Thursday, February 2, 2023
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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride: bikers reunited for a good cause

Seems like a shot from a movie, doesn’t it? 

Well, close guess. There is a beautiful photo of Don Draper, the character of the TV series Mad Men [AMC, 2007-2015], played by Jon Hamm, riding a 1957 Matchless wearing his finest suit. 

And then there is the inspiration: looking at the photo, an Australian biker from Sydney, Mark Hawwa, had the vision of erasing the prejudices that those outside the community tend to attach to bikers.

That they are a grisly, leather-clad group of guys riding around together, almost as a gang, doing reckless and violent actions. 

In 2012, Hawwa’s vision became reality when he founded The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), a themed ride born with the explicit aim of combating the negative stereotypes of men on motorcycles while bringing together niche riders’ communities together.

The evolution of DGR

The first ride brought together 3,000 riders across 64 cities.

The success of the event encouraged Hawwa to think of how it could be used to support a worthy cause. Thus, the goliardic event was soon enriched with new meaning: in 2013, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride became a charity event to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.

The renewed DGR in its second edition brought together 11,000 riders across 145 cities, raising the fantastic amount of $277,000 AUD.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride reached its 10th year of activity in May 2021, with over 65,000 riders and reaching the milestone of raising over $30M USD for men’s health

With every passing year, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride became more and more popular, achieving to spread its influence in over 100 countries where motorcycles lovers meet and ride together for good causes

The most successful DGR edition was the one of 2018, which took place in 648 cities and raised $6,100,000 AUD, proving how dedicated riders are to making positive change.

The pandemic challenge

After 8 incredible editions, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride had to come to terms with the global pandemic.

But nothing could stop the two-wheeled community to ride for charity.

The 2020 edition took place under a new format, the ‘Ride Solo, Together’: riding socially distanced, in respect with the local anti-covid regulations, but all together in the same day.

The global connection of the 2020 edition was facilitated by the internet, the official website gave directions on how to upload and share photos.

Moreover, it was possible to access a live map where riders could see photos of the event shared across the world.

Social media played an important role in keeping the spirit and message of the event alive and central in everyone’s mind: besides riders’ use of their social profiles, DGR’s official partners promoted hashtags to invite people to follow the necessary restrictions but without forgetting why they were riding.

For instance Triumph, the official DGR partner, through the hashtags #DGR2020 e #ForTheRide, pushed motorcycle lovers to interact and connect with one another while solo riding.

Rewards for participants

Furthermore, for the occasion, Triumph had donated 4 Modern classic motorcycles to the 3 highest fundraisers globally as well as to the winner of the Gentlefolk competition, rendering the 2020 edition even more exceptional. 

May be an image of motorcycle
Gibson and Triumph partnered up and created a 1959 Legends custom edition Les Paul Standard Reissue and a Bonneville T120 with beautiful hand-detailed custom touches, designed and applied in Triumph’s factory workshop. These will be offered as the highest fundraiser reward for the 2022 ride. This one-of-a-kind prize comes complete with a bespoke 1959 Legends Editions certificate of authenticity, signed by Triumph CEO Nick Bloor, and Cesar Gueikian, Brand President of Gibson Brands. Source: Triumph

Every DGR comes with different prizes: the Gentlefolk Prize, the Highest Fundraisers, the 2nd Highest Fundraiser, the 3rd Highest Fundraiser, the Top 50 Global Fundraisers, the Top 20 Global Fundraisers, and the 7 Day Sprints.

Particularly interesting are the Gentlefolk Prize and the 7 Day Sprints.

Introduced in 2020, it is easy to participate in the Gentlefolk competition: after having created a personal account on the official website, riders just need to make donations to unlock the Gentlefolk badges in their rider dashboards to have the chance to be drawn to win the prizes.

The 7 Day Sprints is a period of seven weeks during which everyone has the ability to win prizes: to participate, you will have 7 days to fundraising as much as possible, and at the end of each week the highest fundraiser(s) is/are crowned as winner(s).

The fun part is that each week is different from the previous ones, so the prizes up to grabs are not disclosed until the week’s fundraising begins.

Sponsors & Partners

All the amazing rewards, as well as the general organization of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, are made possible thanks to its partners and sponsors.

Among its most consistent partnerships, there is the aforementioned one with Triumph Motorcycles, which has joined DGR for 9 consecutive years, and the one with Movember, the official charity partner since 2016.

Movember participants, known as Mo Bros and Mo Sisters, sign up on movember.com and then choose to Grow a mustache, Move by walking or running 60 miles throughout the month, Host a Mo-ment by gathering friends or create their own challenge with Mo Your Own Way.

Movember is a charity organization, independent from government funding, that has the objective of tackling men’s health on a global scale.

In particular, they fund projects around the world to address some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate and testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

What DGR does in connection with its partners is an incredibly important work that could not be made possible without the participation of passionate riders all around the world, who rides for the people they love.

A great number of the men and women who take part at the DGR are or have been personally impacted by those health issues that are at the core of the ride’s mission.

It is touching and inspirational to check out some of these stories: it makes us realize how important is to be united and work all together to raise awareness for men’s mental health and cancer. 

Style matters

And the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride achieves its mission with a great deal of style, which is why following the dress and bike code is mandatory: vintage and classic.

The DGR is an occasion to dress up and to bring to new life the elegant fashion of the past: smoking, ties, and mustaches.

But being eccentric and having some fun is not out of the ordinary for the ride: from wearing traditional clothes such as a kilt to reinventing some old-fashion style by mixing it with new trends, every rider brings their personal touch.

And ‘vintage and classic’ are the keywords for the motorcycles as well.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is all about classically designed motorcycles: Café Racer’s, Bobber’s, Classic’s, Tracker’s, Scrambler’s, Old School Chopper’s, Modern Classic’s, Sidecar’s, Classic Scooter’s, and Brat Styled bikes are the ones you can ride. 

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2022 edition
Photo source: canva.com – Author: Spencer Cook

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2022 edition

So, what are you waiting for?

Take out your best suit and your classic motorbike, because this year, we ride all together again.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2022 edition will take place in cities around the world on Sunday, May 22nd

So far, the DGR accomplished to raise $31,5 million USD for men’s health.

Let’s join the ride and be part of the change.

Marica Felici
Marica Felici
Writer at RnT, anthropologist and historian, I am a hopeless wanderluster. I've been traveling since I was a child, and growing up my desire to explore far and wide couldn't be stopped. My biggest dream was to travel in the United States, and I did it for a while – but, honestly, not enough. Next time, you will see me on a Harley-Davidson wandering Route 66. In the meantime, I work as a freelance writer and translator, and I do what my heart wants the most: traveling the world.

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