Monday, October 5, 2015

Distinguished Gentlemen? Maybe. But not discriminating. The motorcycle industry has its head up its ass. Again.

Hey, Australia!
This post really touched a nerve with you guys. For the record, your health care system is nowhere near as massively fucked up as the U.S. system. That's where I live, and that's the audience I write for. I probably would not have felt compelled to write this, if I lived in Oz. (Curiously, I do live in Kansas City, near where the Wizard of Oz was written, but that's another story.) 

While an Australian is probably somewhat less likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for prostate cancer—and so the first part of this rant is less applicable to you guys—the big point, which is that motorcyclists support all kinds of charities that have nothing to do with us, while keeping our heads firmly in the sand when it comes to the medical research we should support.

Feel free to hate on my all you want, I'm all out of fucks to give, when it comes to pissing people off. 

Executive summary: The fact that motorcyclists just spent a precious weekend day raising money for prostate cancer research, instead of spinal cord injury research, is bullshit.  

Wasn’t the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride charming, on September 27? Think of all the money they raised for prostate screening. The thing is, the motorcycle industry could’ve just looked for prostate problems instead of funding high-tech screening apparatuses, because the motorcycle industry already has its head up its ass when it comes to choosing which 'charitable' causes it supports.

Don’t even get me started on the way prostate screening is part of a giant medical fraud, largely promulgated by the insane American for-profit “health care” industry (with assistance from drug companies in some places with otherwise-rational health care delivery systems, like the UK and Australia.)

According to the NIH: 
We can find microscopic evidence of prostate cancer in around half of 60-year-old men if we look hard enough. Yet only 3 in 1,000 will die from prostate cancer over the next 10 years. How can this be? Because prostate cancer isn’t just one disease: it’s a spectrum of disorders. Some forms of prostate cancer grow very rapidly and kill the men who have them. Some grow so slowly that, even without treatment, men die of something else before the cancer causes symptoms. And other forms look like cancer under the microscope but never grow at all or may regress spontaneously.

According to Dr. Otis Webb Brawley (Chief Medical and Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society):
A number of studies in the U.S. and Europe have shown that there is a type of prostate cancer that is localized to the prostate and of good prognosis, meaning it rarely progresses or causes harm if left alone.All of the organizations that set treatment guidelines based on the scientific evidence recommend that men diagnosed with this type of cancer be carefully observed. These cancers can almost always be effectively treated if found to be progressing. With careful observation, the majority of men will never need treatment and can be spared the burdens of unnecessary therapy.These low-risk forms of prostate cancer are commonly diagnosed through screening and commonly overtreated in the U.S. Indeed, the massive problem of overtreatment and the resultant large number of harms to the population is part of the reason that a number of respected organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Academy of Family Physicians now recommend against routine prostate cancer screening.
So if you’re one of the dandies who took part in the DGR last month, I hope you love your motorcycle, because to be clear: Encouraging screening in the U.S. equals encouraging unnecessary and overaggressive treatment in literally hundreds of thousands of cases per year. This wastes billions of dollars that would be better spent in other ways, not to mention this: The #1 complication associated with all aggressive prostate cancer treatment is loss of sexual function. 

It's possible that these 30-something hipsters think, "Oh, by the time you're 50 or 60 you don't want to have any more sex, anyway." But I'm here to tell you that you fucking do. In fact, most 50- and 60-something guys would rather have another decade or three of sex, even if it meant risking the remote chance they'd die from prostate cancer at 70, or 80, or 90... a year or two before they died of something else. 
Thousands and thousands of American men are treated for harmless cancers—and no, ‘harmless cancer’ is not an oxymoron—every year, generating $8,000,000,000 in revenue for hospitals, which is why the for-profit health care industry loves you Distinguished Gentlemen. Of the quarter-million men who’ll be treated for prostate cancer in the U.S. this year, roughly half—whether treated surgically or with hormone therapy—will never have another orgasm. The majority of them would have lived their entire natural lives happily fucking their wives and/or girlfriends (both if they were lucky) or their boyfriends, or at least the occasional hooker. Whatever! Then they'd've died of other causes, while their prostate cancer was asymptomatic.

Like I said, I hope you really love riding your motorcycle, because if the prostate cancer business—and that’s what it is, a business, that you provided a bunch of free advertising for—has its way, your motorcycle is all you're gonna' ride.

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2015 from TinMen on Vimeo.
I love this sexy video, but how ironic is it that all this is in promotion of prostate screening, which is one of the worst things that has ever happened to sex.

