On Sunday Harley Couper will don his finest attire, tweak his moustache and sit astride his Royal Enfield Classic 350 motorcycle. Pressing his tweed is all for a great cause – to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and men's mental health.
This is the first time Harley will be joining tens of thousands of men and women across the globe on ‘The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride'. He has lost family and a friend to mental illness.
“My friend Russel Manuel, when he was 14, my uncle Ross when I was 16, and my brother Matthew 10years ago,” says Harley. “I heard about the ride through Prestige Motorcycles. There's something about it that grabs people's attention.”
The ride was founded in Sydney, Australia by Mark Hawwa. It was inspired by a photo of Mad Men's Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, while connecting niche motorcycle communities together.
That first ride in 2012 brought together more than 2500 riders across 64 cities. The success of the event encouraged the founder to consider how it could be used to support a worthy cause. Since then, the event has grown annually and in 2016, more than 56,000 participants in 505 cities in 90 countries raised more than $US3.6 million for prostate cancer research and men's mental health programmes in partnership with the Movember Foundation.
More than 80 participants have registered for Tauranga's event, which sets off from Club Mount Maunganui at 10am on Sunday, September 24.
The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is a celebration of the art of being dapper and classic custom motorcycles. Monocles, jaunty trimmed moustaches, silk vests, crisp shirts and tailored suits. Classic and vintage motorcycles, fine manners, and a sense of fun. Participants are encouraged to raise funds by asking their friends, family and colleagues to donate via a personal fundraising page. Harley's page is www.gentlemansride.com/fundraiser/HarleyCouper