ADF Gets Revved Up over Men's Health

Published on WO2 Andrew Hetherington (author and photographer)

Location(s): Brindabella Park, ACT

Royal Australian Navy Officer, Commander Gary Brown, with his 1700cc, 2013 Harley Davidson Soft Tail Slim.

He entered his bike in the Brindabella Park, show and shine competition on November 19, raising funds for 2016 The Long Ride and Prostate Cancer research. (photo: WO2 Andrew Hetherington)
Royal Australian Navy Officer, Commander Gary Brown, with his 1700cc, 2013 Harley Davidson Soft Tail Slim. He entered his bike in the Brindabella Park, show and shine competition on November 19, raising funds for 2016 The Long Ride and Prostate Cancer research.

Fundraising for prostate cancer research and fanatical discussions about motorbikes and next year's Long Ride began early at a show and shine held at Brindabella Park, Canberra, in November.
 
More than $1100 was raised for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia by 51 Australian Defence Force, Defence civilian and civilian riders and their supporters.
 
Special guest, Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin grilled the owners about their bikes while judging the four categories in the competition.
 
Air Chief Marshall Binskin said men's health was important to him and the Australian Defence Force.
 
"Even with the diversity focus within the Australian Defence Force today, the fact is, a large part of our workforce will continue to be male," Air Chief Marshall Binskin said.
 
"Based on the national prostate cancer statistics, 8000 of the men who are serving in the Australian Defence Force today will be affected by the disease in their lifetime.
 
"This is a large number and when I look at it from my role as Chief of the Defence Force, obviously the first aspect of this which comes to mind is the welfare of my people, but secondly it is also a capability issue for the ADF."
 
He said anything he or the ADF could do to raise the awareness of men's health and prostate cancer was a priority for him.
 
"This is why I'm a keen participant of the Long Ride," Air Chief Marshall Binskin said.
 
"I also participate because I enjoy riding motor bikes and want to promote motorcycle safety."
 
One of Navy's entrants in the show and shine was Commander Gary Brown, who entered his 2013 Harley Davidson Soft Tail Slim.
 
"It has a 1700cc engine and I bought it brand new," Commander Brown said.
 
"I've just come back from a 3000km ride to Brisbane and back with my club, the Christian motorcycle club 'God's Squad', and it purred all the way."
 
"We go to schools, hold men's breakfasts and go on rides."
 
He said the best thing about his bike was the noise.
 
"It's nice and loud, not standard loud, but enhanced loud," Commander Brown said.
 
"I put Vance and Hines pipes on it, replacing the Harley ones, which were a bit limp."
 
"I like the pace it generates; it's got oomph and guts to get you out of trouble on the road."
 
There's only one aspect of the bike he doesn't like.
 
"Sometimes when I go around roundabouts I scrape the foot side boards," he said.
 
He said he liked the thought of riding his bike from Sydney to Margaret River on the Long Ride.
 
"I think the long ride is fantastic, if I had the time I would go next year," he said.
 
"It's really important for men to discuss health issues as we tend to bottle things up and not talk about our problems."
 
The 2016 Long Ride begins on April 8 in Sydney and finishes on April 16 at Margaret River Western Australia.
 
Registration for the event closes on December 19.
 
ADF winners on the day were Wing Commander Fleur James who won the classic category with her Vespa scooter and Warrant Officer Peter Hodgson, who  won the cruiser category with his Harley.