To be clear: I don’t really give a fuck whether you believe me, or you think I pulled these figures out of my ass. Because that long preamble was to get to a point that no motorcyclist can seriously argue against, and it’s this:

The only medical research the motorcycle industry and motorcycle community should be funding is spinal cord research. But we won’t fund it or talk about it because we’re terrified of admitting that a spinal cord injury can happen to any of us, any time we get on a motorcycle. 

Ask Wayne Rainey or Joan Lascorz, or Doug Henry or David Bailey if they worried about prostate cancer when they were racing. No way. But all of them wondered if they’d walk away from their careers when they were over, because every pro rider ponders the risks from time to time. 

So should recreational riders; almost 7% of all spinal paralysis is the result of motorcycle crashes. Considering the relatively small number of riders in total, it’s clear that being a motorcyclist dramatically increases your risk of paralysis. And here’s the thing: There’s a ton of promising research on spinal injury treatment; stem cells, electro-stimulation... we may well live to see the day when a spinal lesion doesn’t mean you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. And the three million bucks raised by you Distinguished Gentlemen could have made a real difference.

I’ve been arguing this for years now, and I’m so fucking tired of it that, at this point, I’ll just refer you to an older post if you want to read more, here.

Triumph got a ton of great PR by leveraging their involvement with the Distinguished Genitalmen’s Ride, and I get it, they’ll never put that effort into spinal cord research because it unsells bikes by reminding us all of the inherent risk and the worst-case-scenario. But I’m going to keep making this case until someone, somewhere, decides they’re going to look out for motorcyclists, instead of profits.

UPDATE: January 16, 2017

Guy Martin agrees with me.


  1. "Distinguished Genitalmen’s Ride" Really Mark? Genitalman, really?

    1. That darned autocorrect should've caught that, eh?

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  3. Seriously? If thousands of people from all over the world want to come together on ONE day of the year to raise money for a cause that they all (despite your opinion) believe to be important, then more power to them... Excuse my French, but who the fuck are you to tell people what they should and shouldn't be investing their time and money in? If you watch some of the content that has come from the DGR about people who have either lost loved ones or have lived through it themselves then you may have a different opinion.
    If you have issues with the US health industry, then take it up with them. The DGR is a bit of fun, a great driver for the global moto community, and a fantastic way for people to raise money in a way that also brings them enjoyment (not many charitable efforts can say that).

    There are 364 more days in the year, so maybe instead of spending so much time and effort captioning texts from manuscripts and medical documents that you probably don't understand, start your own ride and raise money for whatever you see fit.

    Good day to you, sir.

  4. Wow. What a strange blog post. ...How can you be so angry about some bikers doing something positive, simply because it isn't your personal idea of the "right charity". ...Now that you've elected yourself Dictator of the Motorcycle Universe, do you have any other dictats we should all adhere to, apart from which charities are worthy and which aren't? ...Bonkers. Why don't you concentrate your energy on doing something more positive. What a waste of bandwidth.

    1. You're a professional troll paid by Big Prostate, aren't you?

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    3. Mark, I think if anyone here is trolling, it has to be you.

      Riders chose to give their time for a charity they believe in, and through a theme they found entertaining and enjoyable. How many thousand people joined in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride across the world? I presume you did not. Whether it is because the style guides for the event were not to your taste, the cause was not your cup of tea, or whether you simply do not play well with others, I guess the reasons will only be known to you.

      It's great that you are such a vocal proponent for research into spinal injuries. So, now, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to donate a portion of your book/DVD sales to spinal injury research? Are you going to organise a charity ride to raise awareness of the dangers of spinal injuries, and to raise funds to further that research? Are you going to expand that ride beyond your local community and engage communities throughout the world to share in the effort?

      Or are you going to sit here and try and pick holes in someone else's idea which has achieved something I personally think is great.

      As the old saying goes - Put up, or shut up.

    4. Hi Mark, So I'm a Paid Troll? Interesting idea. Do cancer charities pay people like me to troll people like you? Really?
      Do you think you are a serious threat to Prostate Cancer funding and a worth such expense? All this post has done is show you to be self-important and paranoid.

  5. I've seen this behavior in many countries in the DGR, the typical old motorcyclist who was once leader, and now as ideas are not suggested by himself he is criticizing the move and speak ill of him, this article only demonstrates resentment and ignorance the author. get over it, your time is over. give way to new generations. the coming years will be worse because it took more strength and will be many more like him.

    And please Mark do not answer me with a comment so stupid and baseless as: "You're a professional troll paid by Big Prostate, aren't you?"


    1. You're a professional troll paid by Big Prostate, aren't you?

  6. Yep. 364 more days mate. To change your countries terrible health system or contribute to spinal research... Talk to us when you've done something other than bitch moaning and nut thumping.

