Cruise along for a cancer fundraising bike ride
"IF I live to 100, I'll still enjoy the ride with Barry and his Harley Davidson motorbike."
It's a ringing endorsement from one of the regular pillion passengers on the annual Cruise for Cancer, Glee Young, penned to the Toowoomba Chronicle after her ride a couple of years ago.
'Chauffeur' Barry McKeown will be taking Glee on-board again for this year's 200km ride on Sunday, August 26, as he has for five previous years.
Barry said Glee, in her 80s, used to ride herself in her younger days.
"She's a real goer, a lovely lady and she looks forward to it with a passion," Barry said.
Barry, who has owned different bikes since his teens, bought his current Harley Fat Boy in 2010, and has been helping others to enjoy the feeling of freedom and the wind in their face as part of the Cruise for Cancer ever since.
This year's event - featuring highway riding as well as twists and turns down the backroads - will include a country morning tea before returning to Queens Park for a barbecue lunch courtesy of Toowoomba Rotary Club. Your $125 registration also includes a commemorative ride T-shirt and photo.
A member of the Darling Downs Harley Owners Group which runs the Cruise, Barry said he had never met anyone who hadn't relished the experience.
"If someone has never been for a ride on a Harley previously, I think it's an experience most people would enjoy," he said.
"Some may have reservations, but there's no skill required as a pillion, you just enjoy the scenery, enjoy the moment and enjoy taking part."
Last year 128 bikes and 96 pillions did just that, and Barry said part of the joy was knowing that what you were doing was helping a good cause.
"You can get on your bike and go for a ride any time, and it's great, but it's a different experience to take part in a ride with a large number of people who you know are all there for the same reason," he said.
Over the past 16 years, the event has raised more than $250,000, with the first $10,000 each year going to sponsor a room at the Cancer Council's Olive McMahon Lodge, and the rest to cancer research.
Non-riding family and friends can hop aboard the supporters' bus and join in the rest of the day's activities for just $40. But riding is hard to pass up when you read Glee's impressions...
"As the motorbikes started up ready to give such pleasure and joy to so many, I shook with excitement of the ride, plus seeing different scenery, towns and animals and birds."
It's a "beautiful and memorable occasion" which she said would be tucked away in her "treasure box of memories".
A number of seniors were interested in taking part after reading our article last year, but missed the cut-off date, so get in by July 30 to get your shirt on the day, or by August 17 to get it later.
To find out more, go to cruiseforcancer.net.au or phone Dianne Hubbard on 4630 7074.