Mike Kopot Ready to Ride (Again)

Published Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mike Kopot Ready to Ride (Again)

Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad presented by PDR Contracting Roars Up Arthur Street June 15

by Graham Strong

For Mike Kopot, riding is mostly a solitary thing. Getting on one of his bikes – these days, it's a Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic – is about hitting the open road, relaxing, and enjoying the scenery. He likes to take the Devon Road run from Silver Mountain Station down to the border, just to get his blood flowing on those crests and hairpins.

“It's not for the faint of heart,” Mike said. “I usually ride it once a year, just to scare the crap out of myself. It's a 48-kilometre test of your skills.”

That's not to say camaraderie isn't part of riding. In fact, he's been riding in the Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad in support of prostate treatment and research since 2007. Mike enjoys meeting with people before and after the poker run.

“To me, that's where the camaraderie comes in,” Mike said. “Bike riders are like sport fishermen – we all have a story to tell. Some of them are even true.”

Mike first got his licence in 1973 when he was 17 years old, though he stopped riding for a time and got back into it about 20 years ago. Some of his buddies mentioned the Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad, and he was immediately interested in the ride and the festivities. But he also had a personal connection: three of his uncles on his mother's side had prostate cancer, and one succumbed to it.

“That prompted me to take up the cause. The ride sounded fun in itself, but gathering pledges – that had family meaning to me.”

About a year ago, Mike had a scare himself.

“For 16 years, I've been raising funds for something I never thought I'd need myself,” Mike said. “Then last year, I started having problems with my prostate, and I found myself sitting across from Dr. (Hazem) Elmansy. It felt full circle.”

It turned out Mike didn't have cancer, but he did have a severe case of benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH that required surgery. 

“He took out about 80 per cent of my prostate,” Mike said. “Rather than a walnut, I had a Sunkist orange sitting in there. He told me, ‘Mike, I'm going to give you the prostate you were born with.' And I said, ‘That's great! But will I be able to ride my bike this year?'”

Mike learned firsthand about the world-class urology services available in Thunder Bay.

“The procedure I had, he and one other doctor in Montreal are the only two in Canada who do it,” Mike said. “We're very, very fortunate to have Dr. Elmansy and the other urologists (at Superior Urology Clinic) here in Thunder Bay.”

That was in November. Today, Mike is back on his bike and ready to roll in this year's Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad presented by PDR Contracting once again.

The 2024 Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad presented by PDR Contracting takes to the road Saturday, June 15, 2024. Every year, over 200 motorcyclists ride a poker run of the city and area. The day starts with a buffet breakfast at the Superior Inn (formerly the Victoria Inn) parking lot and a Roar for the Cure parade down Arthur Street. Lunch is available at one of the route stops along the way, and the day rounds out with an Awards Ceremony back at Superior Inn.

For more information: www.ridefordadtbay.ca



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