The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride: Get Dapper for a Good Cause

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Whether it’s an anime or a personal experience that got you on a motorcycle doesn’t matter. If you ride, whether it has a manual or a DCT, you’re part of the community. And soon, our community is getting a chance to give back. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is coming up again. And if you like riding and dressing fancy, DGR is a chance to do both for charity.

What is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?

Two riders at the 2018 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride | Noam Galai/Getty Images for Zenith Watches/The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

Celebrating its 10th running in 2021, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride started in Sydney, Australia. Founder Mark Hawwa saw a still from Mad Men that featured the character Don Draper riding a classic motorcycle in a suit of similar vintage. And the photo inspired Hawwa to start an event that explores “the more ‘dapper’ side of motorcycling,” RevZilla explains.

The first DGR in 2012 saw 2500 riders take part across 64 cities. By 2019, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride had events in 101 countries, Autoweek reports, and over 114,000 listed participants. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has shifted from large group rides to smaller groups and solo riders, RideApart reports. But it’s still going strong.

Also going strong are the charitable funds the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has raised. Although the 2012 event was more about having fun, starting in 2013 the event began raising money for prostate cancer research, The Drive reports. And while that’s still part of the DGR’s money-raising efforts, the event also gives funds to men’s mental health and suicide prevention programs, Autoweek reports.

Over the last 10 years, DGR has raised over $27.45 million, RideApart reports. And this year, the event organizers hope to break past the $30 million mark.

How can I join the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and what do I wear?

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Although the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride raises awareness for men’s health issues, the event isn’t limited to male riders. Anyone is free to enter provided they follow the event’s style and ride guides. And while the DGR is technically free, the organizers ask that participants give a charitable donation. The 2021 event takes place on May 23rd.

As for the DGR guides, the motorcycle one is fairly straightforward. Any bike at least 35 years old is automatically eligible. But modern retro motorcycles such as café racers, scramblers, and bobbers are also fair game. Think Triumph Bonneville, Moto Guzzi V7, Royal Enfield Continental GT, and so on.

Two riders on a tan Ural motorcycle at the 2018 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in New York City
Two riders on a Ural motorcycle at the 2018 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride | Noam Galai/Getty Images for Zenith Watches/The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

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Urals with their sidecars can also take part; vintage and modern Vespas, too. And if you have a brat-style-inspired build or a custom-made bobber or chopper, those are also eligible.

Being that Mad Men inspired the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, well-tailored suits are a common sight. But they’re not the only clothing option. Silk waistcoats, tweed vests, suspenders, cravats, bowties, and so on are the threads of choice. And while facial hair isn’t required, those who rock it typically wax it. Hence why open-faced helmets are a common sight, too.

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Naturally, not everyone might be comfortable riding without armor. But that’s where armored leather jackets and armored leather gloves come in. And at least one gear company is working on an armored blazer that fits right in at DGR, RideApart reports.

Triumph is once again a partner—and has a special prize

Triumph has partnered with DGR for several years now and is returning for the 2021 event. And this year, it’s bringing something special.

The black-white-and-gold 2021 Triumph Thruxton 1200 RS 10th-Anniversary DGR in a showroom
2021 Triumph Thruxton 1200 RS 10th-Anniversary DGR | Triumph

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As part of its fundraising program, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride hosts the DGR Gentlefolk Competition. To enter, participants have to complete a DGR profile, donate to that profile, complete a random donation, and raise at least $250 separately, MCN reports. And the prize is a 2021 Triumph Thruxton 1200 RS custom-painted in Triumph’s UK paint shop.

Hopefully, we’ll see you riding dapper on May 23rd.

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