Tag: DGR

Mark Hawwa: DGR Social Connections Challenge a “World First”

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) have partnered with Movember for a new community program aimed at better connecting male motorcyclists. We chat with Mark Hawwa – the Founder of DGR, Throttle Roll and Ride Sunday – about this special initiative.

Mark Hawwa - Founder of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride
Mark Hawwa – Founder of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) has been going since 2012. How did it start, and how have you seen it change over the years?

I had just come back from a trip to Japan and fell in love with their mix of a classic and custom motorcycling scene. When I got back, I was determined to get a bike that could bring that style back here to Australia, but none of my mates rode that kind of bike, so I started the Sydney Cafe Racers. As the custom style caught on, I started seeing people from around the world get into these groups and we connected over a joint love of custom motorcycles. Then the idea for DGR hit me when I saw a poster of Mad Men’s Don Draper sitting on a Matchless motorcycle in his beautifully tailored suit and thought it was a really interesting way to show a motorcyclist. At the time in Australia, we had a lot of issues with public perception of “bikies”, so it motivated me to spread the word throughout these groups and get everyone riding on the same day on their classic and vintage style bikes to dress dapper and ride together to break down that negative stereotype. That was 3,000 riders in 64 cities, and now we’re connecting 116,000 riders in 678 cities, so quite a lot has changed!

DGR Wollongong
DGR Wollongong. Image by Garry Gao

DGR has a special relationship with its global charity partner the Movember Foundation. How did the idea of the DGR Social Connections Challenge come about?

The relationship with Movember formed in 2016. We were working with various Prostate Cancer Foundations around the world to localise people’s donations and provide them with tax deductibility, but it was a tough job. We connected with Movember and everything just moved forward naturally. We have really similar goals in how to provide support for men and are actively funding a wide range of prostate cancer research and mental health programs to connect men in motorcycling.

The DGR Social Connections Challenge came about with us knowing how dedicated our community through DGR was in fundraising and in changing the way men communicate, so we thought it was finally time to help bring specific programs targeted at all riders to make a difference to them directly. This program isn’t just for people in DGR, but for every single male motorcyclist. We’ve never done anything like this before and Movember was really excited to build out a program that helps us better connect with riders as a part of their “going to where men are” approach to mental health. It really is a world-first and we’re honoured to be able to bring this to the global riding community.

What countries are involved?

Currently, we are accepting pilot programs in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada as these are the areas that we can directly offer funding and support. Once the pilot programs go through the Challenge, there is definitely an opportunity for them to scale further and operate in more areas.

Are the grants open to groups as well as individuals?

Absolutely anyone is welcome to submit an application. Groups or individuals. We’d also recommend you have a mate or two helping out as this is potentially a 15-month program if you get through to Phase 2, so having a bit of friendly support wouldn’t be a bad idea.

DGR Sydney
Image by James Macintyre

How will the Challenge be carried out?

The Challenge will be carried out in two key phases at this stage. It’ll be broken down as Phase 1.1, Phase 1.2, Phase 2, and Phase 3. A maximum of 25 grants valued at up to AUD $7,500 will be awarded internationally under Phase 1 of this opportunity.

Step 1 asks applicants to submit an Inspiration Statement. The applicants with the most creative and innovative ideas will be invited to pitch their idea. Successful pitches will be considered upon receipt of a signed, short-form Movember funding agreement which will lead them into Step 2.

In Step 2, development funds will be provided to assist in research, engage with the targeted group, design and create an initiative plan over a 9-week period that has the potential to be piloted. This is the core period where we can really give attention to people’s ideas and see if they can work.

From here, the best candidates will be invited into Phase 2, where we really get into the nitty-gritty of the program.  A maximum of ten pilot project grants valued at up to AUD $75,000 will be awarded internationally under Phase 2 to carry out implementation of pilot project plans over a 12-month period.  This is where programs will really scale up and take serious shape to test out the ideas and try to bring riders together in the process.

