Today’s episode is dedicated to my friend Robert. He let me know recently that he listens to this podcast. Robert I know that life has not always treated you fairly, but you are a kind gentleman. Stay encouraged and look to the Heavens for answers. I hope that our paths cross again.
You know if you watch the news too often you can really be discouraged. Seems that so many bad things are happening around the world. And with instant news on little computers in our pockets, if something bad happens, you’ll know about it instantly.
Political parties that seem to disagree on every single point, telling us that those on the “other side” have evil intent, getting us all riled up. Some of the most popular videos on youtube are of road rage, or robberies. So many angry people.
The good news seldom makes the news.
But right now my friends I have very good news! Stay tuned!
This past Sunday, in 107 countries, 104,000 motorcycle riders raised over 7 million dollars through the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride with the sole purpose of supporting men's health, focused on Suicide Prevention programs and prostate cancer research. It was a blast and that is very good news if you needed to hear some today. That’s a glimpse of Global Peace. That’s a peek into what Love looks like. And in this case, all from the seat of a motorcycle.
As the host of this years’ DGR in Fort Collins, Colorado, I saw it first hand. Motorcycle after motorcycle arriving with a Dapper lady or gentleman on board. Good people dressed in suits and ties riding beautiful motorcycles of which they were so proud.
As I mentioned on this podcast already I'm not able to ride my motorcycle due to a hand injury that I experienced back in February but I was fortunate to be allowed to host this year's ride in Fort Collins. It was especially fun to partner with my son Brad who helped out with a lot of things including Logistics. One of the tasks was to keep all of these motorcycles together as best we could as we cruised 15 miles to our destination which was the Morning Fresh Dairy in bellevue.
I was in the front of the group in my Jeep and Brad was at the back of the group in his car. we were on the phone with each other throughout the trip. Brad would let me know if our group got split up because of a traffic light so I would pull over and have the lead group wait for the following group. It worked out perfectly. What was especially funny is Brad let me know more than a couple of times that he had to run red lights in order to stay up. I said, "Son, it's okay you're breaking the law for charity”. Haha.
Huge smiles everywhere. It was an atmosphere where you could walk up to a total stranger and give them a big hug then introduce yourself.
There was no need to explain that hug. We knew why we were there and we knew the kind of person we were hugging. It wasn’t just about riding motorcycles or wearing a suit and tie, it was about kindness. It was about love for humanity.
This was about something bigger than just a motorcycle ride. It was about making positive news. Making the world a better place.
If you've not had the chance to listen to episodes 15 and 16 I would recommend that you do if you want to learn more about the beginnings and answer to the question “why” behind the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Episodes 15 and 16 are the two part interview with Mark Hawa the founder of the DGR. What a thrill it was to interview Mark and here first hand what he was thinking when he came up with this idea.
it was so simple really. Mark liked to ride motorcycles, he like the image of Don Drapper from Mad Men as he rode a vintage motorcycle while wearing a suit, and he had other friends who did as well.
What he didn't like was the negative image that so many motorcyclists portray. You might say that he got tired of negative news too. He knew that there were people just like him who were caring, who happened to ride motorcycles. and they demonstrated that they cared by raising money to help others.
Fast forward to today and as I said 104,000 Riders all thinking the same way. Now that's amazing. Now that's good news.
IT was when we gather on the lawn by the lake of the Morning Fresh Dairly, this most beautiful sight, where I had a chance to give a speech. I thanked the riders for being there, for raising funds for men’s mental and physical health. That’s when I shared with the group something that I've already shared on a previous podcast, but if it's okay I'll repeat it briefly here.
Standing on a picnic table, standing in front of the group, I said “It was about a year ago. I was just out riding alone and I stopped at a gas station in Loveland to top off with gas. I noticed a man right outside the gas station sitting on a bench right next to a beautiful new Ducati motorcycle. I thought it was a bit strange sitting there alone. But the social butterfly as I am I went over to talk to him. He let me know that his motorcycle was brand new. and he was planning to go to a coffee shop somewhere but wasn’t sure where to go. Perfect! I'll let him know that I know of a great place to go for coffee and a great route to get there and I asked him if you'd like to come along. He said sure.
I led him through a twisty Road through canyons and over mountain passes until we reached the Morning Fresh Dairy and their “Howling Cow Cafe”. To the DGR riders, I pointed to the patio and told them “we sat right over there”. That is when he told me what was really going on that day. He let me know that 2 weeks earlier his wife had died. She wanted him to be happy so she requested that he go and buy a brand new motorcycle. He let me know that he had literally ridden that bike off the showroom floor and stopped for gas. but at the gas station he could go no further. He was frozen. He had experienced such loss he didn't know what to do. but then he said to me " then you came along and said hello and asked me to go for a ride for coffee. Now life is feeling better.
To me, that’s what the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is all about. It’s the power of saying “hello” to a stranger. For some, that takes courage, but that couragious step could change a life and knowing that, feels fantastic. I’m convinced of that.
A very wise man once said “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to ..people... There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” That was Fred Rogers from “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”. If we didn’t have the opportunity to learn that important fact in our childhood, I’m very grateful that, through the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, we are able to learn it now.
Thank you for listening. I wish you peace. I wish you love.