While an increasing number of grey nomads travel the Gibb River Road in WA’s Kimberley, most do it in a 4WD vehicle … not on a bike!
However, Ferg le Juge de Segrais is not most grey nomads. Having being diagnosed with prostate cancer as a 65-year-old in late 2021, Ferg spent much of last year recovering from surgery to remove the prostate gland and 13 pelvic lymph nodes.
He also went through 12 months of hormone treatment and 33 sessions of radiation. And, through it all, Ferg was determined that he would recover as quickly as he could and get back on the open road with wife Chris, and Blue Heeler ‘Dusty’.
He was also determined to do whatever he could to raise awareness of this ‘killer, often symptomless cancer that claims the lives of in excess of 3000 Aussie men each year’.
And so, the idea of a solo EMTB (e-mountain bike) charity ride along the iconic track was born. Ferg has driven the road many times since the 1970s, but this trip was to be very different.
“It took a little while for me to get the hang of the easiest way to ride the hills and dips which are the many flood-ways along this 693-kilometre journey,” said Ferg, who had Chris in support in the LandCruiser towing a caravan.
The journey had its fair share of adventures, including the caravan getting temporarily stuck crossing the Pentecost River after its drawbar became grounded by some large rocks. However, there were many more highs than lows.
“After numerous wonderful experiences and having spoken about my cancer journey in group settings and communal campfires, we finally rolled into Birdwood Downs which was the end of my charity ride,” said Ferg.
“I had ridden 693 kilometres on bitumen sections and often corrugated gravel with sharp rocky surfaces through the ranges.”
But it was very much ‘mission accomplished’.
To date, Ferg has raised $7,400 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and he continues to urge men to get checked for the disease.
“It’s just a blood test,” he said. “If you’ve avoided this test till now, please see your GP for a blood test form immediately … if diagnosed early, this cancer can be cured.”
Click here to read more about Ferg’s cancer journey, or to donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia.
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