Continued investment may be forthcoming in Phase 3 for those projects that show the greatest promise for ‘scaling up’ at the end of the pilot period. This is an extended piloting phase, so the continuation is really dependant after Phase 2.

The great thing about this is event programs that are not invited into Phase 3 will be in a position to keep working at their ideas. The support that we’re looking to provide over the course of the next 15 months will give our applicants a huge level of insight into how they can scale and succeed their ideas.

DGR Wollongong 2017
Image by Keoghs Vision Photography

How will the grant applications be judged – what are you looking for?

We definitely have a few things we’re looking out for in this. If the name is any indicator to you, we’re looking for ideas that help connect riders socially, outside of the DGR community. This is a really wide-net to men in motorcycling, so it should be something that connects all men, and especially, those guys that may be a little harder to reach when it comes to connecting. With the focus on connections, we are also looking at programs that strength peer-to-peer support and can allow us to provide positive role models and mentors to all riders, and improve everyone’s knowledge about mental health and suicide prevention.

What’s involved in submitting an idea?

All you need to do to get this off the ground is register online HERE and submit an Inspiration Statement by July 6th. From there, you may get invited into Phase 1.1 to pitch your concept with a few other pieces. You can find a more detailed breakdown of this at www.gentlemansride.com/blog/dgr-scc

How soon will the funds be allocated?

Funding will be provided within the Phase stages by Movember, so successful applicants will be able to allocate those funds to areas that will help them succeed best. The great thing here is Movember will be with them all the way to help identify where these funds might be best placed.

Is this something DGR and Movember plan to do on an annual basis?

Who knows?! This is a first-time for us, so once we get through it, we’ll absolutely be reviewing and seeing just how successful the concept is. In some way, I’d like to though. It’s really important that we’re funding programs where our riders need it most, so this will absolutely be a test of that.

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, Wollongong
Some very distinguished Wollongong gents. Image by Keoghs Vision Photography.

Given that the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a global event, what changes can we expect for 2020 with varying COVID-19 social restrictions worldwide?

Worldwide, we’re looking at a Solo Event for 2020, which will eliminate mass events and have riders taking to the streets on their own to raise funds for the event. It’s a tough one, because some are able to hit the road in groups or alone, and others may not be allowed to ride at all, so we need to find a way to engage everyone. To achieve this, riders around the world will be encouraged to dapper up and either hop on their bikes if they’re able to, or to snap a shot of themselves with their classic and vintage styled motorcycle and join us online. The focus for this year will be to connect riders from all around the world, despite their COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. We want riders to know that we may be socially distanced, but we can still be connected digitally.

We not only need to take people’s local lockdown restrictions into consideration, but we also needed to consider how riders and hosts have been financially affected in losing jobs and security, and how this may have impacted their lives. It’s a three-degrees of separation thing, some hosts either had COVID-19, or knew someone who did, and even have family members who lost their lives because of it. We wanted to be sensitive to those who spend countless hours volunteering to run their ride, who may not be able to get involved. The main thing we’d want people to be aware of here is that we know that some areas of the world might be opened up by the time DGR hits in 2020, but DGR isn’t only a local event – it’s a global movement – and when we have so many folks who are integral in running their rides who have been heavily impacted by this, we need to look out for them and each other.

You can pre-register now or find out more at www.gentlemansride.com.

DGR 2020
Connect with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Facebook
Connect with Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Instagram
Connect with Movember Australia on Facebook
Connect with Movember on Instagram

Join the Gentry with City Coast Motorcycles

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride - Wollongong hosted by City Coast Motorcycles
Image by Adam McLean courtesy of The Illawarra Mercury

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – Wollongong hosted by City Coast Motorcycles will return on Sunday the 30th of September. Scores of dapper ladies and gents will don their finest attire and pack their manners aboard classic and vintage motorcycles.

