The roar of hundreds of motorbikes will be felt across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty as bikers hit the road for the annual Blue September prostate cancer awareness ride.
A first for the Waikato, the ride has been organised by local bikers Bush Barton and Dean McMillan.
Both are well known in Raglan – Bush is the St John station manager and Dean is a local cop, and they are keen riders who love nothing better than to hit the highway on their beloved hogs.
They both agree that your average Kiwi bloke is not great at taking care of their health and well-being, and they hope the ride will help raise awareness and money for the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men – one that takes the lives of around 600 men each year.
The digital prostate examination has been the butt of many a comedian’s jokes and the pair are quick to joke about the topic themselves, saying it helps remove some of the stigma associated with prostate cancer.
“You have to have a laugh about it with your mates,” Bush says.
All joking aside, they say they are at the age themselves where close friends are being diagnosed with the cancer and are happy to combine their love of the open road with a message of empowerment for men.
“We want to get the message out there that this is one of the biggest health issues facing men,” Bush says.
“The test is so easy to do, and we hope us getting out there and riding through the region will draw attention to the cause and encourage Kiwi men to get checked,” Dean says.
They are encouraging local riders to register for the event at bikersinblue.org.nz. All funds raised go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and contribute towards funding ground-breaking research projects, support services for survivors and their families and year-round education campaigns.
*The ride starts at the Clarence Street Placemakers in Hamilton at 9.30am on Sunday, September 9 and takes the riders in blue across the Kaimai ranges ending up at Placemakers Mount Maunganui, where a blood test for men will be available.