Early testing and discussion on men’s health issues keeps you on the road of life.
For Brooklyn born and raised moto enthusiast Paul McManus, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) – and its fundraising support for prostate cancer research – hits very close to home.
The now 61-year-old retired FDNY fire marshal tested positive for ‘the second most diagnosed cancer in men’ almost a decade ago, but early detection and treatment gave him a new lease on life.
“I believe that early testing and detection is extremely important – I was diagnosed at a relatively young age,” says McManus, who plans on riding in his first NYC DGR this coming September. “In my case, there weren’t any palpable tumors, as my cancer was still in the chemical stage. If it hadn’t been picked up by a PSA exam, who knows if I’d be here to do this interview. Prostate cancer is a slow-moving cancer, but it can still be deadly.”
The PSA test is a blood test, used primarily to screen for prostate cancer, that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man's bladder.
“I was originally diagnosed, at 52 years of age, with prostate cancer in January 2009. After a few months of educating myself and seeking opinions for treatment, I opted for a robotic prostatectomy at NYPRESB Hospital. Since the surgery, I go for a yearly physical, which includes a PSA test, and my number is consistently low.”
I believe that early testing and detection is extremely important – I was diagnosed at a relatively young age. In my case, there weren’t any palpable tumors, as my cancer was still in the chemical stage. If it hadn’t been picked up by a PSA exam, who knows if I’d be here to do this interview. Prostate cancer is a slow-moving cancer, but it can still be deadly.
Now a resident of Long Island, McManus has been married for 40 years and has three children and two grandchildren.
“I have been a proud member of the NYC Fireriders MC since 2001, a club comprised of retired and active NYC Firefighters,” he said, adding his current stable of bikes includes a 2016 BMW R 1200 GSA, a 2013 Yamaha FJR1300 and 2009 Harley-Davidson Road Glide.
McManus remembers his own childhood and teen years spending time at his parents’ summer cottage in Lake Hopatcong, NJ, where he developed his love for motorbikes. His 25-year firefighting career was exclusively centered in Brooklyn. He didn’t go for his motorcycle license until 2000, six years before his retirement.
Now motorcycling is a welcome freedom.
“I enjoy getting off Long Island and riding outside the city limits. There are great motorcycle roads beginning less than an hour away, excluding the inevitable NY area traffic. I frequently head north up the Hudson towards Bear Mountain, passing through Harriman State Park along the way. From there the options and routes are limitless: continue north to the Hudson Valley; northwest to the lower Catskills; or west/southwest towards the Delaware River, western NJ and Pennsylvania. I try to avoid the interstate as much as possible.”
Talking to people who’ve experienced the disease is one of the best ways to bring awareness to others. This disease not only kills, but the treatment can cause other complications afterwards. Having as much information in advance is key to making the right decision.
He even recently took a local ADV bike course to learn how to ride his GSA off-road.
“I hadn’t been on a dirt bike since I was a teenager. Parts of the course were challenging, in particular, the muddy single track. But I believe that the course gave me the tools that I need to practice, which will help me ride off road with greater skill and confidence.”
On the men’s health side, McManus says discussion and education are key to encouraging all men to get tested for prostate cancer in their late 40s and early 50s.
“Talking to people who’ve experienced the disease is one of the best ways to bring awareness to others. This disease not only kills, but the treatment can cause other complications afterwards. Having as much information in advance is key to making the right decision.”
And a healthy retirement affords you the opportunity to reach for life goals.
“I have no definitive plans for a ride as I’m winding down a two-month long home renovation,” McManus says. “However, I’ve been giving some serious thought about heading west – Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming ¬– in early September. Also, my family is planning a trip to Turkey next summer. I’m considering shipping my bike there beforehand, overseas, and riding through Europe, meeting them in Istanbul when they arrive. That’s been a long-time dream of mine.”
For more information on the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – to participate, volunteer, or even donate, visit the global site at gentlemansride.com or the NYC Facebook event page.