Hamilton - A Small Canadian Town That's Not Slowing Down

Posted 3 years ago

We’ve heard stories from hosts who have carried the torch of DGR all the way back to its inaugural year, but as this event continues to grow, we welcome to support of many new faces and cities to the DGR family. 2017 saw the addition of over 100 rides, parading through their city centres for the first time. One of these rides was Hamilton, from friendly Canada - and at the helm, stands Jeff Campagna. Jeff rode in DGR Toronto in 2016, one hour from his home in Hamilton. Teeming with anticipation to participate, Jeff rode to Toronto the night before and saved himself from the long, cold, morning ride out the next day. Come DGR day, astounded by the camaraderie and impact of the event, Jeff was motivated to bring DGR to his own town.

Though Jeff’s participation in the event may not be as long-standing as he may have liked, he has followed DGR from whichever city he was living in year-on-year. “I’ve spent the past 10 years living abroad and travelling, so I either was without a motorcycle in a city where a ride was taking place, or I had a motorcycle but there was no ride nearby. So I watched from afar for many years until the time was right.” 

When that right time came, Jeff knew that he could bring that same level of excitement and style from DGR in Toronto to Hamilton. “Hamilton is a great city. It's caught somewhere between a metropolis and a small town. It's an old steel city and there are lots of motorcycles buzzing through the streets. After participating in the 2016 ride in downtown Toronto, I sort of promised myself that in 2017, Hamilton would have its own DGR so all the riders west of Toronto would have a ride to participate in.” And that he did, bringing together almost 150 riders in Hamilton’s first ever DGR in 2017 and raising almost $45,000, and near 200 riders in 2018 fundraising a whopping $64,000. That’s some heavyweight lifting for a featherweight town!

“With Sturgess Cycle being the oldest Triumph dealer in the country, there are lots of new Triumphs in town, so we had a good collection of Bonnie’s, Scrambler’s, and Thruxton’s. But there's also a great builder community in the city here so we had lots of old UJMs that had been given a rather nice Cafe Racer or Brat Style conversion. There are also lots of rural areas on the outskirts of town so there was a shocking number of new Ural sidecars that showed up. And, of course, we had some head turners like a 1953 Enfield, a 1982 Gilera moped, a brand new Dominator SS Cafe Racer #102, and a wicked old Enfield sidecar.”

As we know, larger rides require a dedicated team to bring the event together, building off each years’ experiences. For Jeff, he had the team but had to sketch up his plans from scratch. “We kept things pretty casual, seeing as though it was the first year for Hamilton's DGR. We were expecting about 20-30 riders but we ended up with 147 registered riders, which was a great surprise. This, of course, added a little extra pressure. But because Hamilton is pretty quiet on Sunday mornings, save for the hungry brunch crowd, there weren't really many logistical or permit challenges with the ride itself.“

The team that made this brilliant little ride come together came from a combination of riders assisting with logistics, and local businesses helping to encourage participation and fundraising. “I had a small group of riders help with preliminary route planning and such. We were fortunate to have some great local sponsors who donated prizes, like Sturgess Cycle (the local Triumph dealer), who donated a Leather Bobber Riding Jacket to be given to the owner of the "best in show" bike. I'm sure no one signed up for the ride just for the sake of prizes alone, but it sure did help add some excitement to the ride and demonstrate what a great riding community there is in Hamilton.”

Now with routes and prizes to encourage participants, it’s easy to forget about one of the best parts of DGR - the end of the ride. This is where riders are able to come together, share their stories over a cuppa, and celebrate their fantastic achievement to men’s health.

“We ended the ride at Collective Arts Brewery on Burlington St. It's a very cool craft brewery that celebrates arts and culture within the city. They were generous enough to let our pack roll up and hang out and they also donated a dollar from every beer sold back to Movember. Blend Catering was on hand with some killer pulled pork sandwiches.”

Ultimately, Hamilton rode away having fundraised a smashing $63,894 USD with its 190 riders in 2018 - an incredible effort! Thank you to Jeff, his crew, and all the riders and sponsors of DGR Hamilton, Canada - thank you for your support and as always - Live Tweed, and Ride Dapper.


If you are a host, rider, or supporter of DGR and would like to share your story, we’d love to hear it. Please get in touch with us at stories@gentlemansride.com.

Photography by Lucas Johnson, Allan Glanfield (2017) and Daniel Whalen (2018)

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