“Great to see that they’ve made an effort”, a spectator said – and I agree: The first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Aarhus was absolutely on the button.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (hereinafter: DGR) is a global event that since its inception in 2012 has gained in popularity and support. And this year it came to Aarhus, right in my vicinity. As I learned of that back in April I yearned to join the ride, but it not turn out that way: Details such as a lack of driver’s license and an equal lack of motorcycle kept me from attending this year – as a rider, at least: Instead I must console myself with reporting from an outstanding event in Aarhus.
Initiator Søren Søltoft Holmboe seemed almost overwhelmed by the support that really took of in the last days before the event – meaning that the field of riders was twice as large as he had originally anticipated: About 160 (mostly) men & their machines took to the route and made their first very public stopover in the city centre of Aarhus at the Bispetorv: They suited the beautiful location perfectly and the rather Indian Summer weather made the congregation something of a mecca for Aarhus townsmen and tributary tourists. Most grasped nothing of what was going on, and I overheard wondering questions whether the widespread tweed attire really was the optimal for motorcycle driving.
The short answer to that is probably just “Yes”: At least for this event. It’s all about raising money for research into prostate cancer, which is such a grave issue that it’s almost impossible to grasp. But the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride turns the matter upside down, and it’s fair to say that the assembled gentlemen cultivated the positive angle of life: The sheer joy of life, the playfulness and on the whole the quite serious matter of being a man.
The riders succeeded very well: It is free to join as a participant, but you donate an amount for the purpose – and the riders in Aarhus overall collected over 10.000 Euros. During the day they also cultivated cheerfulness to a new level: The atmosphere was simply formidable, and it was quite clear that this newfound community really clicked.
This is rather interesting as the attendance of motorcycles addressed every possible style of bike. The Style Guide for the riders gave ample opportunity for expression and the event saw painstakingly original machines parked next to creative masterpieces of homebuilt café racers – with everything from brats to scramblers in between.
It worked, and I overheard many attending bike builders that lured on the multitude of details: From nicely obligue sawn off exhaust tips to custom frame curves, colours, accesories and much more.
On a personal level my tristesse about not running in the event was totally overshadowed by the insight into what kind of machine I, the not-yet-biker, in fact like best: I now have almost one year to find the right machine, whether is is modified or not – and both schools of thought appeal to me.
I must admit to a romance with the absolutely original Japanese bikes in their splendid seventies colours. But equally appealing was the light and stylish café racer modification of machines of the same nationality. And what could be more right for a gentleman than a true Brit bike? The tender was enormous and now I know for sure: It MUST be there next year – running, not spectating the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride!
That became abundantly clear to me when the 160 riders saddled up on Bispetorv to run a classic café racer round through Aarhus city centre down to their next watering place on Godsbanen. The atmosphere, the sound and sight of the men and machines were magical and surely many spectators promised themselves to be there next time: It really looked just so amazingly and convincingly great that every man invariably wanted to to be part of it.
The funny thing is that the ride it is not just about bikes. It is as much about the camaraderie that obviously connected this new-to-Aarhus community of Gentlemen on motorcycles. This was perhaps one of the most discussed thing on this first Aarhus Gentleman Ride: We could surely repeat this, couldn’t we? Absolutely yes. And it will be in September 2017.
But really it doesn’t have to wait that long and I think it will not: It looks like organizer Søren Søltoft Holmboe has struck a nerve in the motorcycle environment that no one in the Eastern part of Jutland has previously caught. When I praised him for the fantastic event and mentioned that next year I would like to ride he simply replied : “Of course you would! Everyone who has experienced it will.” And I think he is right.
This bodes well for the season 2017 – hopefully starting the gentlemanly season well before September