Wearing bow ties, colorful vests and tweed and leather jackets, about 100 motorcycle enthusiasts made a loud and colorful picture as they took off Sunday morning in support of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a worldwide fundraiser for prostate cancer and men’s mental illness for the Movember Foundation.
“I think this is a great thing, for men to be supporting men,” said Cheryl Madsen of Yucaipa, who was participating in the fundraiser with husband Ken, and daughter and son-in-law Jessica and Justin Boyle.
As co-owners of B&B Cycle Works in Calimesa, they heard about the bike ride, the first in the Inland Empire, from co-organizer Jon Wagner, a Calimesa resident.
“The first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Inland Empire event went great,” Wagner said. “We had a large turnout of all types of motorcycles and riders … We had lots of people interested in the ride and cause.”
The global fundraiser, founded in 2012 took place on Sept. 29 this year, asked participants to dress dapper and ride a classic or vintage motorcycle. While most participants in Yucaipa were men, there were a few women like Madsen and Boyle. After taking off from Boom Botz Gentlemen’s Parlor on Calimesa Boulevard, the 32-mile route wound through Sunset Hills in Redlands before ending at the Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon.
“The team at Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon set up an amazing end of the ride event in a beautiful setting,” Wagner said. “Some of the riders have been on rides in other parts of Southern California in previous years and said this was better than all of them.”
Looking dapper in a brown tweed suit and driving cap, Josh Lowe rode his classic Triumph motorcycle from Mt. Baldy to participate in the Yucaipa event.
“I appreciate the charity,” said Lowe, who has been part of other Distinguished Gentleman’s Rides. “I have family members and friends who have succumbed to prostate cancer.”
Lowe, who also planned to participate in the Los Angeles event later in the day at the Santa Monica Pier, was with fellow Unprincipled Larrikins member Jim Salem, from Corona.
“Oh yeah, I will do this again,” said Salem, who was participating in his first Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.
When Scott Feemster heard that Wagner wanted to start an Inland Empire ride, he was all in.
“We told him to let us know what he’ll need and we’ll help,” said Feemster, who, along with Wagner, is also a member of the Unprincipled Larrikins motorcycle club.
That’s why Feemster arrived Saturday morning wearing a bow tie with skulls and a few dozen pastries in hand from his family’s Some Crust Bakery in Claremont.
“I like this ride because it benefits research to prostate cancer,” he said. “It’s a nice cause. I have friends and family members with prostate cancer.”
The focus of the ride is to raise funds for prostate cancer research, and mental health and suicide prevention programs, states the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website. Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and three out of four suicides are men, also according to the website.
The proceeds from the ride are then invested by the Movember Foundation, the world’s largest men’s health organization. About $1.7 million has already been donated for this year’s event in the United States alone, Wagner said.
With the inaugural Inland Empire ride completed, Wagner is looking ahead to next year and bigger and better things.
“There will be another ride next year in the Inland Empire,” he said. “It will be bigger and with a different route than 2019.”
As details for 2020 are confirmed, Wagner said they will be posted on the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Facebook page or website, www.gentlemansride.com.