The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

On Sunday 24th of September tens of thousands of riders around the world will be getting together to participate in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. This global event, originally inspired by a photo of Don Draper from the TV show ‘Mad Men’, brings together well-dressed, dapper riders from around the world to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s mental health.

MAEGAN HAMILL @actualmaegy  interviewed Nial McGaughey from Portland, Oregon, about the ride and his decision to be a part of it.

How many times have you ridden in the distinguished gentleman’s ride (DGR)? 
I’ve done five of the rides since 2013 (I did two of the Oregon rides in 2016).

Why are you riding in DGR Sydney this year instead of Portland, Oregon? 
Over the years I have been getting more involved with riding motorcycles, and I very much enjoy the people involved with and the ideas behind the DGR, and to me, this is like being able to visit Mecca. The Sydney ride is the epicentre of DGR. I have always wanted to ride motorcycles in Australia and New Zealand, and this is the perfect opportunity!

Are you passionate about the charity aspect of DGR? 
Absolutely! I think it is a wonderful idea, and clearly lots of other people around the world seem to think so!

Have you ridden in many other races? 
I’ve done quite a few rides along the west coast US, mostly focused on vintage motorcycles, and sightseeing. That said any excuse to throw a leg over a bike with a few good mates is enough excuse for me!

What bike do you normally ride? 
Typically vintage bikes I have heavily customized to look pre-WWII. If it’s got two wheels and a motor, I like it. Right now I have 9 motorcycles that I’ve resurrected and put back on the road. Most are vintage BMW’s. I’m most happy just putt-putting along at a leisurely pace.

Do you need to dress a specific way to participate in DGR? 
Yes! Everyone has their own interpretation, but my personal guidelines are vintage clothing that is dressy and works well with a tie, and looks period correct with the bike I am riding at the time. My spirit animal for these rides typically is T.E. Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) riding his Brough Superior motorcycle.. If you look like you are off to a campaign or a cricket match, and the film used is black and white, you’re off to a good start.

Nial at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2014. Photo: Alyssa Herrmann

Do you know where the name ‘the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’ came from? 
Originally it was the name for a themed charity motorcycle ride to raise awareness of men’s prostate cancer, but has increased scope to include many other facets of men’s health. To me, a Distinguished Gentleman is a cultured person of note with a refined sense of classic style. Discovering the DGR was a simpatico moment for me.

What makes the Distinguished Gentleman’s ride such a great event that you keep participating in it? 
The energy of the whole event, the positivity of the people involved, the overwhelming support from the sponsors, seeing all the great bikes getting ridden by people having the time of their lives. It is a celebration in the truest sense of the word. The “lift” I get from being a part of it, the memories of seeing 4 lane roadway bridges packed solid with bikes as far as the eye can see. Lovely and grand are rare terms to apply to events these days, and I will never forget them. The smiles on everybody’s faces are infectious and the world needs more of that!

To find out more about the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride or to sponsor Nial visit the DGR website.

Featured image: Deus Ex Machina motorcycle, Camperdown, Sydney. Photo by Baptiste C. David/Wikimedia Commons

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