UPDATED OCTOBER 10: It didn’t take much to convince TV presenter and bike fan James Tobin to take part on the Long Ride to Uluru to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
“Like everyone, I’ve had people close to me affected by cancer – some who have survived and some who haven’t,” says the 34-year-old weather presenter on Weekend Sunrise, reporter on Sunrise and host of Beauty and the Geek Australia starting in October.
James rode a Harley-Davidson Project Rushmore Street Glide and presented segments on Sunrise along the route of the eighth annual Long Ride.
“Cancer affects so many people around the world, but the difference with prostate cancer is it doesn’t get quite as much attention as other forms.”
Long Ride founder Chris Dunne contacted James to lead the ride because he knew of his love for riding.
“It was just after I had finished the Tour to Cure pushbike cycling tour – l love riding pushbikes, anything on two wheels,” he says.
James was joined by 414 riders from across Australia who hit the road recently, travelling over seven days from capital cities and meeting at Uluru. Along the way, they helped raise awareness about prostate cancer and more than $300,000 much-needed funds to support families affected by the disease.
MotorbikeWriter first met James several years ago on a Harley ride to Margaret River for the annual HOG Rally. He has been a Harley ambassador for about six years and is “loving it” he told us before the ride.
“I started riding about 2000. I got my licence and bought a motorbike before I told anyone. I thought if I tell my family first they might try to turn me against it,” said James whose first bike was a 250 Suzuki Intruder.
“Cruisers have always been where it’s at for me. I love the look and everything. My first Harley was a Rocker S which they don’t make anymore, but I just loved the design. It’s still my favourite. I’ve always been attracted to shiny chrome and a guttural engine noise.
“I’ve just swapped from a Breakout to the Street Glide mainly because it’s a 300km ride out to Uluru. The colour is called Amber Whisky, but I call it Outback Orange or Uluru Orange.
“I haven’t done a long touring ride before, just Sydney to Melbourne, so I’m really looking forward to being on the road for an extended period of time, just taking the bare essentials and being out on the road with a big group of riders.
“I’m fully aware of the risks and in life there is a risk-versus-reward graph. The reward is that this is such a great way to see the country, so it far outweighs the risk.”
He says he’s never asked his bosses at Network Seven about riding. “It’s better to not ask, but in my job doing the weather I’ve been put in some pretty precarious positions and so far nothing has gone awry.”
James has been in the US recently shooting promotions for his new TV show and says he would love to do a big American ride on a Harley. “Maybe right across the country. That’s why I’m looking forward to doing a big ride like this.”
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia boss Anthony Lowe says the Long Ride provides an opportunity to highlight the fact that men in rural and regional areas have a 21% higher prostate cancer mortality rate than men in capital cities.
“It provides a great opportunity to raise awareness in areas which are often under-resourced or unequipped to assist men with a prostate cancer diagnosis,” he says.
The Long Ride 2014 Dates
Sunday September 28: Ride begins in Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Townsville