New York City - A Thriving Concrete Jungle

Posted 5 years ago


In 2017, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride will play host to over 600 cities across the globe. Within each of these cities are landmarks that make for beautiful images, and dedicated volunteers who strive for nothing more than to bring the spirit of DGR to their homes. Over the coming weeks, we will be taking a glance at a select few of these beautiful cities to share their uniqueness and their stories, and to give you a glimmer of the vibes that bellow from the bellies of each ride.

Welcome to New York City.

A city such as New York knows its way around a good show, being the landmark destination of some of the most iconic television shows and movies and arguably the world's most photographed city. In 2017, this concrete jungle will once again be the port-of-call for one of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’s largest rides, globally. A show of this magnitude does not just “happen”, but its grown and nurtured by caring hands who work tirelessly to devote their free time to bringing this fine event to life.

Meet Mike Higgins (right) and Allister Klingensmith (left), two riders-turned-hosts of DGR New York City.

Mike has been involved in the ride since 2014. First as simply a rider, but found it intriguing so he asked how he could get involved. The following year he helped organize the ride, and in 2016 he became one of the key guys to head-up the organisation and hosting duties, along with Allister. Allister arrived a little later to the party and joined in 2015 after being engulfed in the aura of camaraderie that surrounds this event, so needless to say he was inspired to give as much as he could to ensure this ride grew even stronger than ever. 

"We get all kinds of folks being in NY." A city of 3.2 million strong, speaking 800 languages thereabouts, you'd expect to have a beautifully diverse range of riders, all bringing their own sense of distinguished style to the scene. "There’s certainly a few dozen guys that lead the charge with the style. I almost think the fashion out shines the classic bikes in NYC. The suits and the accessories are outstanding, gorgeous stuff.  And the beards - these guys bring big-time style, and the beauty of it is that’s it’s just them. I’ve seen many of them out and about in the city throughout the year and they always look like they’re DGR ready."

Mike had come across The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride through its Instagram and Facebook pages, and decided to jump on board to offer assistance. For Allister though, motivation found itself in his desire to build on the motorcycling community of New York and to show his support and raise awareness for men’s health. “Joining an event like this that builds on that community and supports men’s health is a no-brainer. It helps I get to wear some sharp clothes too.” Yet a ride like this takes more than good looks, which Mike quickly learned. “It’s a ton of work. As NYC has grown the logistics of course get more difficult. There’s no shortage of interest in local sponsorship and even just volunteers to help organize, etc. The biggest challenge is how to grow it and keep it interesting, but still safe and smooth flowing. We’ve had good luck so far.” This success has been attributed to the assistance from local rider groups and garages and partnerships with major sponsors. “The biggest difference in the NYC ride has been our partnership with the South Street Seaport. They effectively are our main corporate sponsor and partner - but really the site host. This gives us a start and stop point that literally changes what we can do in terms of making it a true event. Nowhere else can we assemble 700+ riders and still be in Manhattan - and not just Manhattan, but the oldest streets in the entire city. It’s historic, picturesque and a perfect backdrop for the gentry. They bend over backwards for us - so that’s key for us to be able to grow the ride and know we still have a home that’ll grow with us.” While relationships with sponsors and local business become imperative to hosting such a brilliant event, Allister will tell you that at the heart of this rides is a small collection of loyal volunteers. “We've had phenomenal support from a small but dedicated group of volunteers - both mounted and on the ground. Without them we would still be parking bikes.”

With all the effort that goes into creating the New York City DGR event, the Finish Venue is where Mike, Allister, and their team of faithful volunteers can truly unwind. “The Seaport will host us again for a post ride event that will build on last years success, which included a jazz band, barber shop, plenty of food and drinks, prize giveaways and hours of mingling and great socializing with the riders. We concluded the day with a post party over in Brooklyn. It was a daylong celebration that we plan to top this year.” If you’re thinking of how to bring out the ‘Distinguished’ in DGR to your ride, consider adding bands or getting your sponsors onsite to showcase what they do best – create an atmosphere that gives your riders the final hurrah they deserve!

Year upon year, you will come to find that if you lay a strong foundation one year, the following year will be far more successful than you could ever comprehend - and as each year progresses, public interest and excitement becomes contagious and spreads throughout the city in anticipation for the arrival of the coming The Distingushed Gentleman's Ride. “We’ve just about doubled in size since I first rode in ’14. We expect to cap participation at 1000 riders this year. The support is overwhelming as well. As a host and organizer we get people asking to get involved and grow it constantly - so that’s great. People seem to anticipate the event now too. Before it was more, “What is this” as we rode around. Now they expect us, and they are thrilled to see we’re back. This year proves to be even better, so we’re confident we’ll be well-received and make even more commotion as we take over NYC.” 

This year, DGR NYC has truly raised the bar and looks to create a new and exciting experience. But none of these plans could ever come to be without the assistance of volunteers. Mike and Allister are always on the lookout for more unique folks who are true to the cause  and ready to volunteer their time to bring this spectacular event to fruition. If this is you, contact us directly and we’ll connect the dots.

 Photography by Ethan Covey, Marco Penjoia, Geoff Barrenger, Deathbed Edition Clothing and Sam Lee.

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