What is DGR? And why are we passionate about it?

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is not a race, rally or any kind of speed test. Today DGR is about getting large groups of people together to talk about the aspects of life that simply aren’t talked about enough – male mental health and prostate cancer. 



The hook that gets all these people together is a clever combination of classic motorcycles and fashion, it’s a look that has been best described as ‘riding dapper’ and yes, it’s very Terry Thomas, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines style, but it’s more than that, it’s all encompassing, embracing any style (of bike and clothing).

What is dapper?

It’s a good question, the style of DGR has constantly been nudged, pushed and tweaked in every direction imaginable. For example we’ve had several dogs involved in the Cambridge events over the years and 2024 was no exception with at least 2 dogs on bikes (with humans) not to mention a wide variety of bikes, from trikes (three-wheeled bikes) to classic bikes that are pushing 80-odd years old, sidecars, modern retro’s, commuter bikes and of course a host of 80’s and 90’s bikes.



Riding side by side around the world

DGR started in Sydney, Australia, the original idea came from Mark Hawwa, who was inspired by the photo above. It's taken from the TV Show ‘Mad Men’, where Don Draper sits astride a classic motorcycle wearing his finest suit. Mark was struck by this visual, “Instagram porn” is how he recalled it. But there was something bigger than that which captured Mark’s imagination, he was drawn to the way this image challenged the stereotype of what a motorcyclist is, what they value, their outlook…and above all the fact that they are just people, ordinary people, like you or me.



He decided a themed ride would be a great way of connecting motorcycle enthusiasts with the wider community around them, breaking down barriers and getting people talking to one another. Particularly men, who aren’t great about sharing personal information with their friends. That was in 2012 and 3000 riders took part that year across 64 cities in 15 countries.

DGR had started, it was very much a motorcyclists event, spread by word of mouth within motorcycle groups on social channels. By the following year (2013) it had grown to 11,000 riders in 145 cities and so began the fundraising, achieving $277,000 AUD!


Listen to Mark explaining how it all started in more detail in this episode of The Nod a mindful motorcycle podcast.

A combination of personal friendships and families who had lost male friends to both mental health and prostate cancer became the focus of the event. DGR partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia and the event rapidly expanded around the world.

DGR began to raise bigger and bigger funds, the ride was also an opportunity for people to remember other people and spread the word, reducing the number of people who may succumb to these silent killers – prostate cancer and suicide. Such was the popularity of the event that by 2014 there were 20,000 riders in 257 cities who raised $1.5 million, this allowed DGR to expand their prostate cancer support globally.

Raising funds and awareness of male mental health and prostate cancer

These remain the core objectives of the event. Getting people talking, both attendees of the ride and the spectators, as every ride takes place within a city, so people notice it, stop and ask themselves “what’s going on?”


Let’s be honest, it’s not every day that you see large groups of motorcyclists dressed in their finest suits, riding their bikes through cities. It’s an eclectic visual feast that has an amazing soundtrack, attracting people as it passes through the busy streets and suburbs. TBH this visual spectacle has to be seen to be believed, we’ve captured some video, but to really get the atmosphere, you need to be there in-person.

How much has it raised this year?

To date, these are the figures, but the funding doesn’t close for another couple of weeks, so they may still increase a little further. You can add your support here.


Dressed for success

As I’ve already said, every rider will have their own idea of what ‘dapper’ is, and what works with their ride – we had a bright red dragon riding with us this year. Within any DGR event there’s a wide range of looks and interpretations from ‘steam punk’ to ‘country squire’, and all kinds of creations in between. DGR welcomes everyone, it’s about expressing yourself, putting your stamp on things and sharing your style proudly with the world. Above all, it’s about being comfortable with who you are and sharing that with pride.



DGR is deliberately a slow ride, but there are still protective elements of your clothing to consider, with many people opting for protective under garments including vests and trousers with crash protection ‘hidden’ within the designs. This year Andy wore our Cursor shirt, with a blue sports jacket that featured our Glitch pocket square. The look was completed with brown cords and shoes. We haven’t got any pictures because he was very busy helping ‘corner marking’ and marshalling the event – the perfect excuse to not be in the shots 😄



Last year we produced this one-of-a-kind shirt for a fellow rider through our ReCode service, upcycling existing shirts into a new creation.

Classic bikes + fashion = miles of smiles

We love DGR, for us it's the epitome of enclothed cognition, the perfect demonstration of the power of clothing on our minds and well-being. Psychologically it's transformative, we count ourselves very lucky to bare witness to this power in full effect almost daily. We see just how powerful enclothed cognition is with our customers, it's joy to behold and a real perk of the job. Anything that encourages people to experiment, try something new and expand their social circle gets a big thumbs up from me, DGR does this in spades, and let's keep the good vibes flowing, we know it works, we have the perfect example here - DGR! The clothes you wear affect your outlook, nourish your inner self and sets you up for success. It's time to experiment a little and share your best self with the world.

DGR Cambridge ride 2024 and beyond

We have attended DGR is Cambridge for the past 4 years, with every passing year the ride gets bigger - more bikes, more dapper people and more people out supporting it. From a riders perspective the introduction of Cambridge Volunteer Bikers around 3 years ago has made a massive difference to the event. Having the support professional out-riders and marshalls makes the ride so much more pleasurable for the riders, the main road junctions are managed on your behalf, giving you time to relax and enjoy riding side by side.

CVB volunteer their services to support the ride. This epitomises what DGR is about, coming together sharing experiences, being open and welcoming, challenging perceptions and raising much needed funds. Until next year, stay dapper!