Photographer: Ethan Covey
Photographer: Ethan Covey

See a Thousand Men in Suits Ride Motorcycles Through New York

This was not your typical biker gang.

Last Sunday, Michael Higgins rode his 1967 Honda CB450 “Black Bomber” motorcycle through three New York City boroughs, dressed in Van Heusen menswear and Dainese leather. 

A thousand or so other riders, similarly dressed in three-piece suits and brogues, joined him. This was not your typical biker gang. 

"We’re that moto guy that will hold the door for you," Higgins said. "We try to debunk the stereotypes of the rough-and-tumble biker crowd, trading leather and Levi’s for tailored tweed, ties, and the occasional top hat—when we’re not helmeted, of course." 

They rode in a rally they call the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, held simultaneously in more than 600 cities to raise money for men's health issues. Here is a look at the route. 

And They're Off
And They're Off

The event started at the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan, roared up the FDR Drive, and crossed to Lincoln Center on the West Side. It then headed back east to Queens via the 59th Street Bridge, rallied at Gantry Park, and made its way back to the Seaport through Brooklyn. Attendance was capped at 1,000 riders. 

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)

Details Matter
Details Matter

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is held annually on the final Sunday in September, with "gentlefolk" outfitting even vintage motorbikes with decals and stickers that express their personal style. This 1967 Honda CB450 “Black Bomber" belongs to Higgins.

Photographer: Ethan Covey

Motorcycles in Midtown
Motorcycles in Midtown

The team crosses the 59th Street Bridge to Queens.

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)

Specialized Types Only
Specialized Types Only

In order to join the ride, riders must have Cafe Racer, Bobber, Classic, Tracker, Scrambler, Old School Chopper, Modern Classic, Sidecar, Classic Scooter, or Brat-Styled motorcycles.

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)

Dressing the Part
Dressing the Part

Stylistically, the idea is that riders should dress in keeping with the classic lines of Don Draper’s 1957 Matchless G3LS. That means a lot of tweeds, slate gray, wool, check, and plaid—plus leather loafers and pocket squares. Lots of pocket squares.

Photographer: Ethan Covey

Classic Good Looks
Classic Good Looks

Heavy duty classic Scramblers and lightweight Cafe Racers with race-inspired elements formed the bulk of the motorbikes that participated in New York on Sunday. Here, Vincent Nicolai, New York’s biggest fundraiser, is single-handedly raising more than $18,000. 

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)

For the Good of It
For the Good of It

The ride works in partnership with the Movember Foundation, a group that raises money to support prostate cancer research and other issues related to men's health. The foundation started in Australia in 2003, when a group of friends decided to grow mustaches and solicit funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Photographer: Ethan Covey

Boys in Blue
Boys in Blue

The New York Police Department brought out its collection of vintage police bikes to honor the ride, then helped escort the riders.

Photographer: Ethan Covey

A Global Movement
A Global Movement

Sponsors have included Triumph Motorcycles Ltd., Dime City Cycles Ltd., Swiss watchmaker Zenith SA, and Hedon, a U.K. helmet manufacturer. This year, more than 90,000 participants from 90 countries raised more than $4.4 million during the event—more than the $3.6 million raised in 2016. The New York City chapter raised more than $140,000. 

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)

Free for All
Free for All

While no entrance fee is required, riders raise money via sponsorships. Leading at right: a Norton Commando 750.

Photographer: Geoff Barrenger (WhiteLine Motorcycle)