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Distinguished Gentleman's ride 2019: damper but still dapper

Published: 04 October 2019

Updated: 04 October 2019

Towns and cities around the world reverberated to the sound of classic and vintage-style bikes on Sunday, as riders in over than 100 countries donned their finest tweed and took to the streets for the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

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Since its launch in 2012, the annual ‘DGR’ has gone from strength to strength raising in excess of £4.5m to aid prostate cancer research and improve awareness of men’s mental health.

MCN joined over 600 participants who, despite damp weather, turned out for the UK’s largest event in central London.

"I’m astounded at the commitment people have shown," said Ben Bowers, who along the Bike Shed’s Dutch Van Someren hosted DGR London.

"We had a downpour of biblical proportions during the safety briefing and several rides elsewhere had to be called off, but everyone here’s dressed up to the nines on beautiful machinery and it’s gone incredibly well - we couldn’t be happier."

Ian Wright was among the participants

Former England footballer Ian Wright, who took part on his Triumph Bobber, shared his reasons for joining in, telling MCN: "I’ve lost a couple of mates to prostate cancer, so to be riding with so many wonderful people for such a great cause is just magnificent."

It was a sentiment shared by Ducati Monster rider and marshal Nikita Gunnewegh. "I know many who have suffered from mental health issues so, with prostate cancer, two great causes, how could I not support the DGR?"

DGR 2019 stats

  • 113,489 riders registered around the world
  • 638 took part in the London ride, the largest in the UK
  • 54 UK rides planned but some cancelled due to heavy rain
  • £4,424,899 raised in 2019 so far

The event, which is in its eighth year, has raised around £15,240,000 for men’s health charities and aims to add a further £5,700,000 to that total in 2019 with over 125,000 classic and vintage-styled riders expected to take part.

DGR 2019 attendees in the rain

"We are in awe that The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has become the biggest motorcycle fundraising event in the world," said event founder, Mark Hawwa. "This achievement is thanks to our incredible ride hosts and fundraisers, who have really taken this concept and elevated it to the next level.

"We are also fortunate enough to have incredible support from the motorcycle community including Triumph Motorcycles and our wider family of partners, who have been instrumental in DGR’s growth. We stand united behind our cause to stop me dying to young, working in partnership with the Movember Foundation.

To encourage people to get out and raise as much cash as they possibly can, DGR lined up a huge array of prizes, including something rather special.

The highest fundraiser globally will take home a custom Hedon X DGR Kingpin helmet, a head-to-toe Rev’It clothing pack, a made-to-measure leather jacket from Elf, plus a brand new Triumph – but not just any old Triumph.

The winner gets #001 of a new TFC series model to be announced after the DGR. Second prize is the same clothing and accessories plus a brand new Triumph Speed Twin. Third highest fundraiser gets a Bonneville T120.

And the gifts aren’t just reserved for big-money fundraisers – raise a few quid and you could get yourself into the top 100, which will net you one of the special edition DGR Hedon lids. To see how this year’s total is building, head to the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website.


DGR 2018 on course to exceed £4.5m fundraising target

First published - 01/10/18

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2018 London

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride took place on Sunday, September 30, 2018 and it has already raised almost £4.3 million of its £4.5 million target. London is currently the city with the largest fundraising contribution, which stands at over £215k.

If you’re not familiar with it, the DGR is a global riding initiative that sees riders take to the roads in their finest garb to help raise awareness and money for men’s health-related charities.

Going for six years now, it has raised over £10 million to date. In 2018 more than 112,000 riders in 650 cities across 101 countries headed out, with the target of raising a further £4.5 million in donations.

“The past six years have seen The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride grow far more than I ever could have imagined,” says Mark Hawwa, founder of the event. “Working with the Movember Foundation has allowed us to target key concerns in men’s health, helping us change the lives of men and helping them to live longer and happier lives.”

