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Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR)


Posted on August 29, 2015 by Scott in Classic, Event. 39 comments

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Photo by Amy Shore

Written by Mark Hawwa – Founder of the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride had very basic beginnings when I created the event three years ago. I wanted to unite the classic and custom classic motorcycle scene. This idea turned into 2,500 dapper ladies and gents riding on the same day throughout 64 cities all across the globe back in 2012.

This year again, ladies and gents will be dressing in their finest for this ride on the same day, only now with over 30,000 riders across over 80 countries. This has turned into what would have to be the largest global rides held. The 400 cities involved in this years ride has formed a beautiful community for riders of café racers, bobbers, classics, brats, trackers, choppers and everything niche bike in-between.

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Photo by Amy Shore

This common passion for machines and riding has evolved into something even bigger, and in 2013 we made the decision to support a cause that was affecting countless people. We teamed up with multiple prostate cancer foundations across the globe, and our goal this year is to raise $3 million to aid in prostate cancer research.

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Photo by Baptiste David

It has been an amazing journey for me and everyone involved. Very testing at times and the logistics of such a large event will never be easy. We’ve been fortunate enough to have the help of literally thousands of people dedicating their time and effort to the cause. One of my favourite parts of DGR is checking out the amazing photography from the 4 corners of the globe. Here’s a selection of my favourite images from 2014.

If you haven’t already signed up for the DGR ride, make sure you register at gentlemansride.com and raise some money for a great cause. 

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Photo by Aymeric Michaud

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Main street of Sydney. Photo by Baptiste David

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Zurich ride. Photo by Christain Jung

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Porto, Portugal. Photo by Delfina Brochado

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London. Photo by Amy Shore.

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Sydney gentleman. Photo by My Media Sydney.

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London ride. Photo by Amy Shore.

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Dutch from the Bike Shed. Photo by Amy Shore.

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A dapper Ducati hitting the streets of London. Photo by Amy Shore.

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Andrew from Pipeburn smoking a pipe. Photo by Baptiste David.

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The French ladies looking the part at the Paris ride. Photo by Laurent Nivalle








  • TruthBringer

    Good to know who to blame for this trend. : P

    • Yep, you can blame him for raising $1.5 million for cancer.

      • TruthBringer

        If you say so. I still think it’s mainly (and often only when no donations are connected to events, as seen in LA) a reason for white hipsters to display their newest suit and bolt on cafe mod. Also, just because something raises money for cancer doesn’t mean it is free from critique. Ever hear of that pink drill bit BP used to support breast cancer or this book? – http://www.amazon.com/Pink-Ribbons-Inc-Politics-Philanthropy/dp/0816648999

        • Mark Hawwa

          Donations are one thing. Prompting men to get checked is one thing. Both as valuable as each other and needed.

          • Zundap

            You are one COOL DUDE. Keep up the good work and most of all enjoy the ride. ..Z

          • billtr96sn

            If this is so Mark Hawaa, then why are certain bikes not allowed on your rides? (As you said mine wasn’t last year and I withdrew as the South West UK organiser, remember?) Only bikes that fit your clique were ‘allowed’,
            The previous year I had used the same bike (A Honda XL600 with sidecar)and one of the others on the run broke down, due to me having the sidecar he coould carry on with the run in my chair and I got him home afterwards.

            So, until this elitism stops and it becomes a true ride for charity whilst being dressed in a dapper fashion you can get stuffed,

      • sleezterchef

        really? Have any proof that one cent went to research or anything else besides making a few guys in Australia millionaires? The DGR (the name that is) isn’t registered with the IRS in the US. If it’s under another name I would be more than happy to look them up. This is more about local clubs getting photo ops from what i can tell.. every local hipster rider around here wants to be in the front of the line and get in the paper.

        • Cecil-T

          DGR is based out of Australia. In the US, the donations go to:
          Prostate Cancer Foundation US
          Phone: 310.570.4700
          Website: http://www.pcf.org/

          Their “2014 Progress Report” recognizes DGR as an event that’s “raised over $1,000” (the highest category).

  • motomick

    I would love to participate in this most worthy even, but . . . I don’t quite get that apparently I, on my 1991 Honda Hawk NT 650, might be persona non grata, while Joe and Josephine hipster on their brand new Triumph Scrambler would be creme de la creme. In our very special “subculture,” where so often a premium is given (appropriately) to inclusiveness and diversity, why this exclusivity when an arms-wide-open embrace would seen so appropriate? And it’s not like all of us enjoy the luxury of a stable of rides that allow picking just the right one for every day of the week or this and that special event. I hate to be sour grapes, but this particularly saddens me as someone who has wrestled with cancer (not prostate, in my case) and more or less survived and has immersed myself in the mutual support of many fellow travelers living with and dying from this unfortunate disease.

    • Yeah, I hear what you’re saying but unfortunately it would probably become too big to manage safely. Also the whole idea is to look like Distinguished gentlefolk from a bygone era. Having loads of sport bikes isn’t really going to look like a scene from the past.
      Sorry to hear about your fight with cancer but glad to hear you have pretty much beaten it.

