Seeing fifty motorbikes roll into town is enough to start a conversation with locals anywhere, which is what the Long Ride 2019 is doing.
The rain held off as riders roared off from the Department of Defence Headquarters in Canberra on May 10. They are part of the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the fundraising ride and gathered more riders as they went.
They will arrive in Darwin on May 18 after riding through regional New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory to raise awareness of prostate cancer and men’s health.
“The misconception is still there of having to drop the pants and bend over to get checked.”
National coordinator Lieutenant Colonel Scott Barras said most men do not talk about prostate health.
“The misconception is still there of having to drop the pants and bend over to get checked,” Lieutenant Colonel Barras said.
Which is why the motorbikes come in handy.
“People come over and ask what we’re doing and, when you tell them, they say ‘I don’t want that being done’. So I say, ‘Actually mate, it’s not that hard, it’s only a blood test now’.”
For the first time, the Long Ride will also occur overseas.
A group of four Royal Australian Air Force personnel posted in the United States are also taking part.
Wing Commander Paul Connor was a catalyst for creating the international route.
Starting at Colorado Springs, Colorado, riders headed north-east through the state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park, east to Sundance, Utah, before returning to Colorado Springs over nine days.
All funds raised go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s research programs.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men, with more than 20,000 men diagnosed each year and about 3,500 dying from it.