The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia, by Mark Hawwa. His idea was a themed motorcycle ride to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorbikes, while connecting communities together and raising funds for charity.
It began with 2,500 riders in 64 cities; this year, over 120,000 men in 650 cities will convene with their classic motorcycles to raise funds and awareness for men’s health — specifically prostate cancer and mental health. The ride will be held on September 30, 2018.
DENHAM is a proud supporter of the “DGR,” which coincides with the launch of the new DENHAM X Barbour International collection. We caught up with the organiser of the DGR Rotterdam, Gideon Schipaanboord, to find out more.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Gideon Schipaanboord and I’m the director of a creative digital agency called GuiltyPeople. We connect brands with consumers, which I think reflects the red thread in my life: connecting people. Next to that, I have a passion for motorcycles and especially the vintage and custom scene. I grew up in the ‘70s and saw a lot of older, classic bikes, and I got really passionate about it. A few years ago, I bought a Triumph motorcycle and fell in love with it … but I also wanted to meet people who had a similar interest in bikes.
How did you get involved in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?
I was once on my bike and stopped a red light, and I wanted to chat with a guy beside me who was also on a bike. It was noisy, we had big helmets on, and couldn’t really hear each other. It was a shame we couldn’t connect; I wanted to find a way to meet people who share my passion for motorbikes, so I started to do research online. I ended up taking a bike trip with my brother to Morocco, and during that trip we met someone who was involved in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. They asked if I would like to organize a ride in Rotterdam, so I set that up. It was nearly four years ago.
How was the first ride?
I was hoping for 20 people to show up, and in the end, there were 150 people! That was in 2015. In 2016, we had 300 riders; in 2017 we had 600 riders. I’m hoping this year will raise even more awareness.
What’s special about the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?
I like the DGR because it has two goals: to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s mental health, and to make people smile again when they see someone on a motorbike. There is a negativity about motorbikes and gangs, and the DGR helps to break down those stereotypes, because we all dress in our best suits.
What is it like to particulate in the ride?
It’s an amazing day. Once even the police stopped us and asked what was going on. When we told them, they wanted to join! So, we had two cops riding in front of us.
What are you planning to wear during this year’s ride?
I’m a true gentleman! I’m going to wear dark wash jeans that I had customised at the DENHAM store in Rotterdam; they made us really special, bespoke patches for the ride. I’ll pair those with a dress shirt, a bow tie and a jacket.
How many bikes do you down and which is your favourite?
I started with Triumph, then I bought a BMW and another. In my garage at this moment I have six bikes. My favourite is still my Triumph, which I’m really attached to. It’s taken me through so many adventures, including two trips to Africa.
DENHAM has just launched a collaboration with Barbour International. We heard your bike has a special connection to Barbour?
I have always loved Barbour and own lot of their jackets. I recently needed to get the back seat of my motorcycle reupholstered, which is normally done in leather. But instead, I had the idea to buy an old Barbour jacket and used that for the back seat.