A distinguished day out: DGR organisers celebrate best year ever

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Organisers of the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) have released the final fund raising figures from the 2023 global charity event – with this year proving to be the best ever.

Taking place on Sunday, May 21, 2023, the event encourages dapperly dressed riders of classically-styled and vintage bikes to go for a ride around cities across the world to raise money for prostate cancer research and male mental health programmes.

A record breaking total of £6.25million ($7.3million) was raised in 2023, with 105,590 people taking part across 893 cities in 107 countries. This has grown significantly from the £5.8m figure reported in the week following the event (see below) and ups the total raised since 2012 to around £36million.

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2015 Ducati Supersport 1000 Paul Smart

Speaking after this year’s ride, DGR founder Mark Hawwa said: “It’s clear that the DGR community has stretched beyond what we ever could have imagined, and that the dedication in each city is proof that folks just need a chance to get together and connect with their fellow riders.”

The 2024 DGR will take place on May 19, with more information available at gentlemansride.com

Global DGR charity ride raises over £5.8m for men’s health

First published on 30 May, 2023 by Dan Sutherland

This year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) has smashed the 2022 fund raising total by generating over £5.8m for prostate cancer research and male mental health programmes across the globe.

Taking place on Sunday, May 21, 2023, around 105,000 dapperly-dressed riders of classically-styled and vintage bikes took part in rides in 893 cities across 107 countries – beating the 2022 total of almost £5m and bringing the overall money raised since its inception to around £36m.

“I would never have expected that 12 years into The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, we would be celebrating such an incredible milestone,” said DGR founder Mark Hawwa. “Since 2012, this global community has gone from strength-to-strength.

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride Nuremberg 2023

“It’s clear that the DGR community has stretched beyond what we ever could have imagined, and that the dedication in each city is proof that folks just need a chance to get together and connect with their fellow riders.”

The first DGR was held in Sydney, Australia in 2012 and by 2013 had grown to 11,000 riders across 145 cities. Movember came on board as an official charity partner in 2016, with Triumph getting involved for 2014.

Movember Ambassador and co-host of The Nod podcast with MCN Ben Bowers was one of the lead riders on the London ride, which at the time of writing sits fourth in the global cities leader board – having raised £118,428.

Marc Stephens at DGR Nuremberg

“It was an absolute pleasure to host the ride this year alongside my co-hosts,” Bowers told MCN. “We had over 500 riders join us in beautiful sunny London.

“It was an amazing ride through town, with some amazing reactions from the public, and it was great to see the motorcycle community put on such a great show and raise so much awareness for prostate cancer and mental health.”

Away from London, MCN spoke to Marc Stephens, who was one of the 226 riders on the Nuremberg run, in Germany. Riding a Triumph Bonneville T120 and taking on the challenge for the first time, he said: “It was the most Triumphs I’ve ever seen at one time in Germany. There were quite a few scooters, too.”

DGR Landau in Germany 2023

Elsewhere, Ian Leedham from Stowmarket took part on a Herald Café 400 that was only delivered on the Thursday before the ride. Despite the tight turnaround, he managed to raise £119. He said: “We brought the place to a standstill! It was great.”

Triumph have built a special £12,595 DGR edition of the Bonneville T120 Black to mark a decade of working with the event. Bike 001 of 250 will be presented to this year’s top fund raiser.

More than a bit distinguished: 2022 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride smashes global fundraising targets

First published 21 June 2022 by Phil West

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2022 participants

The 2022 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has beaten previous records for fundraising and attendance – and next year’s could be bigger and better still.

Fund raising from the 2022 gathering closed earlier this month, with almost £5 million generated between 93,456 riders in 802 cities across 104 countries on May 22.

The first DGR was held in Australia in 2012 after founder Mark Hawwa took inspiration from a vintage motorcycling photo for a charity ride featuring riders on classic and retro machines in dapper gear, with a view to showing a more friendly face of biking and bust a few stereotypes.

DGR participant in Southend-on-sea

The event raises funds for prostate cancer research and male mental health programmes and has since grown into a global phenomenon – backed for the last nine years by Triumph Motorcycles. It was only postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19.

In its short history, more than 400,000 riders from 114 countries have taken part, raising more than £30 million. This year’s £5million is a 4% increase on the previous, pre-Covid record, which was set in 2019.

“What an incredible return to group riding!” Hawwa said after this year’s ride. “There really is nothing better than seeing the tens-of-thousands of gentlefolk smiling and waving their way through city streets. It’s something we have missed dearly over the last two years.”

While Paul Stroud, Triumph Chief Commercial Officer, commented: “It is such an honour to be supporting the DGR. Next year will mark Triumph’s 10th anniversary as main sponsor and we’re working on something incredibly special to celebrate that milestone.”

Distinguished prizes: Triumphs and Gibson guitars up for grabs at DGR

First published on 17 May 2022 by Phil West

Special edition Triumph Bonneville T120 and Gibson Les Paul

Triumph and Gibson guitars are joining forces to provide a special series of prizes for this year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Launched in Australia in 2012 in support of prostate cancer research and men’s mental health, the DGR has grown to become a global series operating in 114 countries and over 900 cities. This year’s event takes place on Sunday (May 22).

Triumph and Gibson first linked up earlier this year to celebrate the common significance of the year 1959. Triumph’s iconic Bonneville was launched that year, as was Gibson’s first Les Paul guitar. The 1959 Legends Bonneville T120 and custom Les Paul Standard Reissue guitar were the results.

Quality touches include a guitar headstock painted on the tank

Now, three additional special guitars, each with a custom-painted case inspired by a legendary Triumph rider, are being offered as prizes at this year’s DGR on top of the Gibson Les Pauls and four Triumph bikes already up for grabs.

