The motorbike mob is back.
The annual Westcoast Ride to Live happens Sunday, when a throng of motorcyclists cruise the South Island.
They’ll most certainly pique the eyes and ears of Saanichites when they swing through the municipality a little before lunch time.
“We’ve been as many as 700 riders, as little as 300, and think we’ll be somewhere in the middle this year,” said ride chair Kevin Worth, a Saanich resident.
The organized, law-abiding gang will pull their well-polished bikes into the parking lot of the Accent Inn off Cloverdale Avenue to stretch their legs. There they’ll get their fourth of five poker run passport stamps of the day. (Riders draw a playing card at each of the five stops along the route and whoever finishes with the day with the best poker hand wins a Weber barbecue). The bikers will then head up the Pat Bay Highway to end the ride with lunch outside the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney.
The major fundraiser for The Prostate Centre is aiming to add another $80,000 to the $357,000 raised in the past four years of the event. It’s a lot of work to organize the ride, with all the money going to prostate cancer research.
And it’s all to spread one simple message, Worth says: “More men need to get checked. Early.
“We’ve all heard the numbers; one in seven Canadian men will be diagnosed in their life.”
The survival rate for men is 90 per cent if prostate cancer is detected early enough. Despite recent education and awareness campaigns men still don’t want to see the doctor, Worth says.
“Guys don’t want to go the doctor for anything, let alone to get checked for this. And here I have to fit the names of 10 of my friends who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer on my bike,” Worth says. “It might be easier if I just wrote the names of my friends who don’t have prostate cancer.”
The money raised stays on the Island and is distributed to various initiatives.
A portion of last year’s funds helped run Men’s Health Day at Tillicum Centre, where 500 men took the opportunity for a free prostate cancer test. Three participants showed high prostate-specific antigens, a prime indicator for the onset of prostate cancer.
“That’s three potential lives we saved, just in one day,” Worth said.
The 160-km Ride to Live starts with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Fountain Tire in Langford (2924 Jacklin Rd.)
For more info, visit vi-ridetolive.ca.