  7. Classic sour idiot that would rather bitch on his blog than actually get out there and make a difference.


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  9. It's pretty obvious why I have never bothered to read your blogs and after reading this one I doubt I ever will again. Seriously, in a world full of so much hate, we have something positive offered by the riding community and because you don't agree with it's cause, you shit on it? If you are so passionate about spinal injury research, where is your global awareness and fundraising venture to support it? Of course it's much easier to sit in front of a keyboard and criticize the efforts of others. Piss poor form Mark. And no I'm not a professional troll. Just someone who is proud and admires the efforts a fellow Australian has made in this shitty world we live.

  10. Mark

    Why don't you get up off of your sorry fucking Arse and create yourself 'The Idiotic Douche-Bags Ride' where you and your mates can spend one day a year dressed up in your very best gimp outfits and ride your bikes to raise funds for spinal cord research rather than write shitty articles like this one with so many obvious glaring mistakes that clearly demonstrates my that you don't know the meaning of the word 'research'!

  11. In Australia, we have a number of charity rides. The Black Dog and Blue Ribbon Rides for depression. The Pink Ribbon Ride for breast cancer and Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.

    I know the founders of DGR and how it came about.

    And I hope the writer reads all the way to the end of this post. The story that follows is my story........

    G'day, I'm helping support the Distinguished gentleman's ride on Sunday 27th September. It raises money for an illness close to everyman's heart, prostate cancer.
    I lost my dad to this. And over the next few weeks, I'm going to write a bit about his last 18 months, from when he was diagnosed to when he passed away

    It's apt that today would have been my Dad's 74th birthday.

    Bob, was a strong, proud man. Drank like a fish (or a sailor), smoked like a chimney, never got sick. Former Major in the Army reserve, former accountant in the Commonwealth Bank and ran a very successful business up until just a few days before he went to hospital.

    Prostate cancer is meant to a have a few symptoms. Basically, not going to the toilet properly......but not always!

    I was helping my parents with some landscaping and the following day, my dad was complaining about a sore back. This back pain didn't go away. After a few days, my dad, went to the doctor for a referral to a physiotherapist.

    However, as my dad hadn't been to the doctor for about 30 years, yes 30!, it was decided that, maybe, an annual checkup would be a good idea.

    Of my dad went to the physiotherapist.......

    and to the pathologist......

    and anywhere else he'd been told to go.

    A couple of days later, he received a phone call from the doctor. .......

    The doctor said that all you tests have come back and were all normal....

    ...except for your PSA. It was about 2600, a new Australian record! My old man had developed a very very aggressive form of Prostate Cancer.

    He had NONE of the symptoms associated. Frequent urination, not feeling finished, leaking, a slow flow,or getting up frequently during the night for trips to the bathroom.

    There are two tests for prostate cancer. Firstly a blood test, depending on your age, depends on the number. My dad should have been no more than 7 and they get very concerned at 12.

    The other test is the DRE, DIGITAL Rectal Examination, or a finger up the date! frown emoticon You might remember Tim Matheson, Julia Gillard's bf, joking about this. Saying look for a doctor with small fingers.

    There are things in your life you remember where you were. Sept 11 (asleep on the lounge and woke up to the CNN broadcast), when Sydney won the Olympics (was on my way to the Opera house), and where I was when my mum rang, telling me my dad was sick. (I was in my car on my way home)

    At this stage we didn't know just how sick he was. More tests to come!

    I was the only time I've ever seen my mum, Lyn, drunk.

    Over the next couple of weeks my dad became a pincushion.

  12. The first thing that my dad had was an implant that stopped the production of testosterone. The reasoning behind this is shutting down testosterone production, slows down the spread of the illness. This once big proud man was having the thing that makes men, men turned off. His body hair started to fall out. He started to get mode swings, like a woman. The other thing this does is turns the male sex drive off, therefore making men impotent.

    Ladies, just think about that for a minute or about as long as your man lasts.

    Guys, think about that for the rest of your life! No more sex, ever. Your choices are sex and your life will be shorter or no sex and we can extend your life, but we aren't sure by how much.

    The next thing was a MRI, where he was injected with a "dye" that attaches to cancer cells. For those who have never had one of this, you lay down on a table that then slides you into a big tube. It's hot and loud and the dye creates a burning sensation.

    The results came back. The pain in his back was cancer in his spine......and his skull, hips, arms, every bone in his body.

    This was the first time I had ever seen him scared. He's just been told there is nothing we can do apart from chemotherapy.

