Bicycling Helps Keep Cancer in Check

by Robert Warren Hess

In this post, I’m going to tell you how I began cycling and how it plays a key role in my cancer recurrence prevention plan. My goal with these posts is to give cancer survivors tools and encouragement you can use on your cancer journey.

picture of Cancer Journeys Foundation Founder Robert Warren Hess

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer just over 13 years ago. At that moment, I joined the ranks of 14 million other Americans who are ‘cancer survivors.’

The picture at right is me working with my prostate cancer awareness program at the 2016 California Senior Games. You’ll read in a moment why I’m in a bicycling outfit.

I read all of the statistics about prostate cancer stages and survival statistics. I was surprised when I could only find 5 year survival statistics. Those statistics were good. 98% of prostate cancer survivors lived for 5 years after their treatment. But, I thought, what happens after those 5 years? How about statistics for 10 years? 15 years? And what could I do to prolong my survival because once my treatment was completed there wasn’t much guidance or interaction.

I decided to read everything I could from those that preceded me and then create my own cancer battle plan. I found that the cancer recurrence risk elements within my control were mental attitude, my eating habits, and exercise.

I had been a lifelong runner so I added that to my battle plan. But a few years earlier my younger sister and her husband (Les owns the East Coast Bicycle Academy) introduced me to bicycle racing and I loved it. So bicycling became a key cancer prevention tool.

Since my treatment in May of 2003, I have risen more than 27,680 miles. Those hours on my bike were – and are – precious quiet time for my mind. Setting goals and reaching them provide a reason to continue to stay fit and they quantify what I’m doing for myself. Bicycling may be able to do the same for you.

Today at the 2016 California Senior Games wasn’t my best performance ever – 5th out of a field of 8 in my age group. But, it was a fantastic day: in the middle of El Dorado Park, the weather was perfect, competing with 50 some other cyclist, at least five of whom are cancer survivors – I call us Cancer Journeyers – like me.

So, I call the day a complete success?

Can Cycling Play a Role in Your Cancer Journey?

I think it probably can. There are so many ways to enjoy bicycling. And it doesn’t mean that you need to compete.

I’ve been asked many times about how to buy a bicycle, so I’m going to do a series of posts to answer your questions.

What’s Your Biggest Hurdle to Getting Started with Bicycling?

Post your question below and I’ll do a post on it.

As the French always say in the Tour de France – Allez!

Until next time . . .

Warm regards and keep the rubber side down.

Robert Warren Hess and board members at Solvang Century bicycle ride