We experienced our first New York City Distinguished Gentleman's Ride last year and through a series of last minute events we ended up leading the pack of over 150 dapper riders alongside Chris Lesser of Union Garage NYC. It was a spectacular day of riding through Manhattan's streets starting in Tribeca, heading north to Central Park and eventually winding our way to the end at The Standard Biergarten. Naturally we met and shook hands with a dozen or so riders who expressed deep interest in helping future NYC DGR rides, two riders in particular who proved extremely valuable in the planning of the 2015 ride was Mike Higgins (recently featured in our 'Road To Handbuilt' blog post) and Kat Thomsen. Below is their recap of the 2105 NYC DGR as seen through the lens of photographer Geoff Barrenger (@Whitelinemotorcycle). -GSCo.
The cobblestones of New York’s City’s South Street Seaport have witnessed more than their share of memorable moments. Revolution comes to mind. But this past weekend saw an event like nothing the historic district has yet to host.
The oldest streets in Manhattan became the backdrop for one of the city’s newest and most intriguing sensations. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a worldwide organization dedicated to fighting Prostate Cancer by raising awareness and funds, along with more than a few eyebrows. The group is an eclectic collection of avid motorcyclists with a penchant for dapper dress and do-gooding. In the service of all these aims, they descended upon the Seaport on Sunday, September 27th.
A classier gathering of motorcycle and rider you’d be hard pressed to find. Bucking the usual stereotypes of the rough and tumble biker crowd, these Gentleman (and several Ladyfolk) traded the leather and levi’s for tailored tweed, ties and the occasional top hat (when not donning a helmet of course). The bikes too, trended toward the elegant, with beautiful examples ranging from British and European classics and vintage Japanese customs, to modern takes on the streamlined café racer style.
The combination of meticulous man and machine made for a spectacle not common for a Sunday morning at the tip of Manhattan. A similar scene played out on the very same day worldwide, with over 400 rides with upwards of 36,000 riders participating. As engines sparked to life across the globe, hearts raced, and above all else, spirits soared. There’s something about the Gentleman’s Ride that just puts a smile on the face of all who encounter it.
The NYC throngs assembling at the Seaport were joined by a noteworthy bunch from Union Garage in Brooklyn, swelling the final ranks to well over the 350 expected. Setting out on a Manhattan route to turn heads and stop traffic up and down the borough, the roar of the crowd could actually be heard over the engines (true gentlemen indeed). A trip to Lincoln Center and back, with sights set on causing a stir in Times Square, Washington Square, and any Square along the way was the aim.
Returning to the Seaport, the dapper lads and ladies dismounted for a celebratory finale. It seemed a fitting place to reassemble the troops–this historic spot that surely saw Washington climb off his own trusty steed after battle. The manner in which they conducted themselves is equally noble, but for these Distinguished Gentleman’s their uprising is against Prostate Cancer. Considering the totals raised exceeded $2.2 million worldwide ($78K for NYC alone), these rebels are rallying to their cause in great style.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia, is sponsored internationally by Triumph Motorcycles. The 2015 NYC ride was graciously supported by the Howard Hughes Corporation, the Seaport Culture District, and Ducati-Triumph NYC.