We met an array of colourful characters at this years Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, each with their own unique story. Discover the tales behind the tweed here.
Brixton boys… and girls
Will Carr with Zubin Jafaar and girlfriend Emma Shackleford
Mates Will and Zubin were drawn to motorcycling for the freedom of expression it gives them, so DGR was a very good day.
Will, riding a Thruxton, said: “Social media and Instagram have changed the way people our age feel about motorcycles. It’s no longer about getting covered in oil and wearing leather – now you can dress up and ride.
“When you live in London, cars are a non-starter, so if you can dodge the traffic and look good doing it, that has to be a bonus. I love the cafe racer scene and the fact that you can create a DIY bike to really put your mark on how you ride.”
Zubin, a Harley A3 rider, agreed: “I love the old-school feel to riding nowadays and the fact that you can constantly change your bike depending on your mood or the fashion of the day.”
The sidecar kid
Steve Marsh, wife Lisa and daughter Alice, from Brighton
When born-again motorcyclist Steve saw this stunning black beauty sidecar on ebay he had to have it.
But after collecting it, he twined it with a Kawasaki W800 and the father-of-two conceded: “It just didn’t look right, so I had to buy another bike!”
Now, after getting himself a Triumph Thunderbird 900, he reckons he has the perfect combination: “I’ve been riding since 1967 but drifted away from it and talked about going back to it when the kids were older.
“One day I just thought ‘let’s do it’ and bought the Kawasaki and we’ve been travelling ever since. The best trip was around Majorca. Now we have the sidecar it’s even more comfortable for Lisa and Alice.”
Friends Susie Lodge, from Doncaster, and Merry Michau, from Brighton
Merry’s vintage Triumph T100 drew admiring gasps from the pipe-sucking fraternity as she prepared for the ride out.
“It does get a lot of admiring glances, but maybe that’s also because we’re a couple of blondes on motorcycles,” she joked.
Friend Susie said: “This is my second DGR and I’ve travelled down from Yorkshire to take part. I don’t know anyone up there who’s into the type of bikes I’m interested in, so it seemed the natural thing to do.”
The girls, who work for Belstaff, wanted to show their support for raising awareness of prostate cancer – a disease that kills 1,300 men around the world every day.
Susie, who rode a 2006 Bonneville, added: “Us girls are a lot better at getting things checked out, but the guys are still reluctant. We wanted to show our support and encourage them not to be so shy in the future.”
It’s a family affair
Craig Jarvis, wife Julie and daughter Molly, from Bury St Edmunds
Teenage scrambling addict Craig rediscovered his love of motorcycling on a family trip across India, and now tries to do one big trip a year.
Julie said: “We’ve taken the Harley down to France and across Europe, and love all being together in the open air, travelling and seeing things rather than just ‘getting there’ in a car.
“Now Molly sits in the sidecar, we are planning some even more exciting adventures because anything really is possible on a motorcycle.”
Molly, who took pictures of the crowd-lined streets during DGR, said: “The atmosphere was brilliant. One day I’d like to ride it on my own bike.”
Meet the Mo Bro
Ben Bowers, Movember Ambassador
Later this year millions of guys will unite and clean shave on the 1st Movember and become walking, talking billboards helping to generate awareness and raise vital funds as they wear Movember’s hairy ribbon, the moustache for 30 days.
But Movember Ambassador and Ducati rider Ben Bowers wants awareness of men’s health to become a year-round phenomenon – and not just a November tash try out.
For The Ride can reveal that talks are ongoing with Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride founder Mark Hawwa to build continued support for each other’s organisations.
Mo Bro Ben, 36, who lost one testicle and then the other to cancer, was given the all-clear after three months of intensive chemotherapy five years ago.
“It’s important that awareness of men’s health issues is a year-round thing, as when it comes to their health, too many men don’t talk, don’t take action and die too young. It’s not just about one month or one day – it’s about making guys aware of their health on an ongoing basis. At the Movember Foundation, we want men to live happier, healthier, longer lives,” he said.
Ben, who rides a Ducati and admits his mo is ‘rather too blond to impress in the first weeks of Movember’, added: “The aim is to raise awareness and money so we can invest in four key areas: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.”
He hailed the work of DGR as ‘inspirational’ and said it has opened up a whole new wave of supporters for the cause that now needed to move on to another level.
He said: “I’m not saying we should be growing tashes all year round because it’s damn hard work, but by working together with great ideas like DGR we can extend the global reach of the message we share.”