Taking the Long Ride for the big C

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author and photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Royal Australian Navy officer Commander Ian McConachie attended a Prostate Cancer Awareness Show 'n' Shine at Russell Offices, Canberra, on March 10, 2016, with his Honda 500 motorcycle. (photo: SGT Dave Morley)
Royal Australian Navy officer Commander Ian McConachie attended a Prostate Cancer Awareness Show 'n' Shine at Russell Offices, Canberra, on March 10, 2016, with his Honda 500 motorcycle.

Motorcycle enthusiasts put their pride and joy on display at Russell Offices in Canberra on 10 March, for a show-and-shine for prostate cancer awareness.
 
One of the event organisers, Future Submarine Program Combat Systems Manager Lieutenant Commander Ray Arthurs, said it was great to see the support from the Defence community with more than 50 bikes on display to entertain Russell’s lunchtime crowds.
 
“With about 20,000 Aussie blokes diagnosed, and some 3,300 dying each year from prostate cancer, it’s pretty important to get the message out for us to take better care of ourselves,” Lieutenant Commander Arthurs said.
 
“And it’s a fun way to deliver a serious message.”
 
Lieutenant Commander Arthurs said about 400 motorcyclists, half hailing from Defence, would embark on The Long Ride to Margaret River in Western Australia next month, spreading their message to regional Australia.
 
“This will be my third Long Ride,” Lieutenant Commander Arthurs said.
 
“It is a great adventure and I couldn’t think of a better way to help raise awareness about prostate cancer and funds for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
 
“This isn’t just for men either, several women are involved. 

"My wife has participated in Long Rides with me on her own motorcycle and I am chuffed that my step daughter will ride pillion with me this time.”
 
Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin, a keen motorcyclist, was at the event to judge the best bikes in four categories.
 
He said he was impressed with the event’s turnout.
 
“It’s terrific to see so many people bringing out their bikes to support this event,” Air Chief Marshall Binskin said.
 
“If one person makes an appointment for a prostate check, then we’ve achieved our goal.”

The best cruiser was awarded to Mr Michael Robinson, with the best tourer/sports tourer/sports bike to Mr Lorne Thurgar, best classic to Warrant Officer Graham Thompson and cleanest dirt bike to Navy Captain Ken McAulay-Black.
 
Seaworthiness Project Manager at Campbell Park Offices Commander Ian McConachie is a prostate cancer survivor and motorcycle enthusiast. He said prostate cancer was something that could affect any man, but something there was also a lot of confusion about.
 
“So I like to get out there telling men to look at their situation and have themselves checked out,” Commander McConachie said.

“Men really do need to look into the latest recommendations from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia at www.prostate.org.au and see what they should do.”
 
Commander McConachie said he was looking forward to going on his first Long Ride and talking to men about prostate cancer along the way.
 
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and I took up motorbike riding again after I stopped in my 20s, because I thought I’d better start living,” he said.
 
Commander McConachie’s bike is a ‘little Honda 500’ adventure bike.
 
“It’s among the smaller bikes doing the Long Ride and I think we’ll have fun together,” he said.
 
The event was in support of Australian Defence Force participation in the Long Ride, which will travel from many centres across Australia to Margaret River in Western Australia from 8-16 April.
 
Air Chief Marshall Binskin is a sponsor of Australian Defence Force participation in the annual event and will take part in the first section of the ride starting in Canberra.