“It’s not what you ride, but that you ride. That’s what counts.”
Unless you want to attend the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, then you probably still aren’t welcome.
Certain beliefs that are fundamental to the ethos of the motorcycle community. No matter who you are, or what you ride, when you see them, you instantly understand their meaning:
- “It’s not the destination, it’s the ride.”
- “It’s not what you ride, but that you ride.” etc.
One of my favorite things about the motorcycle community is that it does away with distinctions between peoples:
You aren’t a white guy, a black chick, or a new refugee standing around in a parking lot.
You’re three motorcyclists. Three motorcyclists, sharing a passion, who just happen to come from different backgrounds. You’re united, in your love of two wheels, and not divided by details.
Motorcycling doesn’t distinguish, motorcycling unifies people who otherwise may never have met, and brings them together.
When you see a rider on the side of the road, you pull over. When you see a new rider struggling, you offer advice. When a rider is learning how to spin a wrench, you lend a hand. Motorcycling doesn’t distinguish, motorcycling unifies people who otherwise may never have met, and brings them together.
Not everyone is about the Motorcycle Comm-“unity”
Of course, there are always exceptions, and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) is one of them. The DGR is like the Mean Girls of motorcycling. If you want to ride with them, you’ll need to be “dressed appropriately” and on a “suitable bike.” Their words, see below.
If you think “suitable bike” means any motorcycle that’s in safe, running condition, think again. Odds are your bike isn’t welcome.
On the DGR’s Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ) page is the question: “Can I still ride if I don’t have a Cafe Racer, Bobber, Classic, Tracker, Scrambler, Old School Chopper, Modern Classic, Sidecar, Classic Scooter, or Brat Styled motorcycle?”
The short answer is, if you don’t fit their preferred aesthetic of motorcycle, well, that’s against the rules and you can’t sit with us. Instead, you’re invited to volunteer behind the scenes or stay home and make a donation. You may not be welcome on the ride, but your free labor or money is still good.
Note: It’s actually a good thing that anyone can donate. The donations go first to DGR, as part of their campaign with the Movember Foundation, which then finally gives the funds to your country’s Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. That sounds like a lot of money-handling. Why not simply direct people to donate to the foundation of your choosing (US here, Canada here) immediately instead?
Back to the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride FAQ page.
On the very same page that tells us most motorcycles on the road are excluded from joining the ride, they state: “The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a charitable event, and not doing your very best to raise funds is not particularly distinguished.”
Not particularly distinguished indeed…
Hold your horses, DGR is still a good thing!
Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch in the comments section, just know that this isn’t about trash-talking organizers or attendees. The DGR ladies and gents are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised for a good cause. They’re doing a great thing (and on Wednesdays they wear pink)!
But I believe in a motorcycle community where all motorcyclists, on all motorcycles, in any manner of dress, are welcome to all events. And that’s not the case here.
In my garage, beside my Harley-Davidson V-Rod, is my Triumph Bonneville. I could take the Bonnie out and join the DG ride, but I’m a big advocate of the motorcycle comm-unity, and if my brothers and sisters on other bikes aren’t also welcome, I’m not interested. I can sit with you, but you make me not want to.
As for me…
Well, I made a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada directly, because cancer doesn’t care what you ride or how you dress, so why should we?