Bow tie or neck tie?
Choosing between these two clothing accessories took more time from rider-participants of the 2017 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) Philippine edition than prepping up their ride for this grand annual parade of two wheelers. The DGR tradition requires riders to don formal attire when they join the ride. It’s a unique fashion show of riders mounted on vintage, classic, and retro motorcycles.
Founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia, DGR is an annual charity event observed globally every September by riders who support the fight against prostate cancer and mental illness. This year in the Philippines, 614 riders showed up at the rendezvous point at the Cultural Center of the Philippines wearing tuxedos and business suits while revving their classic rides. Another 142 participants joined the GDR that was staged simultaneously in Cebu City.
Upon registration, each rider was given a moustache-shaped sticker, which they placed on the bike's headlight. Old school Harley-Davidsons, Ducatis, Triumphs, Hondas, Yamahas, and Kawasakis joined the fray. Vintage BMW R50s flooded the area and so did the classic Lambretta and Vespa scooters. Celebrities like Marc Nelson, Jericho Rosales, Kim ‘Atienza, Jay Taruc, and Ely Buendia arrived in well-pressed suits.
The ambiance in the morning was cheerful and snappy. The exchange of stories of bikes and riding overflowed the area. There were no valedictory speeches, but only a briefing on safe riding. Early birds had to contend themselves with balut and taho from vendors for breakfast. Bottled water was sold at a hotel price, too.
It was around 8am when the convoy started to move. In a two-column formation, the DGR participants occupied the motorcycle lane on EDSA to mark their territory. The thunderous sound from conventional V-twin and single cylinder engines filled the air. Motorists who moved alongside the convoy were either amazed with the wide array of iconic bikes or angered on the traffic jam they caused.
In less than 30 minutes, the bikers arrived at the Quezon Memorial Circle for a quick rest and photo session. Again, there were no formalities–no welcoming band, stage, tents, tables and chairs. Nada! The sun was up, and everyone was sweating heavily. The riders hankered for cold soft drinks, kwek-kwek and fishballs. Riders even asked where they can buy Good Morning towels, which were popular among taxi and jeepney drivers.
After sharing anecdotes about their bikes and long rides, the DGR participants had a family photo in front of the Quezon City Session Hall amid the scorching heat. That's camaraderie and brotherhood gluing the group!
The last stop was at the Mandala Park along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, where exciting fun awards and raffle prizes were given away. Ropali Classics handed out a helmet for the Best Dressed Gentleman as grand prize. STKD gave a gift package to the Best Dressed Lady Rider. Sakay & Co. gave a gift to the Best Bike awardee. Ropali gave a special prize to the Best Moustache, while Best Pillion rider received a token from Headwear.
In this stop, the riders experienced a touch of royal treatment. Aside from seeing a makeshift stage for simple program and a cute photo booth nearby, there were free meal and drinks for the participants.
The Philippine leg of the DGR charity ride raised $3,846 (about P195,300). The global DGR group issued a statement claiming there were 92,000 participants in 581 cities and 95 countries with a total donation amounting to $4.4 million (about P223 million).
The event was a success. Thanks to the participants' sweat, patience and the passion for motorcycles.