Events: Festival

Keeping it Dapper at the DGR

A story in every ride

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is well on the way to raising its target of US$3 million to help in the fight against prostate cancer.

Thousands of riders took to the streets in their finery in cities around the world, with tashes, pipes and waistcoats to the fore.

The team were at the London event to catch up with some of the riders putting on the style through the city’s streets.

The three amigos

Patrick Manser with pals Gary Poole and Matt Gamble, from Walton in Surrey

Patrick, Matt & Gary

“We came to DGR last year and there is nothing else quite like it for seeing so many beautiful motorcycles in one place at the same time. The people of London and the tourists were brilliant and cheered us all the way along the route.

“A ride like this reminds you of the very essence of motorcycling. Taking something from the 70s and restoring it to make it even cooler than when it first appeared is the way forward. It’s also a chance to wear something slightly different.

“Modern bikes have their place but it’s harder to make your mark on them and truly make them your own. I have a Speed Triple at home but chose a Harley AA3, Gary has a Honda CB250 cafe racer and Matt was on a BMW R75.”

Me and my boy

Howard and Paul Jones, from Camden, London

Father and son Howard and Paul passed their motorcycle test on the same day eight years ago… and haven’t looked back since.

Howard & Paul

“To be honest, it’s been the start of a brilliant series of adventures all over the world. Motorcycles make your dreams become possible,” said Paul.

Howard, who bought himself a Honda CL400 rat, had a scooter at 16 but gave up the good life when he started a career, settled down and had children.

“I didn’t come back to it until my two boys started getting into riding,” he said.

But the pair have been making up for lost time since 2007, and Paul, who rides a 2006 Harley Fat Boy, said: “We’ve been to Mexico, California, all over the place and we’ve never had a single argument. It has definitely made the bond between me and my dad even stronger.

Howard said: “It’s lovely to do something with your children and no, we didn’t fall out down Mexico way. The tequila helped with that!”

Gramps and the young apprentice

Grandad Nigel Lomas with granddaughter Ellie Sunderland, aged 11, from Hertfordshire

Veteran Triumph owner Nigel is inspiring the third generation of motorcycle riders in his family… and having fun doing it.

Nigel & Ellie

But he might not have made it to this year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride but for a quick and easy PSA test for prostate cancer.

“I had symptoms and they thought it might be that. My PSA levels were high, but it turned out to be bladder cancer, which is easier to live with. They took it out and now I’m coping with it,” he said.

Nigel, who bought his first bike in 1968, has never wavered from Triumph for the last two decades and now rides a Thunderbird LT 1700, after recently switching from a Bonneville. His pillion passenger is usually Ellie, the pair enjoying adventures to Southend, the Ace Cafe in north London and Epping Forest.

She said: “It’s much more fun than going by car. On a bike you’re part of the action and see and smell so many more things. I love going out on the bike with grandad.”

Nigel, who has raised £4,500 for DGR in the last two years, added: “I got back into Triumph when John Bloor took over and I love pretty much everything they produce.”

Mr Sideburns

Mike Smith, from Bromley, south-east London


Mike looked every inch the gent on his GT Continental Royal Enfield, but was quick to stress: “I’m Triumph born and bred”.

The Londoner, who grew his whiskers for 10 months in readiness for the DGR, said: “I’ve had a Suzuki Streetfighter, Harleys and lots of Triumphs because my old man wouldn’t ride anything else.

“At the moment I’ve got four bikes including a Tiger 800, but for the DGR I wanted something really classic. Next year I’m thinking of doing a bit of work to build a kind of bobber-streetfighter cross.”

But he joked: “Triumph are my first love. One day I’ll inherit my old man’s ’77 Bonneville Silver Jubilee. He knows I’ve got my eye on it.”

This year’s DGR completed, Mike dashed home to take a razor to his facial furniture: “I started growing it when my daughter was born 10 months ago, but the missus won’t come near me, so it’s got to go now I’ve done my bit for DGR.”


There were so many dapper characters at this year’s DGR, we’ve got even more stories for you later on this week. Stay tuned…