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First Legally Blind Cyclist To Take On Pan-Mass Challenge

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Chris Smith will be the first legally blind cyclist to ever ride the Pan-Mass Challenge.

Chris Smith will be the first legally blind cyclist to ever ride the Pan-Mass Challenge.

WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes Lisa Hughes
Award-winning journalist Lisa Hughes is a news anchor for WBZ-TV News...
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BOSTON (CBS) — Cyclists will pedal away from the start line of the Pan-Mass Challenge Saturday morning to raise money for cancer patients and research.

For one Dedham man, this ride will make history.

As far as event organizers know, Chris Smith will be the first legally blind cyclist to ever ride the Pan-Mass Challenge.

Smith started losing his vision ten years ago. He can’t see things or people right in front of him, so he relies almost entirely on his peripheral vision. But he’s not timid on the road, easily clocking 21 miles an hour on his bike.

“When I’m actually riding, I’m scanning around a lot,” he said.  “I’m constantly looking around for different hazards, never staying in the same spot while I’m looking.”

WBZ-TV’s Lisa Hughes reports

Smith says he’s riding the PMC for two reasons.  The first is to raise money for friends battling cancer.  He also wants to send a message as a blind rider.

“Something like this doesn’t mean you’re spending the rest of your life on the couch somewhere,” he said of his vision problems.

Out of the 11 different routes that make up this year’s ride, Smith chose the traditional Sturbridge-to-Providence route, a trek that takes two days.

Smith has already begun inspiring others.  After he started raising money for Dana Farber with the PMC, his friend Karen Kelly—one of the friends he wanted to honor with his own ride—signed up for the 26.2 mile Jimmy Fund Walk next month.

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