Graham back on bike for cancer awareness
HE MAY have had a nasty accident at the beginning of the year, but months in hospital didn't stop Graham Rattledge from getting back to what he has loved most.
The Nanango man injured his back moving logs in January, and ended up in hospital with further complications.
Rattledge spent months in hospital, weak and unable to walk, but it was a long-term tradition that gave him the willpower to recover quickly.
Rattledge has taken part in The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride for the past four years, the ride becoming somewhat of a passion for the 62-year-old.
The world-wide ride is a culmination of classic bikes, dapper outfits and going the distance to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research and male suicide prevention.
"It was actually my goal while I was in hospital to make the ride this year, so I had to make sure I was okay by September,” he said.
"I've really got to thank the hospital and the doctors who saved me, because it could've been much worse.”
Rattledge has ridden bikes since his teens, and the ride, on September 25, was the first time he'd hopped on the bike in nine months.
The route began at the Ipswich Hwy, with riders making the journey through Mt Coot-Tha and ended with a big party at the Morrison Hotel at Wooloongabba.
Although Mr Rattledge is a seasoned rider who has never been able to get bikes out of his system, he said the ride was a learning experience after his accident.
"I had someone help me kick start the bike and also put the stand-up when we got to the end. But to actually put it into gear and get on the road for the first time in nine months was a learning curve. You don't forget things, but you've got to think a lot more about what you're doing.
"You've got to consciously think where your controls are, but it all just comes flying back and it was like you'd never been off the bike.”
He said taking part in the ride again was a significant accomplishment, which he could not have done without the help of medical professionals and his own, sheer willpower.
"I've got to say it felt great because that was always my goal, it was always my aim to get back on the bike. When they flew me out of Kingaroy Hospital, the doctors said I could be a paraplegic, so I'm now managing to walk without a stick and I feel it's a great achievement to get back on the bike.
Mr Rattledge has managed to raise $3,500 with the help of the region.
"I've always been interested because I thought it was a lovely job to be able to ride around in your suit and raise awareness for this great cause,” he said.
"The thing with prostate cancer and men's health, men don't like to talk about it very much at all. It's very hard to get them to go to the doctors and get anything done. So the whole idea of the ride is to raise the awareness of prostate health and the fact men do need to be open about it and be able to discuss it and face it and say let's do something about it.
"So it's a great thing to be able to take part in and think that you're doing something positive.”