This year is a strange year for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride as we’ve moved from our traditional gathering to a solo ride event across the world. Though we are separated from one another, we are committed to doing our part as a community by standing together amidst these social hardships. On Sunday, September 27th, 2020 many will ride their own ride but I am confident there will be small clusters of friends who will come together for their own rides. That’s what the LA team is doing this Sunday.
I began organizing and operating the Los Angeles Distinguished Gentlemans Ride 5 years ago at the behest of DGR Founder, Mark Hawwa and since taking over, me and my team, alongside the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club have sought to elevate the conversation around men’s mental health, prostate cancer research, and suicide prevention while putting on a world-class event in one of the organizations top cities.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride means so much to its many participants but at its core, I believe empathy and community are the foundations of this great event and cause. Many of us are tied to it for personal reasons. For me, it’s always been the relationship between my father and me. Not only did my Pappy introduce me to motorcycles when I was younger, but he also fought and won his battle with prostate cancer before the DGR came into existence. Going through that with him as a young man served as a wake-up call for me to focus on my own health both physically and mentally. This confluence of life events including working within the motorcycle industry led me to my involvement in DGR.
I firmly believe that the first step in dealing with mental health is acknowledging we are individually flawed. Very few if any of us all have this life figured out. We all struggle with particular aspects of our lives. Some of us struggle more whereas some may struggle less. It then lies on the collective whole and sometimes just a set of concerned individuals to create that positive change. By opening lines of communication and asking for help or rendering help, we can greatly influence the lives of those around us. I owe this way thinking to both of my parents who instilled in me an ever-present need to reflect, modify, adapt, and grow.
As city host for Los Angeles, I have tried to put myself in a position to be there for any registered rider or anyone who wishes to talk through their problems. There are some topics I’m keen to help find solutions to but there are certainly matters outside of my skill set. In times like these, I will always do what I can to help those receive the help they need. This level of care and selflessness doesn’t begin and end with me but has been displayed by my core team who have helped make the LA ride one of the top rides in the world. We believe in helping one another by solidifying this awesome community and tackling these issues head on. As cliche as it sounds, at the end of the day, we’re in this together.
2020 has been a difficult year for many and it’s not without a shortage of mental health stressors. I wish we could have our ride this year in the traditional sense because that gathering and camaraderie is needed now more than ever but on the flip side, I understand and respect the need to curb a widespread pathogen.
As the city host for Los Angeles, I encourage all participants and riders who support the DGR to find a little time on September 27th to ride your own ride. Find a couple of members from previous years, maintain social distancing, and relish the camaraderie the DGR affords us but just on a smaller scale. 2020 will come and go but our sense of community will remain. After we move on from the pandemic, we’ll all ride as one again and celebrate this wonderful cause.
Photo Gallery of 2019 DGR – HERE