Distinguished Gentlemans Ride
The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride happened again last weekend and as expected had continued to grow in attendance from the previous year. With well over a thousand bikes in London alone it has established itself as a major event in the motorcycling calendar. The idea to ride classic styled motorcycles dressed in 'Dapper' attire is both a lot of fun and a great way to raise awareness and funding for charity. As so it has been adopted by some 56k riders, across 505 rides in 90 countries.
Leading up to the event we had Movember come down to the store to do some filming. As one of the DGR charity partners they are best known for their initiative to grow a mustache over the month of November. Their idea was to live stream from the Bolt store with the cameras focusing on a motorcycle, just a motorcycle, doing nothing. Maybe I am showing my age but the idea of tuning in to what a static object streamed live seemed baffling to me. The 75k viewers world wide who caught the live stream obviously thought differently and waves of facebook 'likes' scrolled along the stream as well as comments from excited attendees preparing for the next days events.
I was approached by luxury menswear brand Duchamp to wear one of their suits for the event. In the week before I was fitted for a beautiful mohair suit which was matched with a ditzy print shirt, and a bow tie. It's been a long time since I donned a suit, well exactly a year to be precise since the last DGR. Whilst I was hoping to ride the Buell it was still undergoing some garage work so I was left with the filthy Harley Davidson Ironhead as a second choice, the lambretta as per usual is in pieces once again. Petrol spits from the tank cap, and a constant stream of oil gushes from the casings spraying the back tyre and everything else in its way - I feared the suit might not last the day.
A few of us met at Bolt and then headed over to Here East where the event starts. We arrived in good time so as to have breakfast before the ride commenced, after a heavy night the preceding evening eating something was now essential if I was to make it through. Despite our timely arrival the place was heaving, bikes almost completely filled the space and the restaurants heaved with tweed suited gentleman and women. Its always social and an opportunity to see a great deal of friends in one go, the sun was out and a jolly atmosphere was present. With legs akimbo i had managed to ride the Harley without getting the suit dirty, next it was to attempt a full english under the pressure of ten minutes before the ride starts without making a mess.
The ride set off with a tremendous roar of engines and smoke as the tightly packed bikes, excited to be moving, revved away in a mexican wave that past through the crowd. We headed out on to the A12 and before long found ourselves lane splitting through the traffic. After about half an hour of riding on the clutch I could feel the Iron Head over heating and the clutch plates burning, it was not very happy and only a matter of time before it let me know just how disgruntled it had become. I peeled off and headed back to Bolt.
An impromptu BBQ followed and a good few bikes came and filled the yard spilling over on to the street outside. The neighbours who tend to enjoy a grumble looked on in confusion, they expected to see the usual leather clad menace but today the yard was filled with the suited and booted. Off footed from their usual sense of superiority you could sense their struggle to make sense of it all.