Home Men's Health Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride will take conversations about men’s health to Canberra’s streets

Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride will take conversations about men’s health to Canberra’s streets

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Hundreds of very smartly dressed men and women will take to their motorcycles on Canberra’s streets on Sunday to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues that often go unspoken. Leading the charge will be John Aust on a Royal Enfield Interceptor, dressed to the nines and riding with many men he has known over the years in mind. “I’m a few decades older than most of the other guys riding in this thing – but just experience and knowing people from 30, 40 years ago who simply wouldn’t talk about [these issues],” he said. “I think men are far more open these days and I think that’s getting better; there’s still a lot of work to do, though. That’s where these funds are going to come in extremely handy.” More than 130,000 motorcyclists worldwide will participate in the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride this year, aiming to raise more than $10 million. Sixty per cent of the money raised has been committed to prostate cancer clinical research and programs, while 40 per cent will be donated to mental health initiatives. The Movember Foundation has invested more than $21 million in prostate cancer research and mental health initiatives since the first ride in 2012. Suicide overwhelmingly affects men and the ride helped show people it was OK to talk, Mr Aust said. “It’s pretty sad really and it’s been in the media lately just how tragic that can be for people.” The ride’s general manager, Gaz Aldafai, said men were still dying too young for preventable reasons and the conversation needed to continue for everyone, in all parts of their lives. Government statistics estimate more than 19,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019, with more than 3,300 men expected to die from the disease. Mr Aust said riders had been gearing up, working on their outfits and motorbikes for the big day. “There’ll be guys with tweed and there are some guys actually cultivating moustaches for this ride. I had a crack but shaved it all off last weekend because it wasn’t looking pretty. So I might have to wear a fake, but there’ll be plenty of guys with legitimate moustaches,” he said. Although he had not ridden a motorcycle for years, Mr Aust recently got back behind the handlebars. “It’s been fantastic. I don’t know, it’s something about it. It just clears your mind when you’re out,” he said. “I’ve been on a couple of long rides to Melbourne and back – take three days, two nights, just travel the backroads. Fortunately for me I’ve got a wife who supports me chasing my third childhood, so it’s been an adventure. “Canberra’s just such a great city to ride around and escape out of town in five minutes.” Riders will head off from Yallourn Street, Fyshwick at 9am on Sunday and finish up at the Kingston Hotel on Canberra Avenue.

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