      • motomick

        Thanks for your thoughtful response. I confess it had crossed my mind that a call for all-comers-welcome could wind up with an unmanageably large event, a good outcome in one way but, as you say, with too many safety issues. Selfish me, but I sometime think of my Hawk NT 650 as sort of bridging the gap between old school and modern sportbikes. Oh, the trials of being the odd one out! If things work out perhaps I might find myself a place on the sidelines at my local event (San Francisco), cheers the event on and be thankful that it is taking place.

        • nathan

          I participated in the SF ride last year and saw every kind of bike and not everyone dressed the part either. It was a good time and you shouldn’t be discouraged. There were even some motorcycles that joined along the way. Hope to see you there.

      • billtr96sn

        No Scott, in my area there were only 30 or so doing the run last year and Mark Hawaa told me (the area organiser!) that I couldn’t do it.

  • Finally! The fame I have so longed for!

  • Jim Stuart

    Note to self: Search ebay for clamp-on pipe holder…

  • Gilera

    Fine sirs,
    May I assume my 1973 Gilera Rs50 will be acceptable. Triumphs are so…..well, common.

    • Splendid old chap.

      • Gilera

        Where does the edinburgh one start from and at what time? I shall ready the plus 4’s in lovet tweed, goes well with Ray Bans.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    The real question here should be just how much of that $1.5 million actually found its way into the hands of legitimate a viable cancer research etc programs ? The answer on average being somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 cents on the dollar or less . Which is why I give directly to the organization in question rather than participate or allow my name to be used when it comes to charity evens . And as far as this ‘trend ‘ is concerned that uses the pretense of charity in order to justify its existence ? Pretense is the first word that comes to mind . The second thought being a desperate need to be what they are not and have never been . Distinguished Gentlemen

    • Mark Hawwa

      Why don’t you email and find out?

      • sleeztercheck

        Why don’t you post your numbers on your website or link to access a copy of the charity’s tax returns for your registered charity?

    • I know Mark gives almost everything to the charity except for some running costs. He has given cheques over 2 million dollars to Prostate. That is some serious fund raising. What the prostate organisation does with the money is out of his hands but we hope that most of it reaches prostate cancer research.

      • sleezterchef

        “Some running costs” is 80% of merch sales and an undisclosed amount from the actual donations. Why that isn’t made crystal clear on the site is beyond me. They also get back 20% from their chosen charities after they donate (minus their “running costs” of course). Another thing I find interesting is that they talk endlessly on their site about “organizing a world wide event”. They do no such thing really. Every city sets up their own ride and that’s it. No one form DGR is in my city, that’s for sure and the organizers of this year’s event aren’t even in communication with them. In fact, the guy running it here in shows a $20 donation on his registration. He’s a guy who wants to pat himself on the back for something he didn’t even really contribute to and talk about it pre-ride up on a stage to everyone involved. It’s laughable. DGR’s costs are the costs associated with their salaries and running their office, PR, lawyers and everything else that involved in a business. The difference is, they’re not selling anything except PR. The costs don’t cover the rides in any way. I find this very suspect and annoying.

  • TeamObsolete

    Hey, instead of hells angels, bandidos and the like acting like urban outlaws the general public sees a group of role-playing re-enacting neatly dressed up gentlemen having a good time on their lovely looking motorcycles. There goes our meticulously maintained reputation of being antisocial scum, right? And raising money for a good cause as an excuse for having a good time, only phony hipsters can be that lame. Having fun is suspect anyway, elitist jerks. There’s also a group of imbicils having a ball on a speedway track with hopelessly inadequate machines called dirt quake if I’m not mistaken.
    I totally agree, all this should be banned right here right now!

    • Haha. I sense a hint of sarcasm

      • TeamObsolete

        Yep, people with fixed ideas about other peoples motives….. so easy.

  • Al Best

    Geez. Some bitter people out there. Lighten the f%&# up and let people do their thing. There will always be people who look cooler, have more money, more fun and a more neatly groomed beard than you (or I). The derision only sounds like jealousy. I heard it all the time when I was young, mod suit, ’61 Lambretta. Man, I thought I was untouchable. And the more mullet-wearing knuckledraggers that gave me grief, the more I realised I was doing everything right.

    • Mark Hawwa

      It’s normal for all adults to cry when an event refuses to change their rules to accept them.

      • sleeztercheck

        The event doesn’t have any rules that are followed . DGR isn’t involved with any iron clad rules in any city. In Miami they have race bikes, Harleys and everything else imaginable. We also have a guy who is trying to live this cafe racer life (pretended to run a bike shop but had to stop pretending when he didn’t produce anything) and hardly rides his bike but is representing DGR in this city. If it wasn’t so sad it would be hilarious. This is certainly proof that DGR in AU has very little to do with actually organizing events even thought they can’t stop talking about how much money goes into organizing those events. So yeah, the DGR doesn’t “refuse” anything. Trying to make it look like this is some kind of unified, organized, top level charity by stating what you state is disheartening. Calling people babies has to be expected from such an unprofessional group of people making a living promoting something that’s basically a fantasy. I would strongly suggest people who want to ride the DGR do so and send their money directly to their local prostate cancer center.

