The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and the importance of looking out for each other
As we mentioned in a previous post looking at the iconic Royal Enfield Bullet 500, the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride is taking place this weekend. The DGR originated here in Australia where the hipster contingent gathered up their café racers and waxed their beards before riding out to raise funds for research into prostate cancer. These days the run takes place all over the world and this year’s event is tracking to raise over $5 million US dollars.
Since the beard grooming business as well as the café racer scene both stubbornly refuse to go away, the revenue is now sufficient to share with other projects. Now the DGR have teamed up with the Movember Foundation to raise awareness of, and fund, suicide prevention and men’s mental health in general.
Here at Raceway we actively encourage riders of both genders to take part in riding bikes and we’re particularly keen to see the ladies take part as much as we do. Taking one’s own life, it appears, is something of a male specialist subject with figures from all over the world showing us that men account for a little over 75% of all deaths recorded this way.
There are a number of organisations here that can offer some help. Groups such as Beyond Blue have come to be known for the good work that they do. More urgent support comes from Lifeline and similar organisations. These people do a tremendous amount of good and often do so with very little funding and rely on a lot of volunteers to get what they need to get done, done.
All of these groups talk about one thing in common. That is, the value of talking. As men, that appears to be the one thing that we are more than reluctant to do. As the DGR website states: “The uncomfortable truth is that some stereotypical forms of masculinity are killing men.” Toughing it out, remaining the strong silent type and not bothering anyone with what goes on for us has been something that at least some of us are finding terminally unproductive.
All of the professionals appear to agree on one thing. It’s isolation that does the damage. It seems simple that we are therefore the collective solution to this problem.
As people who ride motorcycles we increasingly experience more freedom than we might ordinarily do. Getting out in the air, moving dynamically and being free from the confines of other traffic, or at least significantly freer than the rest of our car-bound chums, gives us at least some reprieve from what can, at times, be difficult circumstances.
Riding out with each other on a regular basis is always going to be better again. Taking a brisk spin out over the mountain road and stopping for a refreshing caffeinated beverage to shoot the breeze may well be the “Apple a day” for simple good mental and emotional health.
We tend to lose friends as we get older. Raising a family, managing a career and keeping the wolf from the door all tend to be very time-consuming. How many of us have a friend who fits this bill? How many of us fit this bill? Asking each other questions such as: “How are you feeling today?” may well be regarded as a little bit effeminate, but asking a mate if they’re up for a spin in the morning has no such connotations. Those ‘man hugs’ that some riders insist on giving out can be a little bit difficult to avoid however…
Being in a position to listen is often as important, and indeed, as rewarding as being in a position to talk. The old saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is very often true. Facing into redundancy, illness or the end of a marriage or significant relationship can seem overwhelming. The bit of perspective that comes to light when the problem is aired often makes the world of difference.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride will take place on the 30th of September 2018. You can register to take part in this one, or even put your own together for 2019. In the meantime, please take the time to look after each other and we’ll all do our bit to keep this awful number down.
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in distress, please, please call the people at Lifeline on 131114. It’s a free phone call, they don’t see your number and won’t even ask your name. We’ve never needed you to stick around as much as we need you to stick around now.
To make sure your bike is ready to go and help give you the appearance of a distinguished gentleman, download our free pre-ride POWDER checklist!
To find out more about raceway motorcycles and services please contact us directly on 03) 9351 0055