Cape Town - Hundreds of riders turned out on Sunday for Cape Town’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a global celebration of motorcycling counterculture held on the last Sunday in September each year in aid of prostate cancer research and mental health, in collaboration with the Movember Foundation.

They were among the 92 000 riders taking part in the sixth annual ride, in more than 500 cities in 90 countries. The 2017 target was to raise $5 million (R66 million) and by the morning after the ride they were up to $4.4 million (R58.6 million) with donations still streaming in.

The 258 distinguished gentlemen and ladies who registered for the Cape Town ride put in the equivalent of R62 000 – but on the day it was about starched shirts and bowties, period bikes, retros and bobbers, cafe racers and early-1970s Japanese machines, many now older than their riders.

They gathered from early on Sunday morning outside Los Muertos on Loop Street, to chat, drink coffee, and admire the seemingly endless stream of retro-styled and genuine period machines from the golden age of motorcycling that soon parked the street full for two blocks and spilled over into the adjoining side streets.

Dapper tweeds

Everybody was welcome, including those riding cruisers and modern sports-bikes, and it was notable that even they had forsaken their usual denims and leather for business suits, dapper tweeds or, in one case, regency-style hessians and tails, borrowed from a film set for the occasion.

Even the ride itself, to The Bungalow in Camps Bay, was unusually decorous by mainstream biker standards, with little of the usual over-revving of long-suffering four-cylinder engines that’s common to mass rides everywhere.

Because the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is more than a fund-raiser or a counterculture bike gathering, it’s an attitude.

Other Distinguished Gentleman's Rides around South Africa:

506 riders in Johannesburg raised $13 609 (R180 600), 94 riders in Durban raised $2059 (R27 300), 25 in Bloemfontein raise $190 (R2500) and 16 East London riders did themselves proud with $506 (R6700) between them.