WINCHESTER – The timing has never been right for Ken Alcock.
A 22-year member of Canada’s military, he retired the uniform a few years ago and pulled himself into a hobby, which he mixed in with his new career in the communications and electronics field.
Motorcycles have always been a desire for Alcock, and it was 2012 when he was finally “allowed” to own one.
“I’ve always wanted to ride, so six years ago I started… Call it a midlife crisis,” he said with a laugh.
In reality, it came after time served overseas, not on the frontlines, but certainly within striking distance of conflict in those warzones abroad.
Alcock’s wife, Cindy, who had long been hesitant of her husband’s desire to hit the highway on two wheels, finally relented.
“It was simple, really. It came after Afghanistan, and I was so thankful that Ken did not come home with PTSD or any sort of injury,” she said. “I saw the motorcycle as a sort of therapy for him.”
And it has been that and more for the 51-year-old Alcock after a prostate cancer diagnosis earlier this year.
It’s this reason that he is so eager to support this weekend’s Telus Ride for Dad.
On Sat., June 2, more than 1,500 riders are expected to take part in the event, which sets out from Ottawa’s Canadian Aviation and Space Museum at 8:30 am. From there, the ride continues to the Canada Post headquarters in the south end of the city before snaking through the countryside, hitting Russell, Chesterville, Finch, Ingleside and Iroquois, before the finish line in Winchester at the Joel Steele Community Centre.
While Alcock cannot take part, only weeks removed from surgery to eliminate the cancer from his body, he will be part of the honour guard that sees riders off in the city and then welcomes them to the village later in the day.
This collection of individuals is made up of prostate cancer survivors and the family members of people who have had the disease.
“Beyond supporting the riders, we can help promote awareness of the disease,” Alcock said. “It’s the importance of talking, of being aware. This is not a genetic disease – it can hit anyone.”
The ride started in Ottawa in 2000 with 80 motorcycle riders raising $20,000. Since then, it’s grown considerably, with 1,300 participants generating $230,000 last year and more than $4 million in its time. It has also spawned other versions throughout Canada, including rides featuring ATVs, snowmobile, and watercraft.
Participants will be stopping at the Joel Steele Community Centre for lunch, with upwards of 1,000 people expected to see what Winchester has to offer.
The village’s Main Street will be closed between Bailey and Howard Streets from 12 to 4 pm to allow for arrival and departure of the riders.
For details, visit www.ridefordad.ca.