The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride has been something Godspeed Co. has followed, participated in, and supported for years now. In fact, a couple of us met on the NYC ride, became fast friends and now biz partners. Today, we're proud to support it all in a big way, with Chris now riding in Saratoga, Mike co-hosting NYC, and Allan capturing all the action in Hamilton, Ontario ... along with a very special edition of our Shop Rag Shirt! Tally Ho, indeed! - GSCo.
DGR 2020: RIDE SOLO, TOGETHER
Words: Mike Higgins Images: Mike, Allan, & Chris
In a normal year, the final Sunday in September sees the Distinguished Gentleman Ride descending upon towns and cities the world over. This charity motorcycle ride is both a showcase of the human spirit, as well as a spectacle of sheer humanity. From a few dozen in hamlets dotting the globe, to the throngs that make the Sydney, London and NYC events swell well past 1000 riders, each group is an eclectic collection of avid motorcyclists with a penchant for dapper dress and do-gooding. Yet, this is not a normal year.
A worldwide organization dedicated to men's health with an emphasis on prostate cancer and suicide prevention, the DGR is steadfast in their aim of raising awareness and funds, along with more than a few eyebrows. 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 Ladyfolk) trade the leather and Levi’s for tailored tweed, ties and the occasional top hat (when not donning a helmet, of course). The bikes too, trend 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. This combination of meticulous man and immaculate machine is what makes the ride stand out from the crowd. But what if there is no crowd?
With a pandemic causing challenges in all corners of the globe, amassing the DGR faithful this September 27th in the service of good health would seem counterproductive, if not reckless. The more than 650 different ride events that attracted over 150,000 riders worldwide last year are left wondering how to channel their collective philanthropic energy and obvious desire for some much needed camaraderie. "Ride Dapper," has always been the driving mantra. This year, it's been replaced by "Ride Solo, Together."
Some would argue that the current climate calls for these energies, and the funds they can generate, to be channeled toward more global concerns. But as the ride's focus has turned towards shining a light on mental health, it feels somehow even more prescient to fire up the motorbikes and cast the collective headlights directly on that issue. These times are difficult on everyone's state of mind.
What the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride does quite well is get men together, get them to open up a bit about their well-being, and to carry that message onto a global stage. That's been the strength of it since its inception. But one side effect, one that each rider that takes the effort to knot the tie and button up the tweed each year can attest to, is that it bolsters your own mental health just by participating. The Ride is therapeutic in itself.
Ride Solo, Together allows us to do just that. This year, the chance to get away from current surroundings, to get into your dapper duds, and to get out on the motorbike is the opportunity we all so desperately need. If even for a couple hours. Certainly, the spectacle that comes from the collection of tweed-clad motorists amassed in one spot will be missed. And the loss of gathering friends and fellow enthusiasts into an event unlike any other is a real shame. But the camaraderie can be duplicated. And it should be. In so many ways, this year is begging for us to pull together more than ever.
It will still be a shared experience. The power of social media will ensure we see old friends, meet new ones, and send our "loves" to them all. It will still create great moments, precious memories, and of course fantastic photographs. We can still follow the parade of all the dashing DGR faithful as the clock travels the globe. The only difference, this year we come together ... by staying apart.
This year's Distinguished Gentleman's "Solo" Ride is coming up, September 27th across the world. The Godspeed Co crew will be participating in New York City, Saratoga NY, and Hamilton Ontario. To register for your own Solo Ride, or to offer support, visit GentlemansRide.com