This is a great opportunity to land a local sponsor that wants to get involved. I think the 10-year aspect will put some more eyes on it, so hopefully we can get businesses excited to help out and get fundraising and awareness to match our success of past years.
The only constant in life is change …
Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride HQ in Sydney, Australia recently announced the annual prostate cancer and mental health fundraising ride would celebrate its 10th year with a permanent move to the Spring starting in 2021.
Next year’s worldwide ride date will be Sunday, May 23, with another, vintage car-based event -- the Distinguished Gentleman's Drive – taking the last Sunday in September slot.
That means the DGR is less than 190 days away, locally, kicking off the riding season as opposed to wrapping it up.
“Well, a spring date means we’ll be riding again sooner than expected,” says Mike Higgins, who co-leads the NYC ride event with Allister Klingensmith. “We’ll be ramping up planning and sponsorship recruitment real soon, (and) we’ll have to see what the calendar of events looks like for NYC in May. The change means potentially cooler weather and more threat of rain, but weather is something that can always disrupt things regardless of the date.”
Higgins and Klingensmith, who had to adapt to a COVID-19 forced solo ride format this past September, were part of a group of city organizers around the world that were consulted on the date change.
“The DGR team in Sydney did reach out and keep us informed of the idea,” Higgins says. “We know they weighed the decision pretty heavily and wanted plenty of input from all the larger rides. NYC and the US amount to a big portion of the participants and fundraising, so they were quite conscious of making sure our side of the pond shared our thoughts on the move. But they have to consider hundreds of rides all over the world, so we support the bigger picture decision.”
Higgins said his only concern was that the date could compete with the Memorial Day Weekend in the US, but that falls on May 31 next year.
With the new date only just confirmed, Higgins added the NYC ride has not yet started planning any specific details to commemorate the ride’s 10th anniversary.
“That’s sort of crazy to think about. A decade. We’ve certainly grown NYC along with the global ride, which feels good. But we’ve not figured out what we can do to commemorate the milestone, so, we’re not sure who’ll be popping out of the cake just yet.”
“Of course, we’ll get in touch with our usual partners. But this is a great opportunity to land a local sponsor that wants to get involved. I think the 10-year aspect will put some more eyes on it, so hopefully we can get businesses excited to help out and get fundraising and awareness to match our success of past years.”
NYC DGR 2019, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. — Simon Russell
Our hope is to find a way to give NYC riders a way to capture a bit of the camaraderie and community that the DGR brings once a year, in something that has a more year-round application … or at least more season-long. We’ll be reaching out to the community soon and vetting the idea with some key folks to see how we can get support, make it better, and then make it real.
And yes, Higgins would like to see NYC repeat its 2019 success as the number-one fundraising city in the world with more than $200K raised.
“Hell yeah. We’re NYC. We want to be on top.”
Of course, there’s still the elephant in the room … where the world will be in Spring in terms of having the COVID-19 pandemic crisis contained and under control.
A return to the group ride format after a year off could see even greater participation in the city, which has in the past hosted more than 1,000 riders under the guidance of NYPD Highway Partol, Higgins says.
“That’s a tough one, considering the virus numbers are rising currently. But, yes, if the world makes strides and the health concerns are in the rear-view mirror, I think we’ll see great participation. People will be more than ready to get out in numbers to support a great cause and be together again. We are hopeful, but will put health first, of course.”
Klingensmith added, “Mike nailed it. I think that COVID has us all twisted up. Who knows what will happen in May, so I think we all need to play this by ear. As happened this year, we're interested first in safety.”
In the meantime, the dapper pair are also concentrating on a new DGR-funded project for the city as part of the global event’s Social Connections Challenge program.
$1.15M AUD ($840M US) of funding is being put toward programs that encourage positive social connections within the motorcycling community. The initiative has leveraged funds raised by the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride community to find ideas that can improve the social connectedness, life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of motorcycle riders.
Eighteen programs successfully reached the first stage of funding from across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and the UK to allow the program leads to develop and test their ideas.
Higgins and Klingensmith’s submission is one of four ideas moving forward in the US.
“The Turn is aimed at male riders of all ages and will engage with the NYC motorcycle community to provide a year-round program that focuses on fostering community and tackling mental health issues,” the DGR’s official release states.
Final details are still being worked out, Higgins says.
“We were excited to get to have gotten to the next steps. Now we’re tasked with figuring out how to make it a real-world program. Our hope is to find a way to give NYC riders a way to capture a bit of the camaraderie and community that the DGR brings once a year, in something that has a more year-round application … or at least more season-long. We’ll be reaching out to the community soon and vetting the idea with some key folks to see how we can get support, make it better, and then make it real.”
So, look forward to two DGR-related projects in NYC in the coming year.
For now you can pre-register for the 2021 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride online at gentlemansride.com. For DGR NYC 2021 sponsor opportunities, email Higgins at email@example.com.