Q&A/ with Patrick Uong, Biker
Question: What is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?
nswer: It’s now a global ride that’s taking place in 408 cities this year. The first one was in 2012 in Sydney. It’s a celebration of custom and classic-style motorcycles.
Even in the custom category, there’s certain types of bikes. The most common ones are cafe racers, rats, street trackers and scramblers. It’s a celebration of those old bikes and the “dapper” or “dandy” style of motorcycling.
It’s also a global fundraiser to raise awareness and fund prostate cancer research. Initially, it did not have the fundraising bent to it. It was just a ride to celebrate this culture. In its second year, they were doing the ride in November, which is Movember month – moustache Movember – so they decided to synch the two.
How does this ride raise money?
Just sort of making a big deal out of it, making a big stink in the visuals and seeing all these dapperly dressed men, gentlemen and gentle folk, in fine, tailored clothes, with their beautiful bikes riding calmly.
It’s also about being playful and also taking the piss [out of] yourself, but all of that is just an opportunity for men to be boys – to play act, to bond, to get together and do something good.
In this case, it’s giving us something to bond over. It’s also a fun thing where you register to become a rider and you’re given the option to become a fundraiser.
You don’t have to become a fundraiser but I think it’s a good competition with your mates to see who can raise the most money. Prostate cancer is a deadly disease but this ride is also about being fun and playful.
Is there a negative stereotype of bikers that this ride is trying to correct?
I don’t think they’re trying to undo something. I think they’re just trying to celebrate something. Back in the ’50s you had the greasers and the bad boys – misfits and outcasts rode motorcycles.
And then in the late ’60s there was a big campaign from Honda that said: “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” It was very successful in turning things around. It was one of these old commercials of mothers dropping off their kids at school on a Honda bike.
So I don’t think this is to reverse anything wrong involving stereotypes, but it’s to put more of the good things – the charm, the positivity, the politeness – back into motorcycling.
How many moustaches do you anticipate seeing?
Not enough. I would be so pleased if people donned moustaches or faux moustaches or faux beards. I’d be pleased as pie.