The gentlemen doth ride

I think that the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride is quite a phenomenal thing. Built by international bon vivant Mark Hawwa, it pulls so many different walks of rider together, gets them to dress up, chit-chat, drink coffee and ride in huge major city parades worldwide, while raising an absolute shit-ton of cash – they’re nearly at their goal of $5m.

It doesn’t really get any better than that!Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 11.15.11

I rolled up early doors to Chapter in Cardiff, an arts centre near town with plenty of space to park and a great line in coffee, to meet the Baffle Culture boysAndy and Sam.

Until that moment they were digital friends, but enjoy these days how you can meet people you’ve never previously met in real life, and can get along straight away because you’ve been following what they’ve been up to via social channels.

As soon as we met we got straight into talking bikes, what made us start riding in the first place and so on. It was very natural.

We finished up, headed out, and then Sam’s Guzzi got stroppy and refused to start. It didn’t help that he had an almighty hangover – I feel these things are sent to test us when we’re not mentally in the best place – and so was ready to admit defeat. But I suggested we try and bump start it, which happily did the trick!

We then rode over to Cardiff City Hall, where it became immediately obvious that this year’s ride was about twice the size of last year’s – the car park was jammed! We also met up with my friend from last year’s ride, Andrew Harrison, who’s since made a charming little personal film of the day here.

The bit before we set off is always good as it gives opportunity to check out some bikes…

It’s funny how many people have commented on my Harley Roadster being such a sorted stock bike. I’ve not done anything to it (other than flip the mirrors) but it gets a lot of attention straight out of the box. It could certainly do with being louder, but really I’ve no complaints – I just love riding it!

After a bike gawp – that orange Yamaha café was my bike of the day – we gathered on the steps of City Hall for the pre-leave briefing, and Motörhead’s Phil Campbell was there to see us off (it appears he’s a man of few words).

And then we were away, through the streets of town, getting split up by every set of traffic lights going. By the time we’d gotten out to the first meet-up point we were riding in tiny little pockets, in fours and fives, so it was good to regroup before setting out on the longer stretches.

These parts are obviously the best bits, getting to ride with a huge group of like-minded people, and hats off to the organisers who managed to mark the route so well at junctions and so on. Part of me wishes that we went off up into Brecon for a couple of hours, but I imagine the logistics of that would be pretty intense!

Eventually we arrived at Penarth pier, and it’s always amazing to see my little daughter there waiting for me to ride in because she enjoys so much not only seeing me riding but also all of the other bikes too. To the point that she asked me to get a ‘Wallace and Gromit’ bike – i.e. a sidecar – for next year’s DGR so that she can come along as well. I confess I have already started looking at the feasibility of buying a Ural.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 11.11.00

So here’s to next year’s ride. If it’s going to keep getting bigger though, then I think they’re going to have to think about finding more accomodating re-group points!

Bravo everyone.


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