This time of year, men start growing their beards and moustaches, polishing their monocles, and in some cases, start fettling their trusty rides. Why? you may ask. ‘Cause motorcyclists are a caring band of brothers, that’s why.
Every September, worldwide, spiffily dressed men and quite a few ladies too, take to the streets to raise funds for men’s health, notably prostate cancer and mental health issues, both a scourge of our modern world.
Hold on, this is no ordinary year. This will go down in the history books as the year that the world rolled over in the face of the COVID pandemic. We assumed months ago already, that like most things, the traditional ‘Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’ would get cancelled.
So, we were hugely surprised when we got the news about their ‘Ride Solo’ concept, whereby participants would raise awareness and funds by dressing Dapper, riding solo on their classic motorcycles, capturing their moments and sharing onto social media using the following Hashtags; #dgr2020 #RideSoloTogether.
The lads from Triumph SA felt that we South Africans are a sociable bunch, especially after regulations kept us ‘locked down’ for yonks. They invited Distinguished Gents and their ladies (who all joined and made donations to the Triumph SA team), to pull in for a coffee from 9:00, shoot the breeze, get a snack from a resident food truck, then at their leisure, ride out on a ‘Set Route’ back to Triumph for more camaraderie before parting ways. Kudos to the Triumph team who raised close to R10 000 on the day.
We took a cruise from Pretoria and arrived just after 9:00, by which time music was pumping and the guys and gals arrived in their droves. Top hats and tails, tweed jackets, waistcoats and suspenders, leather gaiters, and a wide variety of classic bikes were very much on display. Understandably Triumph Bonnie derivatives ruled but I saw Harleys, BMW R nineT’s, R90 S’s and a beautifully restored Sunbeam and Norton Atlas.
One of the last GT750 water-cooled Suzuki’s rode in with its characteristic two-stroke burble and a wisp of smoke emanating from its four exhausts. Owners fondly referred to them as ‘water-buffalo’s’ or ‘fridges’ back in the day when water cooling was few and far between.
Les Van Breda gave the Honda fours a torrid time on SA racetracks with his GT750 nicknamed ‘Skilpad’. A brace of Honda Dax ST ’70s was accompanied by a lady on a pristine blue NC50 Honda.
The social gathering and mass ride issues were addressed by guys coming and going as they pleased, yet there was always activity around Triumph, which was great. With the event due to end around 12:00, we took our leave after what was a really fun time.
We then headed out to Hazelwood in Pretoria, where we were surprised to see that even though the mass Jo’burg ride did not happen this year, people still rode their bikes, dressed in Dapper and continued to fight the fight.
Sunshine, friends and bikes make for good times and this was no exception. Well done to Bruce and his enthusiastic team. It was great chilling with you all.
You can keep posted on future rides or still donate at – www.gentlemansride.com