New York City has always been a special place for DGR. There’s something unique about the local community; they know how to come together and support a cause that means so much to so many people. Our ride hosts there are two of the best that NYC have to offer, Mike and Allister. These are guys who, year-on-year, adapt and grow the NYC event in some of the most creative ways we’ve seen.
While New York City’s 2021 Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride – part of a worldwide charity event in aid of prostate cancer research and men’s mental health resources – will go ‘solo’ again this coming May, organizers have come up with some adventurous ways to enhance the dapper experience for Big Apple gentlefolk.
Celebrating its 10th year, as well as a new spring date on May 23, the local DGR traditionally features 800-plus participants, dressed to the nines and parading their vintage iron through the city in formation under the watchful eye of NYPD Highway Patrol.
Last year’s COVID-19 pandemic put a necessary wrench in that plan for the September 2020 ride, with health protocols restricting large group events and shutting down restaurants and bars throughout the city.
Ride organizers Mike Higgins and Allister Klingensmith have again made the call this year to put participants’ health first, by bringing back a ‘solo’ format, albeit with some new and stylish bells and whistles.
As with 2020, a rolling photo op at one of the city’s iconic locales will feature prominently in the plans, says Higgins, an NYC-based marketing consultant, who along with Klingensmith, has headed DGR planning in NYC for the past five years.
“The concept is like a Sunday ride, shine the bike, get in your dapper gear and go on a three-hour tour of the city,” Higgins said.
DGR NYC ride leaders — Mike Higgins and Allister Klingensmith — have developed a Passport adventure for 2021's solo event — Rahoul Ghose
We can say with confidence that the 2021 rolling photo will be a highlight for all riders.
Last year saw a small photo crew, including local moto shooter Ryan Handt, setting up on the 59th Street / Queensboro Bridge to capture images of participants crossing with a Manhattan vista in the background. NYPD Highway patrol shut down the Northern outside lane on the bridge for four hours to facilitate the shoot.
For Handt, last year's experience was a memorable one.
"Removing photography from the equation, the rarity of standing on the Queensboro bridge is something I’ll never forget," Handt said. "A place better known for traffic and road rage took a short break on a fall day, allowing for some charitable motorcyclists to take a solo ride across the its span. The smiles I saw were unbridled and genuine. I’ll remember the experience for a long time."
This year Higgins promises an even cooler photo op for riders in the heart of the city, a locale which will be released to all registered riders just before May 23. Images will be posted following the ride in a gallery on NYCMotorcyclist.com, and hi-res print versions will also be available for an additional donation to the DGR cause. Klingensmith confirmed local police will again be coordinating safety on the day.
“We can say with confidence that the 2021 rolling photo will be a highlight for all riders,” Higgins said.
Sporting a Rock Boy Choppers bagger creation, @RockboyTaigerRah, and Christina Davis -- on her trusty Trumpet, ride through photographer Ryan Handt's strobe and trigger set up on the 59th Street / Queensboro Bridge during the 2020 DGR NYC : Ride Solo Sunday last September | Your photogs — Ryan Handt
Removing photography from the equation, the rarity of standing on the Queensboro bridge is something I’ll never forget. A place better known for traffic and road rage took a short break on a fall day, allowing for some charitable motorcyclists to take a solo ride across the its span. The smiles I saw were unbridled and genuine. I’ll remember the experience for a long time.
Adding to the plans this year will be a new ‘passport’ format, encouraging solo riders to visit selected destinations during their DGR ride.
“While not a designated route, the DGR NYC Passport will create a handful of destinations that engage registered riders and drive them to make a stop at our local sponsors,” Higgins said. “We will of course, require riders to respect and follow all COVID protocols when not on their motos. As long as we're being safe, a quick stop, and wave to a fellow rider will offer a needed bit of camaraderie.”
Registered participants are encouraged to check in at all passport locations, making them eligible for a grand prize draw, while some of the sponsored stops will also feature branded giveaways and deals for visitors.
Celebrating a decade globally and some impressive accomplishments along the way — $24.68 million raised to date for prostate cancer research and men's mental health resources — DGR founder and director Mark Hawwa, with help from local organizers around the world, has built an event that makes a difference.
"New York City has always been a special place for DGR. There’s something unique about the local community; they know how to come together and support a cause that means so much to so many people," Hawwa said from DGR HQ in Sydney, Australia.
"Our ride hosts there are two of the best that NYC have to offer, Mike and Allister. These are guys who, year-on-year, adapt and grow the NYC event in some of the most creative ways we’ve seen. 2020 was a tough year, and we’re all still feeling the repercussions of it. Economies have taken a hit, and we’re all feeling that little bit less connected since we can’t travel. This year, we’re looking to safely bring people together where we can, and celebrate the fact that DGR has been running for its 10th year — and NYC will be celebrating in its own typical distinctive style. We’re encouraging anyone who’s supported the cause over those 10 years to register and celebrate the impact they’ve had in improving the lives of men all around the world."
SOLO MOMENTS: Bucky N. Edgerton daps in dapper fashion during last years DGR NYC rolling photo op on the 59th Street / Queensboro Bridge | Bettina Elling on the pegs | Ape hangers head on — Rahoul Ghose
As always, local support makes the NYC DGR possible, and allows us to host a ride that generates awareness, builds community, raises funds, and rewards participation.
While DGR globally is partnered with Movember and sponsored by Triumph motorcycles, Hedon helmets, Belstaff, elf lubricants, SKRAM moto eyewear and the Pipeburn moto website, look for local companies like Godspeed Co, Prorasa, Caffe Vita, Rockaway Brewing Co, Dapper Tours NYC, johnnypuetz Productions and NYC Motorcyclist to help with prizes, giveaways, promotion, marketing and photo/video coverage.
“As always, local support makes the NYC DGR possible, and allows us to host a ride that generates awareness, builds community, raises funds, and rewards participation,” Higgins said.
Official registration for the DGR starts today (March 28) on gentlemansride.com, where you can set up a personal fundraising page. Look for more updates on the NYC ride over the coming month. You can follow the global preparations and celebrations on Instagram @gentlemansride.
And if you are interested in being a local sponsor, contact Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P H O T O G A L L E R I E S : 2020 NYC DGR (3) | 2019 NYC DGR (10)
2 0 2 0 N Y C S T A T S : Vincent Nicolai was the Big Apple's top rider in 2020, finishing fourth globally with just under $16K raised. And a small 16-rider New York Classic Riders contingent -- including Nicolai and NYC Motorcyclist -- finished top three in the team's category, behind only corporate sponsor groups from Triumph and Hedon Helmets. The NYCR raised $27,246 as of closing on October 11. NYC raised just under $53K with 384 participating in the Ride Solo format.
W H E R E T H E F U N D S G O : Monies raised through the DGR and its partnership with Movember are channelled into cutting-edge prostate cancer research and treatment programs, and also help fund innovative mental health programs. These funds have already been put to use and are seeing positive results, with plans for this year looking to make an even bigger impact to men's health. With your help, the 2021 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride will build upon these crucial investments and fund even more ground-breaking projects. Read More.
You can find out more about DGR, both globally and in NYC online at gentlemansride.com ... or follow the DGR social media: .