“This is our year to ride solo, together.” — The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride web site.
2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. OK, let’s be honest. 2020 has sucked! Many of our favorite motorcycle events, rides, campouts, etc., have been canceled due to COVID-19. And yes, I’m well aware there are bigger things to be concerned with in life than moto events. I know, and that’s specifically what I’m here to discuss.
What is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in Sydney, Australia, by Mark Hawwa. He was inspired by a photo of the character Don Draper on the TV show “Mad Men” astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way to connect niche motorcycle enthusiasts and communities while raising funds to support issues such as prostate cancer research, (the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among men), suicide prevention and men’s mental health.
Any other year, organized rides take place in cities around the globe. Riders on retro or vintage bikes, dressed in their finest, register for the event, donate to the cause, do fundraising efforts and get together for the group ride. This year will be different.
“The 2020 ride will be a solo event to comply with all local social distancing restrictions,” the organizers announced. “We are maintaining a consistent global message that there will be no mass-participation event — but just because we’re not riding in groups doesn’t mean we’re not riding! 2020 is our year to prove how connected and caring we are.”The event will take place across the globe on Sunday, September 27, but through thousands of individual rides, not large groups.
What’s it like?
For the past few years, I’ve attended the DGR event with a handful of friends and it’s always been a great experience. The day starts by putting on my snazziest suit and then climbing aboard my Triumph Thruxton to meet the gang. (I’m happy that everyone actually participates in the “dressing up” part of this event. I can’t tell you how many costume parties I’ve been to where I’m the odd man out… come on!) The ride is filled with a sea of incredible vintage bikes, the most Dapper Dans you’ve ever seen, and moto enthusiasts, riding for a purpose.
You’ll always find a sea of Triumphs, Ducatis, cafe racers, and a variety of vintage machines at the DGR event. This small row seen here was only the beginning of the incredible numbers seen at the 2019 event. Photo by Brandon Wise.
This year, riders will still dress up, have fun and raise funds, but they’ll be doing it solo. Personally, I think the DGR team is making the right decision by making this year’s event a “solo” ride. No matter what you think or where you stand with COVID-19, this will help keep riders safe and honor social distancing restrictions across the world.
Those of us who still wish to meet friends for a ride can do so and maintain a social distance while enjoying each other’s company. I’ll be meeting a much smaller group wearing my Sunday best for the ride. We’ll all be connected via Bluetooth and we can still raise awareness for a great cause. Trust me, when people see a bike with a sidecar and a motorcyclist wearing a suit, they generally inquire about what you’re up to. I just tell them we’re going to church… No, wait, just kidding. We’re raising awareness here. Tell them the truth.
With all the events that have been canceled, with all the uncertainty of the times, the DGR is one event you can still be part of while riding your favorite two-wheeled machine, complying with social distancing guidelines, and donating to a great cause. You can sign up to add your contribution on my fund raising page sponsored by DGR.
Here’s the link https://www.gentlemansride.com/rider/GregoryOrmson288222