After two years as an abbreviated event due to COVID-19 health restrictions, New York City’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride returns to its full glory this coming May, with a stunning yet-to-be announced meet location, an 800-plus dapper moto ride circumnavigating the Big Apple, and post-ride festivities including awards, live entertainment, and a sponsor demo area.
A visual feast combining classic motorcycles with a Mad Men’s Don Draper fashion aesthetic, and the brainchild of Aussie moto enthusiast and entrepreneur Mark Hawwa, the DGR is setting up globally for Year 11 the second to last Sunday in May ... taking over 750+ cities.
"I am extremely excited at the prospect of all of us being able to ride again," Hawwa said from the worldwide DGR HQ in Sydney, Australia. "For years with this pandemic we have opted for a ride solo version of the event ... this year our goal is 100% riding together with each community uniting locally and globally on the same date. There is no doubt that the pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but being locked down and having restrictions has made the normality of DGR exciting again! I feel like it's an all fresh event after years of missing out on big group interactions."
While the 2022 NYC incarnation is expected to easily rival 2019’s world-topping ride, which raised a cool $200K for prostate cancer research and men's mental health resources, local organizers Michael Higgins and Allister Klingensmith will also be reviving some of the innovative ideas they introduced during the ‘solo’ ride events in 2020 and 2021.
Tops on that agenda is the Passport concept, which saw riders being invited to drop by some of NYC’s chief sponsors to scan a QR code, with all who successfully collected the required ‘digital stamps’ being entered into a special prize draw.
"We’re super excited for this year’s ride," Higgins said, following a prep meeting last week. "With restrictions finally lifting, we expect a big turnout. Folks are so ready for group events again, and DGR does such great job of bringing the NYC moto crowd together. To celebrate, we’re looking to host a ride worth all the wait."
DGR NYC ride leaders — Mike Higgins and Allister Klingensmith — developed a Passport adventure for the 2020 and 2021 solo events — Rahoul Ghose
There is no doubt that the pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but being locked down and having restrictions has made the normality of DGR exciting again! I feel like it's an all fresh event after years of missing out on big group interactions.
This year's incarnation will hopefully see the return of several past sponsors on the local scene, including Proraso shaving products, Dapper Tours NYC, East Coast Koverz, Gotham Depot Moto, Caffé Vitta, Godspeed and even NYC Motorcyclist. Globally Triumph Motorcycles and Elf top the sponsors list, with Rev’It and Hedon as a prize partners.
"Seeing everybody out and riding and healthy and happy is what we’re most excited about," Higgins added. "But this year we want to emphasize the fundraising aspect even more. We have great support and so much enthusiasm for the ride here in NYC, but the bulk of the fundraising comes from a surprisingly small number of riders," he said.
"In fact, well over half of of participants raise $0 historically. It’s such an important cause, this year we’re looking to institute a minimum donation for registration again, to balance things out and increase the totals we can achieve. I personally want to top the $200k mark we hit in 2019. We’re NYC, after all - I say we can get $250k!"
Scenes from the 2021 'Solo' DGR Ride Passport Rolling Photo location at Grand Central Termimal in Manhattan — Rahoul Ghose
With restrictions finally lifting, we expect a big turnout. Folks are so ready for group events again, and DGR does such great job of bringing the NYC moto crowd together.
The start and end points, and the actual route will be released to those that sign up officially online for the NYC ride at gentlemansride.com, closer to the event date, May 22.
As to specific details on the ride start, end point gathering and route, all Higgins would reveal is that the day would take advantage of some of “NYC’s incredible panoramic vistas and skylines,” and "bounce to the outside to loop Manhattan." He added his partner in crime – Klingensmith – is well into route planning with the NYPD Highway Patrol, which has supported the local event with pre-event logistics and day-of escorts and security for several years.
Nycmotorcyclist.com will again be organizing coverage on the day, with photo galleries featuring several of the city’s talented moto photographers and videographers as well as a drone crew.
Last year's team included Hugh Miller, Ryan Handt, Arnaldo Vargas, Derin Thorpe and a Group Gallery featuring Lukas North, Sarai Mari and Zoltan Suhay.
Photographers/videographers interested in shooting this year should email email@example.com or IM @nyc_motorcyclist on Instagram with some examples of their work.
Faces from the 2021 'Solo' DGR Ride Passport Rolling Photo location at Grand Central Termimal in Manhattan — Rahoul Ghose
It’s such an important cause, this year we’re looking to institute a minimum donation for registration again, to balance things out and increase the totals we can achieve. I personally want to top the $200k mark we hit in 2019. We’re NYC, after all - I say we can get $250k!
Registration for your ‘ride city of choice’ is now available, including the creation of a personal fundraising page for each entrant.
Visit gentlemansride.com for more details. Closer to event day, a local Facebook event page will again be launched with more details. And, as always, NYC Motorcyclist will try to keep readers up to date on the latest DGR announcements.
And if you are interested in being a local sponsor, contact Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P H O T O G A L L E R I E S : 2021 NYC DGR (5) | 2020 NYC DGR (3) | 2019 NYC DGR (6)
2 0 2 1 N Y C S T A T S : New Yorkers had a tight battle with our West Coast rivals – and moto friends – in Los Angeles for top fundraising city honors in the US, and passed Hamilton, Ontario to take fourth in the world by $1240. The Big Apple raised $90,563, with local fundraising icon Vincent Nicolai accounting for just under a quarter of that tally with $21,882. Vincent placed 4th in the world, and over the past seven years has individually raised $150K. NYC had 689 riders registered for 2021.
W H E R E T H E F U N D S G O : Monies raised through the DGR and its partnership with Movember are channelled into cutting-edge prostate cancer research and treatment programs, and also help fund innovative mental health programs. These funds have already been put to use and are seeing positive results, with plans for this year looking to make an even bigger impact to men's health. With your help, the 2021 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride will build upon these crucial investments and fund even more ground-breaking projects. Read More.
You can find out more about DGR, both globally and in NYC online at gentlemansride.com ... or follow the DGR social media: .