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If you build it they will come. 2024 Distinguished Gentlemans Ride Sanford

If you build it they will come. The original quote is slightly different, but I haven’t watched Field of Dreams and honestly, I like the wrong one better because it brings up the idea of community, of people coalescing around a figure, an idea, a symbol. And in a way, that’s exactly what happened in Sydney more than 10 years ago when Mark Hawwa decided, together with a handful of his friends to dress up in dapper attire and ride on the city streets on vintage bikes to try and raise money for men’s health. He built it and they came. And how they did! From 64 cities and 3,000 riders in 2012 to 893 cities in 107 countries and 106,000 riders. From 277,000 Aussie Dollars in 2013 to 7,450,000 American in 2023.

The importance of the causes is rapidly evident when you look at numbers. Mental health - one man on average every minute ends his own life. One flame extinguished. A brother, a father, a husband, a friend lost. The burden is getting heavier and harder to bare on one’s own. Prostate cancer - the second most common type of cancer in men. Over 10,000,000 men around the world have been touched by this scourge. These numbers alone should make you shudder. They should also make you think. That’s a wide net cast over the entire globe. You might be a man that finds himself caught in it. You might love a man who will be. You might look up to one. The goal of the DGR, at the end of the day is to try to make sure that these men will be in our lives for as long as possible.

And so I’m writing these lines with optimism for the future, optimism sparked by the ever increasing amount of donations the DGR receives every year to fund their programs. I’m writing with gratitude for those who make the rides possible every year. This year I’m riding in the Sanford ride, hosted by Sean - someone who is building it and they are coming. The Sanford DGR found its new home at 73Moto and while the cause is serious, the event itself is a joyous cause for celebration. The afterparty Sean has planned at The Basin is promising to be a proper riot. Rumor has it there might be some prizes up for grabs. There are even whispers of an elusive 2024 73Moto coin. Find out for yourself.

EvilMotoz is another embodiment of the philosophy in this post’s first paragraph. A sponsor of the Sanford ride, sure. But what’s going on in the EvilMotoz garage is more than just helping out with a dollar donation. The DGR was always supposed to be centered around vintage bikes and old Brit singles, twins and triples are getting a new lease on life in the Delaney Park shop all the time. Maybe this year you didn’t manage to get that 60s Bonnie going in time for the ride. Maybe next year EvilMotoz might do it for you.

At the end of the day it’s a team effort. A lot of us show up, ride the ride and don’t give much thought to all the planning behind it and all the small details. You probably don’t know about the back and forth Sean, David, Jason and Laura had with the powers that be about the route. And you might not know that Miguel from MotoVida graciously did the posters and photo wall for free, or that Sky Powersports in Sanford, despite not being a Triumph dealer (one of the DGR’s traditional partners) donated to the cause.

Lastly, for you and I, this ride might just be a way to help a good cause, but for some of us it is so much more. Among us, there are riders or sponsors for whom the causes supported by the DGR hit home in a way that we probably won’t be able to understand and hopefully will never have to confront. Tony, our ride leader this year is one such person. While I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to writing style, I think his words are more important than my exercise in penmanship and so, rather than paraphrasing, I’ll let him tell you below why the DGR is important to him.

Tony V. @fl_coffeeracer

“In January of 2015, our family was forever tragically affected by a close family member’s suicide.  While navigating through the pain associated with such a loss, I began to openly speak about depression, mental illness and suicide, quickly learning the affects are widespread while hearing of other’s personal stories.  This ride quickly became a passion, learning the people we ride with are just as important as the reasons we ride for. I have never had the opportunity to assist in the planning, let alone lead the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.  Sean from 73Moto has graciously provided this opportunity, an opportunity I do not take lightly.  I promise this will not only be an amazing ride and one hell of an after party, but I will forever make myself available to the riders who desire to share their stories and/or challenges.  It is through compassion and caring that the biggest differences are made.  On May 19th,  we will purposely bring attention and awareness in the coolest & classiest of ways for those fighting and the ones we have lost.

So come up to The Basin on the 19th of May. Ride with us. Thank all these folks for the effort they put in. Donate for a great cause. Check in on your friends and loved ones. Check in on yourself. Ride dapper!

168 views2 comments

2 Σχόλια

What an engaging read! I am thrilled to represent EvilMotoz in expressing our appreciation for the well-crafted piece. See you Sunday!

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Tony V
Tony V
01 Μαΐ

Great article & thrilled to be part of DGR!! THANK YOU!!

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