Tweed jackets are not compulsory at the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

To raise money, the DGR encourages riders to seek sponsorship and offers prizes for the biggest fundraisers including brand new bikes from Triumph and Royal Enfield, as well as clothing from Rev It and Zenith watches.

The Bike Shed at DGR

The Bike Shed crew have been supporting the DGR since the first London ride in 2012.

Back in 2012 there were just 50 people on the London DGR, six years later and it has had to be capped at 1,000! And the guys and girls of The Shed had a great time at the 2018 ride...


70,000 to suit up for Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017

First published - 19/09/17

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017

Almost 70,000 riders are set to take part in this year's Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday, September 24, with $2,821,259 (£2,087,405) already raised this year for the Movember Foundation.

The brainchild of Australian motorcyclist Mark Hawwa, the first ever Distinguished Gentleman's ride took place in 2012 across 16 countries, with 2500 riders 'dressing dapper'. Since then the annual event has ballooned and has so far raised $10,000,000 (£7,394,482) for men's health charities across the globe since 2012. This year there are rides taking place in 95 countries.

Speaking at the launch event for this year's ride, held at The Bike Shed, Mark Hawwa said: "In 2011, back when I was organising rides with Sydney Cafe Racers, you'd never hear a guy talk about testicular cancer, or having a testicle removed. Now, two weeks ago I organised a ride in Sydney and there were two guys speaking openly about it. A big part of what we wanted to achieve was to break the macho bullsh*t stereotype and get guys talking.

"These events are bringing people together, they're having fun, and they're creating communities as a result and those communities help everyone. If you're showing the world that 100,000 people are raising funds to support charities by riding their bikes, then they're not bad people. We're just trying to show people that motorcyclists are good people."

If you can't ride you can still volunteer for the event, by all means get in contact with us. If you want to make a difference you can spread the message or donate. We do have a substantial amount of people that are upset their bikes don't suit the ride but it's so important for us to keep these rides manageable."

The causes

Together, the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride and the Movember Foundation are raising funds for research into prostate cancer and mental health programmes worldwide.

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and often develops without any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

The Movember Foundation also helps to highlight men's health issues, with 510,000 men dying globally from suicide every year.

Founder of the Movember Foundation, JC, commented: "All four Movember founders ride bikes and we're really privileged to be the partners. We took on mental health in 2006, and I've lost a heap of friends to suicides. Getting that message out, having that shoulder-to-shoulder chat - I don't think there's anything better than getting out on a bike and having a chat with your mates.

"Women can talk to face-to-face. Guys don't do that, we need to be doing something and I don't think there's anything better than DGR for guys to jump on bikes and have that one conversation. We've had so many stories come through this year of guys riding with their dads who caught prostate cancer early, and guys helping their mates through not wanting to take their own lives. One man every minute will take their own life, and that's just not right. For us to have that conversation and do it in a really cool environment, then that's going to change the world.

"We're super humble and super thankful to be part of DGR."

Triumph create one off dapper special

Triumph are official partner's for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, and this year they created a special bike for Phil Green, a 50-year-old A&E nurse from Coventry, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 43. Phil's custom Triumph Bonneville T100, nicknamed the Dapper Bonnie DGR100, features Vance & Hines exhausts, Fox rear shocks, a shortened rear end and a genuine Harris Tweed seat.


Motorcyclists go dapper for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2016

First published - 25/10/16

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2016 thumbs up

Bow ties, tweed jackets, open face lids… cities around the globe were filled with strange sights on Sunday morning as thousands took part in the fourth Distinguised Gentleman's Ride

It’s a fun event with a serious objective. The DGR seeks to bring people together to raise awareness and funding for research into prostate cancer and the Mouvember Foundation, which is committed to helping men live healthier, happier lives. 

A massive total of 56,514 riders took part in the ride, which featured in 90 countries raising a staggering US $3,297,898. It has become a massive global affair that has connected and united this niche area of the custom and retro motorcycling world.

