Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg and more than 600 cities in 93 countries around the world – With more than 78 000 riders already registered five days before the event, it is the world’s third-largest motorcycle ride, after the Toy Run and the International Female Ride Day.
But the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is more than just a bunch of bikers getting together to support a worthy cause. It is a celebration of an era when being a gentleman meant always dressing neatly, especially when riding your motorcycle, always treating a lady like a lady, and being kind to children and animals without even having to think about it.
For a gentleman is distinguished by his demeanour, his dapper appearance and his unfailing concern for those less fortunate than himself.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded by Mark Hawwa in Sydney, Australia in 2012, inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper riding a classic motorcycle in a suit. A themed ride, Hawwa decided, would be a great way to combat the negative ‘biker’ stereotype, while bringing together niche motorcycle communities such as classic bike riders and the burgeoning cafe racer movement.
So he put out the word on social media, inviting riders of classic and retro bikes everywhere to dress ‘dapper’ in the spirit of the 1950s and ‘60s, and ride in a group on the last Sunday of September.