The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride
(24 September 2017)
It was time again for the yearly DGR (always the last Sunday of September).
This is an event held yearly to raise funds for research into prostate cancer and mental health programs. Everybody is encouraged to dress up to snuff. There was bow ties, cravats, cardigans, waistcoats and lots of pressed tweed.
The statistics for 2017 was staggering!
Remember – this is a WORLD-wide initiative. On 24 September this year – the biking community of EARTH started up and blipped in unison.
There was 94 555 gentle folk all over the world, that gathered in 600 different cities, in 95 countries.
The funds raised you ask…?
4.8 million US$
The ride we attended for Johannesburg had 506 ‘registered’ riders that raised 13 500 US$. There were probably around 800 riders if you include the ones that did not register.
After months of planning, tinkering on old bikes, and sewing up kirtle, everybody looked spiekerish at their first meeting points.
We had our first steamer at Traditional Triumph in Edenvale. The early morning nip left goosebumps on naked knees and elbows. The coffee was more than welcome!
I pondered about my outfit for months before I decided I would dress like a dashing Afrikaans gentleman. I found a safari suit, vellies (shoes), bobby-socks, and even a comb in said socks. My steed was Argo – a modern classic Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled!
*I... however… did NOT donner off my horse*
I did a few interviews throughout the day with some of the bucks & buckettes. I asked them about their mode of transport; which previously owned bike they desired to have back; and their mom’s best aliment (there’s a thing about two wheels and a biker’s stomach)
Bike: Moto Guzzi Le Mans (1980)
This motorcycle is part of Wayne Plit’s collection and it was Wolf Moto’s first ever custom build. Mercia still has her very first bike she ever owned – her beloved SR250
Her mom’s best dish: Spaghetti Bolognaise (it is her comfort food) AND her mom’s chocolate cake
Bike: Honda CB550R
It’s modelled after the winning CB750 at the Daytona 200 race of 1970. It has 300hrs of fabrication under its belt by ‘uncle Phil’. It’s been a three-year project, but it will never be finished. It was built up from frame and engine with modern forks. The one bike he would like to have back is his ’69 Bonneville Bobber
His mom’s best dish: Roast
But we had to push on…
“The definition of a gentleman is a man who enters a revolving door in front of you and exits behind you.”
We made our way through the Sunday morn’ traffic to the…
VINTAGE AND VETERAN CLUB
All the Jo’burg gallant lads and damsels gathered at the VVC.
This club aims to promote the restoration, preservation and operation of old vehicles. How appropriate!
The bikes permitted at this event are:
Old School Choppers, Bobbers, Café Racers, Modern Classics, Trackers, Brat Styled, Classics, Scramblers, Classic Scooters, Classic Side Cars or Old School Choppers
Other bikes are also welcome, but requested to stay behind the procession (and sommer double up on their donation!)
The pop-up barbershop was ready to assist any barbigerous gentleman for a last-minute groom.
Behold the pipe-a-teers – we talk no twak!
“I had a dream about you. It was raining Friday nights and my umbrella wasn’t big enough to stop us both from being saturated with Saturdays, so me being the gentleman I am, I graciously offered to soak up all the weekends, leaving you dry like the weekdays.”
Bike: R100 (1983) called Playboy
The bike was built up by Donovan Muller (Cytech Motorcycles), from two different bikes. She only got it two months before the event and the DGR was her first ride on it. Her favourite bike is her HP2
Her mom’s best dish: Chocolate Pudding
Bike: BMW R80/7 (1977)
Donovan (Cytech Motorcycles) had a client that came to him with a box of cigars and asked him if he could build something in the same style. They decided to give it a Bobber flavour. They started off with an R100 but decided to go with an older bike with spoked wheels in the end. They modified the suspension to give it a lower stance, imported white-walled tyres from Yankieville, doubled up the headlights, brushed aluminium vendors, slash cut exhaust pipes, a special tank strap that holds two cigars, a cigar-cutter and lighter (cause it’s smokin’). The owner is Edwin Naude. Donovan himself doesn’t long for any of his old bikes… as he still got them all. He’s got a moerse warehouse stocked with classics.
His mom’s best dish: Boere kos (roast with veggies)
The organizers roped in some of the usual suspects to assist with the marshaling along the way. The order we received was to ride hard… but carefully; block intersections; and shoot those that don’t listen!
