Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Hong Kong for men’s health – cheer them on next weekend

Men and women in 600 cities worldwide will put on their finest clothes for a motorbike ride raising funds for prostate cancer research and mental health programmes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 7:19pm

More than 70,000 men and women in 600 cities, from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney to Strasbourg, are expected to put on their Sunday best for a good cause next weekend. But they won’t be heading to Great Gatsby parties to sip mint juleps and swing. No, they’ll be straddling motorbikes and scooters in all their finery for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in support of prostate cancer research and mental health programmes on September 24.

There will be bow ties, suits, silk pocket squares, hats, pipes, and even an English gentleman on a scooter wearing a kilt
Guillaume Barras

The annual charity event was founded in 2012 by Sydneysider Mark Hawwa, who was inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper on a classic bike in a fine suit. Since then the event has raised more than US$8 million for charity, and it’s hoped this year’s ride, taking place in 95 counties, will raise a further US$5 million.

The funds raised will support prostate cancer research and mental health programmes on behalf of The Movember Foundation, which each November encourages men around the world to grow moustaches and take part in events to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

Next Sunday’s ride has caught some star attention. In 2015 a motorcycle ridden by actor Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) was auctioned off, with the profits going to prostate cancer research funds.

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Prostate cancer is Hong Kong’s third-most common cancer in men and the fifth biggest cause of male cancer deaths in the city, according to the government’s Centre for Health Protection. In 2015, 404 men died from prostate cancer, accounting for 4.8 per cent of male cancer deaths in Hong Kong.

“Prostate cancer affects many around the world,” says Guillaume Barras, organiser of the Hong Kong event. “By supporting this simple event, we can raise awareness and money to fund research and save people’s lives in the future.”

Barras, of Angry Lane, a company that customises motorcycles and designs leather jackets, has seen the event grow since its inception. “It’s grown really quickly ... We had just 35 riders the first year [in Hong Kong], to more than 125 [riders] last year.”

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He says the ride – not race – is all about getting dressed up and having fun. “There will be bow ties, suits, silk pocket squares, hats, pipes, and even an English gentleman on a scooter wearing a kilt,” Barras says.

So far 106 riders have registered on the website. “Which means we will probably be over 130 riders. There are always some guys who join without being registered,” he says. “[We will be] riding our machines through town – from [the starting point at] Big Wave Bay. We will be reaching Happy Valley, Wan Chai [via] Queens Road East, and Admiralty [via] Queens Road Central, so people can expect to see us somewhere between 10.50am and 11.30am.” The ride will end in Cyberport around midday.

As for bikes, there will be a variety on display, from bobbers to cafe racers, choppers to vintage Vespas, Harleys and Triumphs. A rare 1924 Sunbeam motorcycle will also feature.

“The vibe is very chilled; we are all here to enjoy the scenery of the South Side, [and the] cheering people when we pass by, posing for pictures at traffic lights. The arrival point at Cyberport will be a great place to see all those shiny bikes and gentlemen,” Barras says.

Donations can be made by sponsoring any Hong Kong rider through the link: gentlemansride.com/sponsor/country/hong+kong