Cape Town – It really is a ride with a difference. Born out of the rapidly growing ‘café racer’ motorcycle movement and drawing its style references from the era of the Ace Café, Mods and Rockers, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is about taking pride in your appearance, your bike and your lifestyle.
It’s about standing up and being counted in the fight against a cancer that kills 1300 men every day worldwide, about riding classically-styled custom motorcycles and about having fun – especially having fun. And it happens all over the world on the same day.
The Cape Town Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Sunday 27 September brought together more than 100 smartly-dressed gentlemen (and ladies) on an astonishing variety of machinery, ranging from a 1930’s Norton wearing singularly inappropriate knobbly tyres to all manner of bobbers demonstrating that less really is less.
A group of riders on vintage Vespas recalled the 1960s, as did a number of Triumphs from both the Meriden and Hinckley eras, as well as a remarkable number of BMW boxer twins of the era, some restored to gleaming originality, others reduced to bare essentials.
Their riders set off from Los Muertos in Bo-Kaap for a leisurely ride around the Cape Peninsula, a ride that raised more than $3200 (R45 000) for research into a possible cure for prostate cancer at foundations in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride began in Sydney, Australia in 2012, as a way to combat the often negative image of motorcycling and as a fund-raising event specially aimed at the riders of bobbers, café racers and classic customs.
That first ride brought together 2500 riders in 64 cities. In 2013 more than 11 000 well-dressed gentlemen (and ladies) took part in 145 rides around the world and raised $277 000 (R3.8 million) for prostate cancer research.
In 2014 the event spread to 58 countries - including, for the first time, South Africa, with more than 20 000 riders taking part in 257 cities, and raising $1.5 million (R21 million).
The target for this year’s Ride was set at $3 million (R42 million) – and by the time the 2015 the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride got under way on Sunday morning in 410 cities, in 79 countries, 36 596 riders had already raised or pledged a total of $2.15 million (R30 million).