Star prize, for the Highest Global Fundraiser, is a T120 Bonnie and a ’59 edition Bonneville, Gibson Les Paul Reissue plus helmet and prize pack. While a Thruxton RS, Speed Twin 1200 and Bonneville Bobber are also up for grabs with three special Epiphone guitars.

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride smashes its fundraising target

First published on 26 May, 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Riders at the 2021 DGR Photo: Mihail Jershov

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) blew through their target of $30 million (approx. £21.2 million) four days before their tenth running of the event on Sunday, May 23, 2021. The fundraising hasn’t stopped yet but at time of going to press, the total raised since 2012 stood at £22.12 million.

The DGR was founded in Sydney in 2012 by Mark Hawwa, who was inspired by a photo of the character Don Draper from the TV show Mad Men astride a classic bike in a fine suit. In the first year it was launched the DGR brought together 3000 rides in 64 cities, and by 2020 had grown to 56,000 rides in 171 countries.

“It’s unfathomable to think that 10 years ago, an idea to bring a few dapper men and women together on classic bikes to change the stereotypes of motorcyclists went viral,” says Hawwa. “Since then, we’ve met so many inspiring people; all while raising a huge amount of funds and awareness for men’s health, on behalf of Movember.”

Rider and pillion at the 2021 DGR Photo: Mihail Jershov

The ride has been a long-time supporter and collaborator with Movember, the primary recipient of their fundraising. Movember is a charity that focuses on men’s health and mental health, with particular focus on both cancer and suicide awareness campaigning.

“DGR is an essential part of helping Movember to fund prostate cancer research and mental health programmes that will save the lives of men,” says Hawwa.

“Now more than ever we needed the DGR community to ride dapper and donate to the cause to stop men dying too young.”

DGR to give away one-off Triumph Thruxton RS to lucky fundraiser

First published on 17 May, 2021 by Ben Clarke

DGR Triumph Thruxton RS

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), Triumph have created a one-off custom Thruxton RS to be won by a fundraiser.

The bike was created in Triumph’s UK paint shop and features a two-tone fuel tank and a white and gold 10 on the side panel to mark the occasion.

To enter the Gentlefolk competition to win the bike, fundraisers must first unlock four badges by completing their online DGR profile, donating to their own profile, completing a random donation and raising at least $250 (around £177).

DGR Triumph Thruxton RS fuel tank

“10 years of riding dapper for men’s health is nothing short of incredible and celebrating that with this one-of-one motorcycle designed in collaboration with Triumph Motorcycles is such an exciting way to honour that,” said Founder & Director of DGR Mark Hawwa.

“This Triumph Thruxton RS will be the key prize of our Gentlefolk Competition; giving every single fundraiser that unlocks their badges in DGR 2021 the chance to win. It’s a piece of DGR memorabilia that brilliantly represents the committed efforts of our dedicated gentlefolk around the world, and the shared passion of our partners, Triumph Motorcycles.”

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 10th Anniversary event set for May

First published on 16 November, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride moves to May in 2021

Dapper folks on classic and retro bikes are being invited to take part in 2021’s special 10th Anniversary Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – set for its new springtime date of Sunday, May 23.

This year marks the first decade of the ‘DGR’, a series of charity rides spread across the globe, which blend dressing-up in gentlemanly tweeds and brogues with massed riding of ‘old school’ bikes to raise money for men’s health.

Conceived to counter the traditional stereotype of men on motorcycles and also highlight men’s mental health and, via Movember, prostate cancer, the DGR was founded in Sydney in 2012 by Australian Mark Hawwa with the first event involving 2500 riders across 64 cities.

Ten years on, the annual event has proved a big success with happenings across the world, hundreds of thousands of smartly-dressed participants and over $27million US (£20m) raised.

And this year, despite restrictions but with the added attraction of a custom bike giveaway by long-time sponsors Triumph, organisers hope to boost that total to over $30m.

Interested participants can now register online with over 40 events so far planned in the UK alone. In areas where group rides may not be possible, solo rides and digital connections are being encouraged.

In addition, the 2021 event boasts its biggest range of prizes yet, with four new bikes on offer from Triumph, including a special, one-off custom bike and 50 special Hedon helmets and Belstaff clothing for the top fundraisers.

“We may not be able to celebrate together,” said Hawwa. “But it sure won’t stop us from connecting with our community of dapper riders.”

Movember and DGR create fund for first responders

First published on September 29, 2019 by Jordan Gibbons

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride back in 2018

Movember, in collaboration with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), have created a multi-million pound fund to help first responders overcome the difficulties they face through the job.

Over the course of the next two years, Movember and the DGR are putting £3.38M into the Mental Health Grants Funding Program, which will provide support for first responders and their families.

If you’re not familiar with the DGR, it’s an annual ride taking place on one day all over the world that helps to raise money in support of men’s physical and mental health charities (read more below) and Movember is one of the causes they support.

The grant program will give successful applicants up to £133,000 per year for two years, to be used toward improving the mental health of firefighters, paramedics, police, frontline NHS workers and their families. As well as the £3.38M Movember and DGR are offering, shaving brand Gillette have also put in a further £500,000 for the UK.

Part of the reason for the program is the high rates of mental ill-health and suicide in the first responder community – far greater than the rates in the general population. That’s also combined with the fact that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under-45 in the UK – the group who make up the majority of first responders.

Movember are inviting applications for funds for programs that show promise for improving the mental health of people in these groups to help them build and accelerate their work. Applications for grant funding are running until November 23, 2020, so if you know of a group that could do with help in this area, point them to the Movember website where there are full details on what they’re looking for and how to apply.

Distinguished Gentleman’s ride 2019: damper but still dapper

Rain on the 2019 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

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.

Jump to

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…