A Ride For Men's Mental and Physical Health, and What That Looks Like
Sunday, September 27th, 2020
This year, I took part in my first motorcycle charity ride, The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, sponsored by Triumph Motorcycles and Movemeber. The goal of the ride was to raise awareness for men's issues that are often not in the spotlight when it comes to daily conversation, most notably, men's mental health and prostate cancer. It's a cause close to a lot of people in this country, and I took a lot of pride in being counted as one of the fifty-thousand riders taking part around the world.
Looking back on my day of riding, it's truly inspiring to think of all of the kind strangers I spoke to, fellow riders I rode past, and curios bystanders wondering why so many motorcyclists decided to wear suits today, and that's exactly what this ride is meant to do.
Although I had a sign with more information on the back of my bike, the only true requirements for me to get involved were a suit, a cruiser, and a few minutes of registration. Loud pipes, loud clothing, and an outgoing attitude are all it takes to get some attention, and the more people question, the more they google. After doing a quick google search myself for, "Why are bikers wearing suits?", the first search result took me to the Movemeber foundations website, proving that this event can work standalone. With more bikers participating, and more people googling, more money can be raised for Movember and more work can be done for the men in our lives.
So now that I've covered what this event is and why it's important, I thought I'd share a little bit more about what my ride looked like, and what my experiences were throughout the day.
If you were to follow my route in reverse order, you'd have a somewhat closer to reality look at where I rode. To start my ride, I rode from a local coffee shop, the Daily Grind, to Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield in an attempt to drive to the peak and take pictures of it's gorgeous overlook with some subtle morning fog. Unbeknownst to me though, the park is closed to vehicles on Sundays, and my plans were put on hold. So I pulled into a parking spot and decided on my next-best course of action.
Wherever I went for the day had to be public so people could see me, scenic so I could take pictures, and spaced out so I could ride from morning until noon. After a few minutes of consideration, I determined that the Marietta Square would give me the best chance of catching peoples attention, and give me a pit stop to talk to anyone interested in the event, but just like Kennesaw, the main roads were closed and I was too early for businesses to be open.
So I hopped back on Waze, and looked for scenic spots in my area, and found a peaceful spot at Morgan Falls Overlook. As number 2 on the map, it was a great spot. It had plenty of people, wide open space, and a promising trail headed towards Bull Sluice Lake, where visitors were kayaking and paddle-boarding. So I parked my bike at the visitors center and walked towards the water, only to find that there were zero falls there. According to some other visitors there, there was a distant view of a damn further along another nature trail, but sadly there were still no falls to take pictures of.
So I set off again to my tried and tested spot, Acworth Beach. To me, it's a place that cannot disappoint. It's got plenty of open beach, benches in the grass to the sides, and an entrance through downtown Acworth. Passing over the brick and cobble roads, my Harley was surely spotted by a few kids walking by, and with luck those stuck in traffic with me noticed too. At this point in my ride, I had been out for four and a half hours on my thinly padded mustang seat, and my handlebars could only mitigate so much of the Harley's natural vibrations, so I made it to the beach and decided that this would be my last stop for the day.
I updated my friends and family on Instagram, thanked my recent donators, and rested by my bike to take in the view of Lake Acworth and chat with anyone who asked about my sign. This was the stop where I got to talk to the most interested people, both young and old, and it was a perfect way to end a perfect ride.
Although in the end, I would have liked to have gone further, seen more, and been more outgoing when talking with passerby, I think that these wants will always be the case for this sort of ride. Passing so many fellow riders parked at each gas station and overlook, there's this massive sense of fellowship, and it begets further commitment to the cause. With each passing wave, nod of the helmet, and encouraging exhaust blip, I felt inspired to do my part, share my ride, and take further action.
So in conclusion, this ride was the perfect way for me to make a difference, enjoy my ride, and interact with people I wouldn't talk to everyday. I hope I get the opportunity to participate in these events more frequently, and when life presents you with the same opportunity, I hope you'll do the same.