The event first started in 2012, where 2500 riders took to the streets in their suits, growing at an astonishing rate to get to the 56,000 riders that took part this year.

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2016 riders line up

The UK has a big part in the ride, with 4647 riders taking part in events that ran up and down the country, raising a total of £408,581 for the associated charities.

The London ride featured the largest number of riders of any around the world. A total of 1061 finely dressed gents showing the capital a dapper time, stopping passers by in their tracks to admire the metal and marvel at the absurdity of what was happening.

Speaking to MCN about the London ride, DGR founder Mark Hawwa commented; “It’s been a really remarkable day. We’ve managed to shift a thousand people through Sunday London traffic, effectively without causing too much congestion. I’m feeling pretty proud.

"Everybody’s enjoying themselves, raising money and learning something about the cause. To be able to do what we do and do it without frustrating people is cool.

"We feel that we’re at a point now where we are raising awareness and getting guys to go get checked for prostate cancer but there are still so many other issues that men face that people don’t realise.

"We’re here to make sure that men can live a happy healthy life but we’re also here to have fun and showcase motorcyclists in a different ray of light. We all know what the stereotypical assumption is when you hear a motorcycle. The majority of the general public will always think it’s something a little bit negative whereas here we’re able to show that it’s positive."

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride founder Mark Hawwa (right)

Hawwa’s idea to bring people together has worked wonders; he’s somehow managed to help bring the custom and modern retro scene together in a united cause. The numbers involved prove a massive point too.

With Triumph and Barbour also throwing massive support into the DGR this year, it is proving that this is a scene that is no longer underground and is thriving.

Hawwa further commented "If we open this ride up to absolutely everything on two wheels, the thousand bikers that we have riding at the moment would have been 6000 bikers and we would have been shut down and never be able to operate that event again.

"And if we can’t operate that event, we can’t create the awareness, we can’t create the funds. The amount of awareness we create on a global scale is insane. Last year we calculated we reached 120,000,000 people just across our digital platforms alone which is insane, we don’t even know how to calculate the rest!"


Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2015 takes over London

First published - 01/10/15

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2015 scrambler tuxedo

Last Sunday saw mildly organised chaos in the capital as the 2015 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride took over the streets, with the riders all dressed in their Sunday best in the name of raising awareness and money for prostate cancer research.

Now in its third year, the DGR is a fun event with a serious objective. It’s an international affair, with 64 cities worldwide getting involved. Events are held all over the participating countries, and the UK alone raised a total of £226,165.24. With a global total of 36,915 riders taking part, so far having raised a massive $2,253,652 (US), it’s grown at an astonishing rate from a ride that just three years ago had only 2500 participants.

It’s all based around a vintage vibe, with the motorcycles featured being predominantly classic or retro. There are even that youthful lot lurking around too, the bearded trendy types with the café racers and bobbers.

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2015 tweed

Having events that engage with the youthful hopefuls and challenge the perceptions of the safety-driven naysayers is essential to the future growth of the motorcycle industry and the image that riding a bike presents.

It’s refreshing to see in an age where riding a motorbike has become increasingly difficult to obtain a licence, especially to the younger generations, finding a way into the biking community through the aspirations of owning a classically cool machine that wont go out of style.

It’s refreshing to see events like the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride becoming as big as it has done, not just for the benefit that it promotes in advancing ever essential cancer research, but also because it also engages so many people in the essence of the friendly spirit that has always been so predominant within the motorcycling community.

The ride has, on the whole, has been a massive success, not just in London but also globally. Raising such a large amount from an event that is only a few years old is, quite frankly, astonishing and it goes to show that there is an ever-increasing amount of clout behind the niche retro movement that has become so popular recently.


Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, London 2013

First published - 11/10/13

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride was first run in Australia in 2012 and was set up by Mark Hawwa. MCN first attended the London ride in 2013, here's what happened that day...

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