At the start of a run for governor, Sen. Dan Wolf will be pedaling the 163 miles from Wellesley to Provincetown as part of the Pan-Mass Challenge, a fundraiser for cancer research.
“I took my last training ride this morning,” said Wolf, who said this weekend will be his fourth time on the ride and said his participation “predates any political aspirations that I have.”
While Wolf, a pilot and founder of Cape Air, is best known for his winged mode of transportation – distributing balsam wood airplanes at the state Democratic Convention – he has a small stable of two-wheelers.
A Harwich Democrat, Wolf will be riding a 20-speed road bike during the two-day Pan-Mass. “I wouldn’t say it’s easy to ride 165 miles, but it’s easier than it would have been on an old three speed,” Wolf said. He also has a one-speed with rear coaster brake and a mountain bike that he rides in the winter.
A biker for years
“It’s the way I stay in shape, so I ride year-round,” said Wolf, who said he rides around 5:30 a.m. He said, “There’s nobody out there. It’s a great time to ride. It’s beautiful. It’s a great time to think.”
Wolf started riding after a friend’s cancer diagnosis, and will be riding this year with his friend’s partner and his youngest daughter, who lost a friend to cancer.
He plans to stay with family nearby and then leave from Wellesley early Saturday morning. The route Wolf’s taking takes bikers 84 miles from Wellesley to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzard’s Bay, where riders bunk aboard a ship and in dorms for the night.
The final leg starts at sunrise, continuing down the Cape 70 miles to Provincetown. “I call it a ribbon of community. From one end to the other there are people standing out waving,” Wolf said.
While the ride will bring him in contact with plenty of Massachusetts voters, Wolf said he will not use it as a chance for campaigning. “They don’t like things to turn into a political event and neither do I,” Wolf said. Wolf said he wasn’t sure whether his schedule will allow him to ride in the event next year.
Next year's PMC a few weeks before Democratic Convention
Assuming he makes it onto the ballot, the Pan-Mass would take place weeks ahead of the Democratic primary, which usually takes place in September. Wolf said he used to run marathons until his early 30s when he was afflicted with stress fractures.
The Pan-Mass. challenge donates 100 percent of the donations raised by riders to the Jimmy Fund, and the charity set a goal of raising $38 million for the roughly 5,500 cyclists expected to participate. There are a few routes for the ride between Sturbridge, Wellesley, Mass Maritime and Provincetown.