The positives of biking: How two wheels helped one man's cancer recovery

Nigel Hart with his Kawasaki Versys
Nigel Hart with his Kawasaki Versys

When #ride5000miles member Nigel Hart learned he had prostate cancer two-years-ago he used his love of biking to boost his recovery.

“I had always pined for a motorbike, but my wife had always said ‘no’,” Nigel explained. “Then, within the space of a few days in the summer of 2017, I heard that two of my friends had received devastating diagnoses.

“I was in a bad state when I got off the phone and my wife took one look at me and said: ‘Go and buy your bike.’”

A week later, Nigel had a Honda CB125F in the garage. Three months later, he had passed his test and purchased a Triumph Tiger 1050.

Nigel's first big bike was a Triumph Tiger 1050

Nigel found the Tiger hard to hold up and experienced a couple of tumbles, before swapping to a Suzuki V-Strom 650, which he thought might be more manageable.

“It seemed odd that I was not as strong as I used to be,” the Fife rider continued. “That’s when I went to the doctors and got my own diagnosis.”

The retired engineer was determined to tackle the illness head on; incorporating biking into his treatment regime. Part of this was to be a month of radiotherapy at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre – a distance of 25 miles each way by motorcycle.

Nigel also decided to take up knitting in the hospital waiting room, after discovering his local church needed poppies producing for the upcoming Remembrance Day service.

Nigel now owns a Suzuki V-Strom 650

“The staff had never seen anyone turn up in full bike gear and proceed to take out his knitting and I became something of a celebrity,” he said.

Before long, the whole room was involved and, a month later, Nigel handed over 50 poppies to Dunfermline Abbey.

“Having the bike there was hugely positive and every time I go into the garage and see Lily the V-Strom sitting there I recall the smiles and amazing medical team. All things are progressing well and looking good.”

Looking back on the experience, Nigel went on to say: “Biopsies and treatment are ruddy ‘orrible, but you get through them and the earlier your diagnosis, the easier will be your treatment.

“You’ll still be riding on tarmac rather than clouds. Guys, book a blood test – particularly if you are over 50. Girls, if he won’t book it, then do it for him.” You heard the man!

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