A Decade of Dapper For A Worthy Cause
Full disclosure: I lost a lifelong friend and fellow motorcycling mate to prostate cancer back in 2012. I myself am a three-time bladder cancer survivor (so far). Recently, we learned an old high school classmate of my wife’s committed suicide.
This is personal to me.
The 10th-annual international Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride for men’s cancer and mental health was back on for 2021, having moved to Sunday, May 23 worldwide. I joined in on the Atlanta ride, among hundreds of like-minded and dapper-dressed men and women riders. A great ride, among great people, astride great motorcycles, for a great cause. And it was a perfect, beautifully sunny spring day in north Georgia, USA. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride was birthed in the heart and mind of Mark Hawwa and several of his riding mates in Sydney, Australia back in 2011, who conceived the idea of conducting a benefit ride for male prostate cancer. They came across a photo of fictional “Mad Men” character Don Draper, astride a vintage Matchless motorcycle in coat and tie, and the theme of well-dressed, “dapper” riders on classic motorcycles was born. Supporting the Movember Foundation for Men’s Health, the DGR has grown to encompass over 340,000 registered riders in 107 countries across the globe, raising over $27.45 million (USD) to date. With the support of sponsors Triumph Motorcycles, Belstaff, Hedon Helmets, ELF Products, among others, the DGR is making a difference in the lives of men and their loved ones the world over.
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer afflicting men worldwide, and has proved deadly for far too many, for a condition so easily treatable when caught early. In these increasingly trying times across the world, men’s mental health is a major concern as well, with men 3 to 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women. On the overall average, male life expectancy is 6-8 years shorter than women, with men’s years averaging 75.1, whereas women’s years average 80.5.
The Atlanta ride of the DGR saw 297 registered riders participate, astride all kinds of vintage, classic, antique, or “modern classic” motorcycles. In only its second year back after a few years off, then returning after COVID shut the rides down last year, the Atlanta event made up for the lost time with much fanfare- Triumph demo bikes, live music, craft breweries, local restaurants and a plethora of drawings, prizes, giveaways, and awards to the riders who had accrued the highest donations. Our ride began and ended at the Wild Heaven Brewery in south Atlanta, and followed a winding course up through the downtown district, through north Atlanta suburbs, around the Atlanta Zoo/History Center/Cyclorama district, and looping back to the brewery after a stop at Young Augustine’s in north Atlanta for beverages and photos. With Atlanta Police control riders, lead and sweep ride marshals, and well-adhered to behavior on the part of all the participants, the whole entourage safely navigated through the dense Atlanta metro and urban community before returning for awards, recognitions, music, prizes, food and drink. A “splendid affair”.
In this age of division, animosity, growing intolerance, and even spreading violence, the DGR epitomized everything a society can and should be. Men and women, young and old, wealthy and working class, every ethnicity, every cultural and political persuasion, all riding together, sharing a common cause, focusing on our commonalities rather than our differences. We rode, we talked, we enjoyed the day together. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
For more information on how you can “Support the Gentry” causes, visit the official DGR website-
Check out our ride video, without even leaving this page-