The annual event is part of a global sensation, shining the spotlight on men’s health in over 650 cities across 95 countries on the same day. With close to one million men losing their lives annually from suicide and prostate cancer, riders raise funds and awareness on behalf of the official charity partner, The Movember Foundation.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in Sydney by Mark Hawwa. It was inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together. His brainchild has already raised over $13M USD for men’s health.

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride - Wollongong

Wollongong is preparing for its second year. In 2017 there were 172 registrations and $20,568 was raised. Ride organiser Jane Sim from City Coast Motorcycles is confident participants will be able to double that amount on September 30.

“I could not have been prouder of our inaugural event last year. The riding community embraced the event whole-heartedly. The smiles were broad, the bikes were brilliant and I was really affected by the comradery.

“It was wonderful to see new friendships formed in the name of charity. We had under-estimated the numbers and ended up having to cap the registrations!

“I have worked closely with Wollongong City Council and the Wollongong LAC and secured larger venues to accommodate more dapper riders and their steeds,” Jane said.

SPONSOR DGR WOLLONGONG RIDE ORGANISER JANE & TIM

The DGR Style

In keeping with the classic lines of Don Draper’s 1957 Matchless G3LS, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a niche charity event with gentlefolk riding their Cafe’ Racer, Bobber, Classic, Tracker, Scrambler, Old School Chopper, Modern Classic, Sidecar, Classic Scooter and Brat styled motorcycles. Participants spend months perfecting the look of both their bikes and their costumes.

DGR Style Guide -Cafe Racer
DGR Style Guide - Classic
DGR Style Guide - Modern Classic
DGR Style Guide - Bobber
DGR Style Guide - brat styled
DGR Style Guide - Chopper
DGR Style Guide - Scooter
DGR Style Guide - Scrambler
DGR Style Guide - Side Car
DGR Style Guide - Tracker

If you ride a vintage or classic styled motorcycle and wish to participate or would like to make a donation to the Wollongong Ride please register via this link:

REGISTER HERE

Fundraising rewards include motorcycles and luxury watches from major partners Triumph Motorcycles and Zenith Watches. Wollongong’s top fundraisers will receive prizes thanks to Towradgi Beach Hotel and Coal Coast Emporium.

A Very Distinguished Result

DGR Wollongong
Riders regroup at Wollongong’s first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, hosted by City Coast Motorcycles.

On Sunday September 24, scores of dapper ladies and gents packed their manners aboard classic and vintage motorcycles and rode for the Movember Foundation.

What a sight to behold and what an achievement! 172 registrations, magnificent machines and new friendships formed.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 by Mark Hawwa in Sydney. The charity event, raises much needed funds for prostate cancer research and male suicide prevention.

For the first time, Wollongong rode in unison with 600 cities across the globe. Participants took in a scenic route encompassing Flagstaff Hill before regrouping at beautiful Bulli Beach.

We are excited to announce Wollongong’s first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has raised $20,568 for men’s health. Our esteemed colleagues at Young Henrys  kindly sponsored our local top fundraisers.

Congratulations to our winners:

HIGHEST FUNDRAISER: Jon Spark
2ND PLACE: Michael Jobson
3RD PLACE: Rob Veljanoski

We would also like to extend our gratitude to Lord Mayor Cr Gordon Bradbery and Wollongong City Council, Senior Constable Andrew Cotton and Wollongong LAC, Triumph Motorcycles Australia, 96.5 Wave FM, The Illawarra Mercury, North Wollongong Hotel, Young Henrys, John Keogh, Michael Jobson and all of our volunteers who helped Jane and the City Coast Motorcycles crew make the day possible. 

And thanks to each and every rider for joining us in this remarkable event; we can’t wait to dress dapper and do it all again in 2018!

View Facebook Album

DGR Wollongong
Aldrin Alban sets off on Wollongong’s first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride hosted by City Coast Motorcycles. Image: Garry Gao