Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride raise money to support men with illnesses


Melissa Puryear

Tom Hostetter and Tom Dietz arrive at Riverwalk Park on a motorcyle for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to support men from around the world.

On Sept. 24, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, or DGR, began as a 50-mile road trip that wound through city streets in Bakersfield to various checks points like The Padre Hotel, Riverwalk, Hart Park, Garces Circle, and Temblor Brewery.

From morning to mid-afternoon, a total of 47 participants came together to ride and share time on classic and vintage motorcycles while dressed in suits, ties, vests, and jackets.

The show of force to support men around the world who are facing prostate cancer and thoughts of suicide.

The local DGR was organized by David Hostetter, BMW Bike Club President. Hostetter said that although it’s the first year in Bakersfield, this ride originated in 2012 in Sydney, Australia when Mark Hawwa, its founder, watched a television show called “Mad Men” where the main character drove an old vintage bike in a business suit, and he thought, “that’s a great idea, that’s a way to draw attention and raise some funds …”

Hawwa partnered with Movember Foundation, that is committed to ending silence on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues like depression and suicide, to establish a global movement of gentlemen on motorcycles.

Men across the globe have been meeting annually since, to suit up, ride bikes, and raise money for the cause.

Hostetter said that when he became aware of the global cause, he reached out to a fellow bike club president, Felix Adammo, to ask him his thoughts. Adammo quickly agreed to join Hostetter in promoting the first DGR event. Both men became involved to do something about ending the silence men live with.

“I think prostate cancer and suicide is a symptom of men’s silence. They’re two diseases. Over the years I lost one friend and others who committed suicide.” Hostetter said.

Men commit suicide at five times the rate of women, according to Hostetter.

“If we would open our eyes and talk to someone, but we don’t; that’s why men become victims of their own silence.”

According to Hostetter, having associations like the DGR, feeling the camaraderie, and having that safe space, men are able to open up to other men and are able to talk about their issues more comfortably.

He also said that this kind of event lets men know that there are men who can be reinforcements for one another when needed.

Men don’t have to feel like they are facing their struggles alone in silence.

Hostetter considered this event successful.

By the end of Sunday evening, the global DGR ride showed that the number of participants had almost doubled last year’s, from 56,000 riders to 92,000 riders.

A total of 581 cities in 95 countries have successfully raised $4.4 million, based on the final stats on DGR’s website.

Yet the stats weren’t the only proof of the DGR’s success. Friendships were also made.

Hostetter said, “I’ve met so many people through this … this is a chance for us to meet each other and create a new community.”

Hostetter hopes to be able to get conversation going, “let’s talk to folks before [it becomes a crisis point].”

One of the ways he would like to help men in the Bakersfield community is to invite those who have an interest in riding to join him in the BMW Club.

The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at Tony’s Pizza.

He said there is also the Euro Bike Rider’s Club which meets the second Monday of every month at The Temblor.

Some of the additional benefits of being a part of the bike club is it gives members a chance to go on a ride every weekend, take vacations, and have a sense of community.

In reference to helping spread awareness of prostate cancer, Hostetter encourages men to get their annual checkups in what’s called a “PSA test,” which is a non-evasive visit and only requires a blood test that tests enzymes in the blood.

“I’m very hopeful that the research will lead to some big breakthroughs,” Hostetter said regarding the money from the rides that fund research to save men’s lives.

Contributions from riders have already funded the identification of 25 new types of cancer by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Center.

To get more information about the local DGR rider movement email the organizer David Hostetter, at [email protected]