  • Maximo Forcieri

    I registered and wanted to participate, I sold my old bikes now, and im only left with a dominator. THe organizators here in argentina said no.. i said F&#k it.. I emailed they guys in Australia.. They said “how could i be so blind to not see this was for classic bikes”.. some of my family members died from cancer, and i like bikes, seemd like a good place to go..
    this is only for wealthy people, just for them to feel a bit better with themselves., the money they raise, well thats just something extra. their egos is what matters.

    • Mark Hawwa

      Okay buddy, thats why we have ratty little cafe racers on our ride that have been slapped together using cable ties and gaffer taped and probably cost closer to $500. If you legitimately cared and it wasn’t about your ego, you could sponsor a rider and promote the message to your friends with the correct styles of motorcycles to join us. All the best to you Maximo.

      • Maximo Forcieri

        I promote the message in other ways. Missed oportunity. Argentina is not like Australia, bikes are very expensive. a triumph is about 35k usd cash which is hard to get here.
        a ratty chinese cafe racer is somehting i dont want to promote or encourage.. i have a friend with in hospital because his chinese crappy bike felt apart.
        a decent honda turned to cafe racer is abot 4000 usd. which still is quite expensive.
        depending on the country exceptions could be made.. thats my opinion.

  • El_Destructo

    Most charity events are attended by those who luv a parade & want attention. Every Summer weekend they are out to an event. Flags & stuffed animals attached to their bikes, costumes on, weird & scary masks, etc. .
    This whole “showing the public that bikers are good people” thing has gotten really tiring. I`ve been a motorcyclist (not a “biker”) for over 40yrs. Never cared what anyone else thought about it. Never will. I`ve got nothing to apologize or make up for.
    I send a cheque to charities I support, & go blast the back roads at my leisure, as always.

    • There’s nothing wrong with having fun while raising money for charity. This ride has raised over $2 million for prostate. Thats a good thing right?

      • billtr96sn

        It is how it is done, a bit like the IRA raising funds in New York from all the good Irish Americans in the 70’s and 80’s, all good fun wasn’t it? Not any maore.

        Now we have Mr Hawaa with his dictatorial grip over a ‘worldwide’ event that he doesn’t organise. (I was the organiser for 2 years running in my area) all you get is emails, cost $ free, some Emailed artwork that I could print out $ free again to him and a web site $ pennies.

        I paid out for the printing, my time/petrol to get the posters out, my time liasing with 2 counties police forces to get the route OK’d sorting out a proper halfway stop, getting a cafe to open on a Sunday at the halfway stop so we could have a hot drink, sorting out a pub for meals/drinks at the end of the run. How much did Mark Hawaa pay towards that? $nothing, how much did he get $all the sponsorship money, what happens to that? I don’t know, do you??

  • Alasdair Sykes

    First time on the ride this year, dead excited, but such a shame that it’s bringing out all these haters. The whole idea initially was to bring together the custom/cafe subculture and have a good laugh, no? Suddenly because it’s supporting a decent cause too, all the bitter folks on the sidelines feel justified in screaming how elitist and egotistical it is to have a classic-themed ride. If you don’t like it, shut up and don’t turn up.

    • El_Destructo

      If you dig it that`s fine. I`m not a” hater”, just `cos I don`t like to put on a costume & ride in a parade. I`ve no reason to be “bitter”. I could show up if I wanted to.
      You ride your way & I`ll ride mine. You donate your way, I`ll donate my way.
      I still wonder how many of these charity event riders feel strongly enuff `bout all these charities to just make donations without all the “look at me & my cool bike” hoopla. I`m guessing not too many.
      If you think about it… branding yourself as a member of a “subculture” could be considered just slightly “elitist & egotistical”.
      Me… I just ride a motorcycle.

      • Alasdair Sykes

        You’re absolutely welcome to ride your way mate, I’d never seek to criticise it. To be honest I get as much pleasure as you from a solo blast around the backroads. But there’s nothing egotistical about ‘branding’ myself a member of a subculture – all that means is I enjoy doing something which isn’t a mainstream pastime, and it takes events like this for me to meet like-minded folks.
        The only difference between this run and your average motorcycle rally is that the organisers and participants of this ride have made the choice to raise money for a good cause at the same time. Massive respect to Mark Hawwa for being the driving force behind it all, cos it can’t be an easy thing to manage.
        I also think you’d be surprised regarding the number who also donate in the regular way. If it’s not your scene then that’s cool, just stop branding everyone who takes part a look-at-me poser.

      • sleezterchef

        In my city there’s almost zero money actually made.. but this city is so full of poseurs who will only ride their bike 10 blocks maximum.. They don’t really love to ride.. most of it is a total smokescreen to seem cool, which is fine but they lie about making money for the charity to feel better about themselves.