Indianapolis, IN – September 27, 2020 was a brisk Sunday morning with a hint of Fall in the air as riders gathered from all over Indiana to participate in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) taking place all over the globe on this date. Originated in Sydney Australia by founder Mark Hawwa in 2012, DGR has since become an annual event involving up to 110 countries worldwide and over 316,000 motorcycle riders – raising an estimated 27.2 million for men’s health since that first year.
After Mark saw a picture of actor Jon Hamm (as his character Don Draper from the television series Mad Men), astride a vintage Matchless motorcycle dressed dapper – an idea was born that inspired a movement. By combining the classic /custom motorcycle scene with community partners and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has grown into an annual fundraiser working in collaboration with the largest men’s health organization, Movember. This has fostered ground-breaking research and awareness in the battle against prostate cancer, plus working with men’s mental health programs including suicide prevention and guides to start well-being conversations. By the third year of the ride DGR had attracted the attention of Triumph Motorcycles who continue to support the event to this day as a global partner.
The whole premise for the ride is to have participates don dapper on the same day globally and ride through their cities spreading cheer and raising money for relevant causes surrounding men’s physical and mental health. The DGR does have a strict style guide suggesting a dapper theme of dressing the part (silk vests, tweed suits, riding pants, etc.) while also donning classic manners and behavior. Included in the style guide is a suggestion to the type of motorcycles they prefer to participate in keeping with the nature of the event: Cafe Racers, Bobbers, Classics, Modern Classics, Choppers, Brat Style, Trackers, Scramblers, Side Cars, and Scooters. Traditionally there is a fee to participate in a charitable riding event but not with DGR; there are no entry fees to participate but they do ask you to fundraise for the cause.
I decided to participate this year as a female rider and motorcycle enthusiast AND I have been blessed with great men in my life and feel it appropriate to support their physical and mental health. I went to the DGR website and signed up to start my fundraising. This year was being handled a little differently due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements – it was a ride solo event. Sign-up, create your fundraiser, blog about your fundraising and ride dapper on Sept 27th for at least a couple hours. Simple enough. I was quickly connected to the local DGR team – Ride Dapper Indianapolis and joined the team. The local DGR team had a day planned for participates to ride solo, together with the Dapper Ride for Gentlefolk.
Never having participated in this ride before, I wasn’t sure what to expect (especially with the new restrictions due to COVID). I wanted to get into the theme of the event (that’s the whole point, right?) so I made a mustache for my motorcycle headlight, put on my best Sunday clothes and rode down to the specified starting point. There was a scheduled meet and greet from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m with kickstands up at 11 and this gave us a little time to check out the motorcycles and enjoy a hot cup of coffee by Provider Coffee.
According to the Ride Dapper Indianapolis team page, there were 16 of us signed up to the team and the local ride was being sponsored/hosted by Indiana’s first flagship Triumph dealership, Triumph Indianapolis, which opened in February of this year and would be the finish line for today’s planned festivities. Upon arriving, there were around 25 motorcycles already lined up with more pulling into the lot and joining in. I had about an hour to walk around before everything got started which gave me an opportunity to check out the beautiful vintage bikes and meet some new people. I found everyone to be very welcoming and inclusive; you could tell that there were friendships formed in this group that would last a lifetime and the camaraderie was high.
After a quick welcome and run down by the organizers, kickstands promptly went up and we took off as a collective group to ride around the city being dapper. The route took the group along the East and South greenways of Indianapolis with a quick hour break in the quirky vintage burb of Fountain Square. I got the impression that in the past this hour would have been spent together as a whole but due to COVID this year, we were on our own for the hour to take in lunch or beverage or sites before meeting back at the scheduled time.
By the time we came back from break, more riders had joined the group and we had grown into 60+ participates! The sun had burned off the morning dew and it was time for the 2nd route of the day through the West and North greenways of Indianapolis before ending at our final destination, Triumph Indianapolis and Sun King Brewery for a cold beverage, event pictures, a private viewing of the new Triumph dealership, along with a couple fundraising announcement and prizes. A couple of items should be noted about the local ride and team Ride Dapper Indianapolis – this was one of the most professional and organized events I have ever attended or participated in as a rider. The organizers running the event had definitely taken the time to address the concerns of social distancing and COVID while riding solo for a great cause and still being inclusive as a group to have a fun day of fundraising and bring about awareness for Men’s physical and mental health. I would also like to state that team Ride Dapper Indianapolis raised $5,627 CAD and was 27th in fundraising out of 115 teams worldwide!
If you are a motorcycle enthusiast and/or rider, I would highly recommend checking out the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride next year. It’s a fun day of charity and community, along with dressing dapper, showcasing your ride, and celebrating the men we love and their continued good health!
Until next year, “Tally Ho!”