Distinguished Ride

DGR, LTR #435

In just a few years since its inception, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has raised over US$50million worldwide for Men’s Health…what an effort!

Feature: Pugs

Since its inception back in 2014, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) has become a worldwide phenomenon. It was the brainchild of Mark Hawwa after seeing a photo of TV Show Mad Men’s Don Draper on a classic motorcycle wearing his finest suit. From this, Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way of connecting niche motorcycle enthusiasts and communities while raising funds to support men’s health. In that time, the DGR has raised over $50million and continues to grow every year.

So after running it in the magazine the past few times, when Marcel, LTR’s Marketing Manager said we should join the Sydney ride, I thought, why not, it’s fair time I put my hat in the ring and showed support to such an important cause. We thought we’d make a weekend of it too, along with having a bit of a laugh, which is why it all started in the ritzy Four Seasons hotel in the Rocks on the Saturday. Of course the transition from my usual riding gear to ‘court attire’ the morning of the ride was ‘something to behold’, as Marcel described it. It was all good though, we weren’t on our way to court, instead we were heading out on what was promising to be a great ride.

By the time we rolled into the grounds at Moore Park, it was clear this was going to be a huge event, with already hundreds of bikes gathered. And talk about a varied collection of motorcycles, from vintage to old classics, custom choppers, scooters and everything in between. So after meeting just after 9am, the next hour was spent watching a few more hundred bikes roll in, with the final number just shy of 1000. There were a few bikes on display from some of the sponsors too, which quite a few people were checking out, along with some deals to be found amongst the clothing stalls.

Lucky there was something to keep people occupied though, because it took a while for the ride to actually get underway, but once it did, everyone seemed more than keen to get amongst it, including Marcel, who quickly positioned himself at the front of the gathering pack. Only problem was, once we got going, we soon realised we’d tucked ourselves in behind all the scooter riders, who seemed to have been given the privilege of leading the run. Let’s just say once I got used to the smell and sound of all the two-stroke scooters humming along beside me, it was at least bearable. But that’s the drawcard of such an event like the DGR, it may predominately revolve around old classic motorcycles, but everyone’s welcome, which as a result attracts quite a diverse group of riders.

Not having any assistance from the police was a little disappointing, meaning the pack never had a chance of staying together, with only small groups of bikes getting through the first set of lights. It was still a spectacle though, especially for the hundreds of onlookers as we made our way through the city to Bondi, over the Harbour Bridge and down along the harbour foreshore, before returning to Moore Park. The other challenge faced by the organisers were numerous road closures throughout the city due to a marathon, which didn’t make it easy. Having said that, it was a top effort by all the volunteers that situated themselves on various corners along the run put making sure nobody deviated off course.

In the end only about half the pack made their way back to Moore Park where there was a great band pumping out some rocking tunes. So after a couple of celebratory drinks, Marcel and I fired up the bikes and made our way back home after what had been a great weekend.

Something to bear in mind is that while DGR Sydney is a one-day event for most of us, it takes months of planning to organise with countless logistical hoops to jump through. It was undoubtably a beast of an event, and running 1000 bikes through Sydney is no easy feat. This included liaising with police, Transport NSW and the Traffic Management Centre; as well as multiple test rides and volunteer planning to give everyone the best chance at success. Obviously there are a few tweaks needed for next year’s event, which is why plans are already well underway.

Once again it was an extremely successful event, with 893 official rides across cities in 107 countries, which saw 106,641 riders taking part worldwide and raising over US$6.7million – taking the entire total to over US$50million in only nine years. A brilliant effort and a lot of fun for a very worthy cause! Make sure you keep an eye out for next year’s event, which should be even bigger.

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