    Life, if you could call it that was, no longer normal. It revolved around drugs, drugs to combat the side effects of the drugs, needles, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, "hillbilly heroin" (Oxycodone), and somehow during all of this he still ran a business.

    Plus did some renovations at home, with my help. I do think that this was that he knew he was dying, and wanted to take his mind of it.

    His week was; Monday, a blood test and chemo.
    Tuesday, a blood transfusion.
    Wednesday was a good day, nothing on!
    Thursday, a blood test and chemo.
    Friday, a blood transfusion
    Saturday, normally nothing, sometimes a blood test
    Sunday, nothing.

    The chemo knocked him around, would make him fall asleep at dinner, lose so much weight, destroyed his blood and bone marrow. And then there was the other drugs, some that when I hear those names, still rattle me today, prednisone being the worst one, it has a list of side effects as long as your arm! So there were then drugs to combat the side effects, one of the side effects of one of those side effect combating drugs was diabetes, combated with insulin. Plus there was pain, a lot of pain, that's where the Oxycodone came in.

    Once a week, one of the blood tests included a PSA test, they were using that number to see if what they were doing was working.

    They would start one type of chemo and it would start to knock the cancer about, and for a week or two it would respond, and start to lower! However this very aggressive cancer had other ideas, and the PSA level would start to rise again. So then, they tried something else.

    The lowest number I remember was 826, we had a party that night, we thought he had turned the corner! The following week, it came back with avengence!

    After about 13 months of this, my dad, was getting weak, mentally and physically. His immune system was just about shot, due to a luck of white blood cells.

    He caught Man Flu aka the common cold, which I think he picked up from me :( and was admitted into Royal North Shore, he never left there.

    One day, while my mum was out of the room, he asked me to look after his wife, the same promise that her father, had asked him only 3 years prior before he passed away. A promise that I still stand by.

    Shortly after he slipped into unconsciousness and never woke up.

    I clearly remember speaking to the doctor, asking what we could do. The doctor gave me two choices, both of which were going to kill him, but one was going to make it more comfortable.

    His signs had leveled out, so I decided to go home and look after their animals and house. Not long after getting there, I had a call from the hospital, he was dying! It was the fastest I've ever been in a car! However I just missed his last breath. He passed away at 2.03am with his wife of 37 years by his side.

  13. My mum wears his wedding ring, entwined with hers, like a russian wedding ring, permanently joined. Each ring contains an inscription, which is very apt for what has been done to the rings.

    I wear on my right hand, a gold ring, that was my dad's ring, and it was his dad's before that. It never leaves me.

    I hope this story makes every man to go and get tested, I've been getting tested since I was 30. Unless you have a family history, 40 is a good start.

    But, I also do hope that it makes everyone dig into their wallet, purse or money box, and flick a bit to DGR!

    I first met Mark Hawwa, the founder of DGR about 3 years ago, and heard about something called DGR about two years ago, and it was supporting prostate cancer.

    I don't own a bike that is the right style, but really really wanted to be involved! So you'll see me, down the rear, driving my ute, with the numberplate RG-0542. My dad's personal plate. I'll be picking up bikes that have broken down.

    I hope the blog poster starts something like DGR but for spinal research and guess what, I'd be around to help at that too!

  14. Let's agree with you, Mark, on what could be done (without casting any dispersions on what we shouldn't be doing). When is the inaugural event for your initiative to have the motorcycle community rally to support spinal research?

    Having read this post and your twice re-posted article that you linked, you do have strong feelings, and a history on this issue. Are you close to announcing? Or am I being naive and this post in the "pre" campaign.

    I'm am being sincere. I am sure many reading your article would agree that spinal research is important to us as a group, as well as human kind as a whole. However, I would have to suggest that anyone who did participate in the the DGR can continue to do so, until their calendar is so full of other events, that their conscience has to clash regarding which are more "worthy"…BUT that would have to be with some more comprehensive analysis than presented here.

    Again, I am enthusiastic about your spinal research initiatives, and look forward to posts on this. Until then, and you're an ad man, there's no merit in slinging mud…you just lose ground.

  15. Ok mate just cause you got the shits cause you couldnt ride in one doesnt mean that you can go and shit all over the event. The man who created it would be pretty pissed off and would most likely give you a smack up the side of the head with a brick. Get your head out of your arse and look the facts. Prostate cancer kills more than 'spinal cord' related injurys. But you are just too dumb to know that.

  16. First, stop being paranoid and think everyone reading you is from the big pharma. Second, what you are telling people is: "don't get checked! they might find something" - how weird! And Last: DGR is about funding non-for profit Prostate Cancer Research. Check your facts. And if research can end up with a more accurate blood test, why not? ... better that than telling people not to get checked.

