By Dave Abrahams

Cape Town - More than 160 neatly dressed gentlemen and a handful of equally stylish ladies turned out on Sunday morning for the third Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to be held in Cape Town.

They were riding a wide range of machines from 60-year-old classics to modern retro bikes, with the emphasis on non-standard motorcycles (custom is too limiting a term for this application) that reflected the owners' personal interpretation of the passion all riders share.

Many, indeed, harked back to the motorcycling boom of the 1960s and 1970s, a simpler time when motorcycles were machines, as one rider put it, rather than computers on wheels. But even fewer of those, indeed, were standard after 40 years on the road.

And all their riders, ranging in age from 17 to 70, were indeed, formally dressed, many in suits and ties, others in tweed and flat caps, with one young lady - much younger than her beloved 1969 Honda CB350 twin - trumping them all with an all-white linen suit, silk shirt and black jet-style helmet, showing a sense of style that often seems to be sadly lacking in millennial riders.

Striking a chord

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride was started in 2012 in Australia as a way to bring together riders of the rapidly growing classic café racer and retro bike movement, and counteract to a degree, the stereotypically negative, scruffy denim look of most mainstream bikers.

It struck a chord all over the world and from its second year Mark Hawwa began putting that momentum to good use raising money for prostate cancer research - but he could scarcely have foreseen how rapidly it would grow.

On Sunday 25 September, 56 323 distinguished gentlefolk in 88 countries took part in the 2016 Distinguished Gentleman's ride, raising an astonishing $3.25 million (R44.6 million) for prostate cancer research through the Movember Foundation and suicide prevention programmes worldwide.

In Cape Town, 178 riders took part in the ride from the central business district to Camps Bay, raising $3157 (R43 350), while in Johannesburg 382 riders secured $7046 (R96 800). Durban's 59 Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies contributed $581 (R8000) and even the nine dapper gentlemen who celebrated the occasion in Bloemfontein came up with $70 (R960) between themselves, their families and friends.

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