Why I Ride: A Neophyte's Notes on Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2022

What's with the love for two-wheeled vintage machines?
IMAGE MARTYN TAMBIS

A gentleman is a knight in shining armor. He's a chivalrous, honorable man with his heavy-duty, ready-for-battle suit of armor riding a war-experienced horse to battle to protect his people and save the damsel in distress.

But we're not in the Middle Ages anymore. Today, armor has been replaced with a classy, sharp suit and the horse is now a classic, beautiful motorcycle. For the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), this is the modern-day definition of being a gentleman.

DGR is a worldwide, annual fundraising event to support research for prostate cancer and men’s mental health. It's an opportunity for classic motorcycle enthusiasts to wear their best outfits and ride around the city with their classic bikes. Here in the Philippines, thousands of riders from different cities and provinces with the same passion for classic bikes participated for DGR 2022 on Sunday, May 22. And for the first time, I joined the event.

Ever since I was a kid, I got exposed to classic and vintage culture (thanks to my lola). From music, fashion trends, and  movies, “old stuff” made my heart happy. As they say, nostalgia is a powerful drug, and nothing can top the stories, heritage, and nostalgia things from the past offer. Riding a classic looking bike made me feel free. The blowing of the wind touching my skin, the smell of burning fuel  in the air, the adrenaline that I can feel rushing all over my body--I could feel all these sensations and I can assure you that all of it is a shared experience for everyone who participated in DGR 2022.

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What I loved about this event is the inclusivity. As a first-timer, I initially felt anxious, but the moment I got there, I never felt that I was alone. I got the chance to meet and talk to people of all ages, genders, hell, even social status. The environment was indeed a safe space for people that love the culture. I witnessed the classic culture ensemble with my naked eyes. People wearing their snazziest outfits, riding their well-maintained, classic bikes that comes in all forms and sizes. Everybody just coming together to show appreciation for vintage machines.

What’s with the love for ‘old stuff’?

XSR Kiddies, a motorcycle group composed of young riders from Metro Manila has a simple answer: Classic never goes out of style. They're right, of course.

The love for what came before will never die and will never go out of style. This group of young people with the shared love for classic bikes is proof that this culture will be around for a very long time.

XSR Kiddies with their Yamaha XSR 155
Photo by Martyn Tambis.
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Why motorcycles?

Every person has a personal answer why they love motorcycles. For some, it’s a tool to survive, a source of living. For others, it's all about the adrenaline rush. People who value their time will say  it's the convenience they offer. Personally, I love motorcycles because it gives me a sense of control. Riding a motorcycle requires a whole different focus. One wrong move and you’re done. Every time I ride my bike is time for me to sit with my own thoughts. It’s a form of meditation, if that makes sense.

With the love for vintage stuff combined with the passion for motorcycles, Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is the perfect event for people like me. 'Will I participate in next year’s DGR' is not the question; it's 'What color suit will I rock?'

Martyn Tambis is the social media strategist of Esquire Philippines.

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