Movember, Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride team up for motorcyclists’ mental health

You know that joke about never seeing a motorcyclist outside a therapist’s office? It’s kind of funny, but not really true, because 1), What if the therapist wants to ride their own bike to work? And 2), motorcyclists have the same issues as everyone else.

For that reason, Movember and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride are teaming up on a new project that’s “tackling social isolation and poor mental health within the global motorcycle community.”

Most Canadians are familiar with Movember’s program, which sees men grow moustaches in November as part of fundraiser efforts to fight prostate cancer. As for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, it’s also a fundraiser program that sees riders dress up in snappy attire and jump aboard classic-styled motorcycles to raise funds and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer, and to support mental health.

Now, Movember and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride are working together on a new program, called The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge. It’s running in Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. As per the DGR’s press release:

“Motorcycle riding is inherently isolating. Many men who may be experiencing mental health challenges might not ride to talk; instead they jump on their motorcycles as a means of escaping problems or to avoid any chance at forced vulnerability. However, motorcycle riding is community-based at its core – meaning the possibilities for communication and the ability to develop strong bonds with fellow riders is immense. Recognizing this and seeing an opportunity to ‘meet men where they are’, Movember and DGR are looking to identify and fund initiatives that will help motorcycle-loving men better understand the importance behind opening up, encouraging and showing motorcycles how to stay socially connected while continuing to enjoy the escapism that defines motorcycle riding.

The new funding opportunity will leverage money raised by The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride community to create a pool of AUD 1.15million ($1.07million CAD) to support projects working with men in motorcycling. Recognizing the camaraderie that already exists among motorcycle riders, the Challenge aims to improve the quality of social connections between motorcyclists, improving the chances of those men being satisfied with their relationships and social connection, thus resulting in strong mental health fitness and wellbeing generally.” 

In other words: Movember and DGR say men are using their motorcycles to escape their problems, instead of solving them; the plan is to spend money on projects that use motorcyclists’ connections to help those problems, instead. To fund this, organizers are using money raised from the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

All that cash the DGR raised over the years? Now, you can see it being put to use, with this new project.

Movember is excited about finding new ways to help men create stronger connections. We know that getting involved in hobbies or shared interests can really help strengthen our sense of belonging and build a strong foundation of support when we experience life’s challenges,” one of Movember’s bigwigs said in the press release. “Funds raised from The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride have enabled this opportunity, and it’s great to be able to give back to make what we hope is a lasting impact on motorcycling communities.”

As for the DGR, founder Mark Hawwa said “Along with Movember, we are recognizing that men in motorcycling are unique, so we are taking the ‘going to where men are’ approach to nurture and grow more accessible and engaging programs targeted to men in motorcycling We are proud to announce The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge to fund new programs that will give back to our riders using funds they have raised to make a difference to them.”

There are two parts to The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge. In Phase 1, organizers will hand out a maximum of 25 development grants, valued at up to $6,700 CAD, awarded in the countries that participate in the DGR. Applicants can use this funding to work developing and pitching their idea. In Phase 2, there will be a maximum of 10 pilot project grants, worth up to $67,350 CAD each, allocated to selected initiatives. Movember and the DGR say these grants will enable the most promising initiatives to kick off as pilot projects. For now, the initiatives are focusing primarily on middle-aged men who ride motorcycles and are dealing with key life challenges, and young riders in need of mentorship.

Interested? You can find more details at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website. The deadline to submit an “Inspiration Statement” is on July 6, 2020; the invitations to formally pitch projects come out two weeks later, on July 20. The earliest project start would be April 15, 2021.

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