Take a ride and help support men’s health

The race starts at Boom Botz, at 13689 Calimesa Blvd., Yucaipa.

If you happen to drive along Calimesa Boulevard in a couple of weeks and see 100 or so people dressed in their Sunday best on classic motorcycles, you don’t need to go get your eyes checked. Chances are they are all part of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a fundraiser for prostate cancer and men’s mental illness in support of the Movember Foundation.

They are looking for more people to join them, too.

Thanks to Calimesa resident Jon Wagner and several local sponsors there will be a Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride for the first time this year in the Inland Empire. The 32-mile ride takes place Sunday, Sept. 29, from approximately 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and starts and ends in Yucaipa.

“We wanted to do one in the Inland Empire because there is no local presence here for the charity,” said Wagner, an organizer for the event.

To participate in the fundraiser that’s global and was founded in 2012, riders must register in advance, get dressed up and be on a classic or vintage motorcycle. Women are welcome, as long as they follow the rules.

“Everybody will be wearing suits and dress shoes, shirts and ties or whatever, but everybody who will be riding will be dressing dapper,” Wagner said, not your usual motorcycle riding gear.

The starting point is Boom Botz Gentlemen’s Parlor on Calimesa Boulevard, near the corner of County Line Road. Riders will begin gathering at 10 a.m. before hitting the road at about 11:30 a.m., Wagner said.

The route will wind through Sunset Hills in Redlands before stopping at the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel to regroup for the second half of the ride. The final 16 miles end at the Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon.

“I always wanted to do it because I do ride old-style classic motorcycles,” said Wagner, “and I did want to give back to a charity.”

For personal reasons, however, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride just fit for Wagner.

“This is for prostate cancer and also suicide prevention, and with my wife’s dad taking his own life four or five years ago and I have had other friends who have taken their lives and I have had an uncle who passed away from prostate cancer two years ago, so it is something near to my heart,” said Wagner, who is participating for the first time.

The focus of the ride is to raise funds for prostate cancer research, and mental health and suicide prevention programs, according to the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website. Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and those over age 50 are advised to discuss testing with their physician, the website states. It also says that three out of four suicides are men.

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.

For the Inland Empire ride, about 65 participants have signed up so far, and Wagner says he has commitments from about 35 more. The inaugural goal is 200 riders.

But, Wagner said, if you miss the chance to sign up, there are other ways to contribute.

“You can always do donations,” he said.To register or for more information, visit www.gentlemansride.com and go to the Inland Empire ride.

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