The Ride is open to distinguished riders of all ages and genders. File photo: Dave Abrahams / IOL Motoring

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.

That first ride brought together more than 2500 riders in 64 cities, encouraging Hawwa to harness its energy for a good cause, namely prostate cancer research. But the loss of one of its ride hosts to depression in 2016 saw a shift in focus to the funding of men’s mental health programs, in addition to prostate cancer research through official charity partner the Movember Foundation.

And that’s where you come in.

Visit the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website at www.gentlemansride.com, register for the ride nearest to you, and start engaging friends and family - and digging into your own pocket – to raise pledges towards the Ride’s 2018 global target of $6 million (R86 million).

It’s open to distinguished riders of all ages and genders; once you’ve registered, you’ll be given more details of the starting point and time, and the route of the ride for which you’ve registered.

And on the morning of Sunday 30 September, dress dapper, shine up your café racer, bobber, retro or classic bike and join the worldwide community of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

IOL Motoring