Good Reasons to Ride
The Things You Learn
by R. Bruce Thomas
I had some thoughts on topics for this edition and told Liane to expect my submission within a couple of days. A day later and I had yet to decide which way I was going to go or to start putting words into documents. I was reading the July 26th Edmonton Journal and read Don Braid’s column where he discussed his experiences with Prostate Cancer. I veered off to Google and soon found what I was looking for so the topics I had been considering will have to take a back seat.
I first became aware of The Man Van back in June 2013 when Graeme Jones, then the editor of Inside Motorcycles magazine, asked me to take part in the Ride For Dad to provide a western counter-perspective to his eastern ride experience. David Weber, publisher of Inside Motorcycles, is a prostate cancer survivor and agreed to match the first $1,000 that Jones and I each raised in donations.
My schedule meant I had to register and ride in the Calgary event rather than Edmonton’s but it was at that Ride that I learned about The Man Van, which had been roaming Calgary and rural regions for four years at the time. The vans (there is an urban and a rural unit), with a driver and two nurses, travel around to events and will do FREE PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) tests as a first step in screening for prostate cancer. The Man Van had, in 2013, recently tested their 10,000th man and, save for a couple of years of pandemic related operational cessation, the Vans have been active. It is a shame that there isn’t a Man Van in every major Canadian city as every male over the age of 40 should be getting screened for prostate cancer.
My Google Search had led me to The Man Van’s web site (https://www.prostatecancercentre.ca/manvan/) where I learned that The Man Van is operational again for 2022. And the web site had a schedule. And what is that? The Man Van will be appearing at the Taber Cornfest (https://www.taberchamber.ca/cornfest/) on August 27 from 10AM-3PM. The Cornfest runs from Aug 25-27 with live entertainment, a Chili Cook-off (Friday 6:15-8:15 - $1 per sample for charity), Corn-Stuffing contest (Sat 11 AM - a team event where one member wears coveralls and the other tries to stuff as many cobs into them as possible), and a Corn-Eating contest (Sat 1:30 - 'nuff said). Registration is required at 9 AM Saturday for the contests. Vendors will be selling the famous Taber Corn around the event all day.
The Taber Cornfest is billed as the largest FREE Family Festival in Western Canada so take your partner and children, or just ride down with some buddies, and get your FREE PSA test at The Man Van while you enjoy the fun and tasty corn. I’m a bit overdue for a needle prick so will try to convince some friends to make the day trip with me. If Cornfest isn’t convenient, check the other locations The Man Van will be at.
I have been participating in the Ride For Dad every year since 2013 as it is a good cause to fight a disease that is treatable if caught early and will affect at least one in nine Canadian men. I’ve got friends who are cancer-free after early detection and treatment so the fundraising is personal. As for that fundraising, yes, Weber had to fork over the $2,000 after Jones and I raised $4,000 between us and wrote about our rides back in 2013.
As I was writing the above, a friend sent me an email about a fundraising ride in Spruce Grove. The 3rd Annual Rotary Ride for You Can Ride 2 is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Spruce Grove and will take place on August 20th with a breakfast, bbq, poker rally, 50/50 draw, and prizes, with funds raised going towards bicycles for mobility challenged children.
You Can Ride 2 has a vision “that all kids will be able to experience the joy and freedom of riding a bike” which is something that we, as motorcyclists, take for granted. Check out the event at: https://youcanride2.ca/ycr2community/rotary-ride/ or go here if you want to resister and participate - https://sprucegroverotary.org/page/rotary-ride