As we climbed onto the highway, I pulled over into the slow lane to direct the traffic to the next lane. It was yet another biking day I thought I was going to die…
Safari Suit 1 vs Jo’burg Traffic 0
“I’m late to dinner, but I’m early to being in love. I’m such a gentleman that I hold every door open—even if the guy sitting in the bathroom stall is protesting.”
*Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE*
We made our way into Johannesburg city center, entertaining the city dwellers along the way. At one intersection I stopped about five cars and I knew they were going to have to wait a while. As they jumped out of their vehicles, I got ready to slap them with my comb, but they rushed to the motorcycles and each one picked their favourite, asking if they could take selfies with the bikes.
Our next stop was the…
This club that originated in 1887 opened their grand doors to the gentle riders of the DGR.
This is the old gentleman’s club initiated by Cecil John Rhodes a year after the gold rush to Egoli started. The building has been rebuilt twice and the current structure dates back to 1904. Though, the patrons might have changed a bit…
1887 1889 1904 till current
The interior is decorated with old school charm, largely taken up with dining rooms, pubs, a billiards room and a library, all decorated in antique furniture, with gorgeous sweeping-to-the-floor curtains, chandeliers, richly-patterned carpets, fireplaces, Persian rugs and brass and copper fittings.
The club boasts the longest bar in Africa – a full 32-meter-long helmet rest.
In the passageway leading to one of the pubs you might find it strange that there are only 10 signs of the Zodiac depicted in beautiful stained-glass windows. The two missing signs are Virgo and Aquarius, the signs symbolised by women. The doors to this club only opened to woman-kind in 1993, so we assumed that the ballroom was used for man-‘n-man langarm…
Bike: 125 GTI Vespa (1973) called Bella
He got the bike in 2008 and he also has a 1979 Vespa standing at home. He rides with the Vesparados. This bike survived the full-blown force of a Gauteng pothole, with only some minor scrapes to tell the story. Russell’s favourite bike is this specific Vespa and he would like to go ride her in Italy
His mom’s best dish: Steak & Kidney Pie
David got the bike about a year ago and he’s still busy fixing it. The end goal is a rat-bike. He swapped a bakkie for this bike (must have been a Toyota). The best bike he ever owned was a RZ350
His mom’s best dish: Bobotie
We took off and roared through the city, past the spaza shops, over the Nelson Mandela bridge.
“We can’t be lovers because we both have moustaches. But since you’re a lady, and I’m a gentleman, I’ll shave mine off.”
*Jarod Kintz, Love quotes for the ages.*
SA National Museum of Military History
We lined up for a peloton photo at the Anglo-Boer War Memorial that was completed in 1914.
Bike: Crosby TT400 (2017)
Pat is the importer of the Crosby brand, that has been in the country now for about two and a half years. It uses the old Yamaha SR & the Honda XR engines – because they are bullet proof. Pat morns the day he sold his Triumph Thunderbird Triple
His mom’s best dish: Tipsy Tart
Bike: Honda XL500 (1982)
It is basically a stock standard bike that has been restored and maintained, but does not belong to him.
His mom’s best dish: I couldn’t hear over the thump of the engine…
We hopped onto our iron horses for the last stretch.
If anything is worn underneath a kilt… it’s called a frock!
Our final stop was at…
We hanged, we sipped, we munched and then we blipped into the eventide.
Dino had his helmet polished by the Motul promo ladies… a few times… and then some…
Bike: CB400 (1978)
He swapped his original Honda with Phillipe for this Café Racer. His favourite bike was an old 1940’s BMW K that he sold with only 3000km on the clocks.
His mom’s best dish: “My mom’s a bad cook…”
Bike: BMW R60
He found the trumpery in Sabie three years ago, bought it and renovated the bike himself. It took him seven months. He has two other R50’s that he loves, one customised & the other renovated back to stock
His mom’s best dish: Lasagna – ITALIANO!
“Chivalry: It's the little boy that kisses my hand, the young man who holds the door open for me, and the old man who tips his hat to me. None of it is a reflection of me, but a reflection of them.”
*Donna Lynn Hope*
We sometimes have to go back to the past to solve the problems of the future. Not only do we learn much from history, but from being meticulous and thorough. And even if the 1950’s attire did not solve prostate cancer, for one day it sure as hell prevented any thoughts of suicide.
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