with the concept to do the ride on a Hubway last year.

“We were all talking about how amazing the PMC is, and other ways of challenging ourselves, and we came up with the idea of doing it on a Hubway,” he said. “A close friend introduced me to the CEO of New Balance, I told them my idea, they sent it to the marketing team and then jumped on it immediately.”

Pereira-Kamath, who works for a private investment firm in the John Hancock building, said he’s grown accustomed to traveling on the green-and-silver bike during the rides leading up to this weekend’s 35th annual event.

Like last year, Pereira-Kamath is riding with a group of people from his firm. And while it’s the second year in a row that he has participated in the fundraiser, this year’s venture puts emphasis on part of the name of the event itself.

Keyword: challenge.

“It’s hard to ride with anyone else because you slow them down,” he said. “I still don’t fully enjoy it— it’s surprisingly a lot more effort on the arms.”

But he’s putting a positive spin on the fact that his bicycle will be clunkier than those riding around him. “I will be well in the back of the pack this year, but I’ll get to meet a couple more new faces. The main thing I realized is this is not a race; it’s a charity event. As long as I finish it’s the number one priority for me. I’m going to take it steadily, enjoy myself, and just go for a ride,” he said.

He also has the advantage of not worrying about too many mechanical failures. “This bike is built like a tank, that’s the one thing I have come to truly appreciate on my rides. You could go mountain biking on it and it would survive.”

Pereira-Kamath’s been chronicling his training for the Pan-Mass Challenge with a Go-Pro camera and online, and plans to continue to do so this weekend during the two-day ride. Photos of Pereira-Kamath during his training can be found on his Facebook page.