  17. Hello Mark. I'm the lady in the video you posted from the DGR. Your post had a lot of interesting and great facts about spinal cord injuries once I got through the offensive name calling. The day before the DGR my husband (also in the video) and I participated in Project Walk, an aggressive type of therapy to get people with spinal injuries walking again. My best friend and many motorcyclist I know suffer from this horrible tragedy. That day I saw people walk for the first time since their injuries. I believe in this cause with all of my heart and feel that there is more as a motorcycle community we can and should do for it. I say this because I did both charities, project walk and the DGR and don't want to be labeled as a hipster that only donates to one cause. Many of us motorcyclist do multiple charitable things daily. Thank you for bringing light to a type of research and treatment that we need more focus on I just feel you could have achieved that in a more positive and activist way instead of passive aggressively labeling and making fun of all of us who participated. Any good cause is a cause to support not put down because you don't agree with it. I'm certain lives have been saved because of DGR and I don't mind supporting a cause that has that effect. I also don't mind being called a hipster for it, in fact I would welcome stereotype to do something for the good of others. Now let's do something positive and figure out a way we can raise money for spinal cord injuries because I really think you're onto something!

    Leticia Cline

  18. First, stop being paranoid and think everyone reading you is from the big pharma. Second, what you are telling people is: "don't get checked! they might find something" - how weird! And Last: DGR is about funding non-for profit Prostate Cancer Research. Check your facts. And if research can end up with a more accurate blood test, why not? ... better that than telling people not to get checked.

  19. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I agree 100%. I've been riding 25 years and not one day goes by where I don't think about spinal cord injuries or how to promote more agressive research. As a community we should do better. Too bad the poseurs, with their predictable waxed mustaches and vintage cafe racers feel so much butthurt simply from reading your opinion. Oh, the outrage!

  20. Hey HP. poseurs?? 80% of our ride was 40 - 60 yeard old working class and professional men you stupid dipshit. Were you actually there? And to the writer: The money goes to not for profit RESEARCH you fuckin peanut head. You know what that means? That means finding better ways to test for it. Here's a thought for both of you pin-headed idiots, if you are so concerned about spinal cord injury, and can't stop thinking about how to promote more aggressive research, why don't you do something about it and start a fundraising ride yourself instead of throwing your shit on people trying to make a difference by doing SOMETHING for other causes. Hell, why not just rip off the idea, and give the money to your charity? Or is it the actual spectacle that gets your back up? You do mention 'waxed moustaches' and 'cafe racers'. . Seems that's more of an issue to you than the actual cause. You repulsive, ugly, peanut-brained children. Eat a bag of dicks - you're outnumbered on this one, 37,100 to 2.

    1. Lighten up, Francis. And for the record, the Road2Recovery Foundation does great work and I have donated money and time to them in the past. You call this a Distinguished Gentlemans' Ride? You certainly are not a gentleman and you've only distinguished yourself by your petty insults and foul vocabulary. And I very well may qualify as ugly, but at least I have the courage to show my face along with my comments. Lastly, "Eat a bag of dicks?" What does that even mean? Is it bad?

    2. perhaps if you'd done your research before generalising that we're all hipsters with facial hair that take part in this ride you'd have realised that some of us are a little harder at heart and take offence to your bullshit comments about something you know a great deal less than zero about. It's one day a year that I will act gentlemanly. The rest of the days you can take me as I am. So you've donated a little time and money to one cause. What a fucking saint you are. Am I bagging your fat sports bike riding power ranger clad figure? Well I might do so now seeing as you felt the need to generalise about the type of people I mix with.

    3. and judging by that profile pic, I'd really have preferred you had followed my lead and chosen not to share your face with all of us. As they say, some things are better left to the imagination.

  21. Oh shit, it just clicked. You actually believe that because we are motorcyclists we should ONLY be fundraising for a cause that is directly related to motorcycling. Well here's some news you selfish prick, there are many people in the world that suffer from injuries, disease, poverty and injustice, and we as motorcyclists can raise money for whoever the fuck we want to. With your mentality I should stop attending the other yearly rides and motorcycle events that raise funds and donate to: Breast Cancer / Cancer / Youth Suicide / Mental Health / Toys for kids at Xmas / Abused Children / Veteran Groups / Oxfam / Heart Foundation. Perhaps a spinal injury ride is on the cards in future. Perhaps your approach could have been to get one going by contacting the organisers of DGR, being as they have managed to spread a campaign so so well around the world. But no, instead you sat on your ass in you ad exec office and bitched about others. Once again. Fuck you.