Little did 27-year-old Hilliard resident Andy O'Brien realize the significance a bicycle given to his Ohio State University fraternity six years ago would have on his life.
This year, O'Brien, who owns Kinetic Food Truck, will pedal 200 miles – the new maximum distance – Saturday, Aug. 4, and Sunday, Aug. 5, in his sixth Pelotonia.
O'Brien was a student at Ohio State in 2012 when his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, was awarded a bicycle for a member to ride in Pelotonia.
The Team Buckeye peloton gave bicycles to student organizations that participated in Pelotonia activities, he said.
"I was the one who rode for us (in 2012)," said O'Brien, who completed a 180-mile two-day circuit, then the longest possible route.
O'Brien had no previous experience with distance riding, he said, but he trained for two months.
"It was a little bit grueling but I got in shape and did it," he said.
He has completed 180 miles every year since and this year accepted the challenge to ride 200 miles, the first Pelotonia made the extended route available.
"I ride every day, of course, to train," O'Brien said.
He said he also relies on the products from his health-focused food truck – power grains and leafy bowls – to maintain his stamina and energy.
O'Brien is a member of the Kinetic Food Truck peloton with two other members.
Although not initially motivated to participate in Pelotonia because of any personal experience with cancer, O'Brien said, he would ride this year for his maternal grandfather, who died in 2016 from cancer, and an uncle who was diagnosed with cancer less than two years ago.
"My grandfather became a kind of inspiration for me to keep doing (Pelotonia)," O'Brien said.