Ride Report – 2014 Sydney Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

Back in September 2014, I took part in my first ever Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. I opted to join the Sydney ride, as it happened to correspond with the weekend of a birthday party for a good friend of mine in Sydney.

I rode down the evening before and thoroughly enjoyed the party – that’s unrelated to bikes though, so won’t be discussed in detail here!

The point of the DGR is to dress dapper while riding classic and vintage motorcycles, in order to raise money for prostate cancer research.

Since I subscribe to the ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) school of thought on motorcycle safety, I opted for an oversized suit that would fit motocross body armour and mid-layers underneath.

Here I am in the safety gear bought from ALDI over the course of the weeks leading up to the ride. The pose is because the mid-layer pants left nothing to the imagination when I stood up.

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My outfit for the ride. Cannonball helmet and gloves were also from ALDI, while the suit was from a local op-shop. The welding goggles just happened to be in my collection of props and interesting outfits.

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I discovered while riding to the meeting point at The University of Sydney that the welding goggles severely limited my peripheral vision, so I put them on top of the helmet instead.

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I asked another gentleman rider to take a couple of photos of me in front of Scarlet before the ride.

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I then decided to see what I could see in the way of interesting motorcycles that were there for the ride. There were quite a lot!

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The organisers and ride leaders gave a short speech and safety briefing, during which it was announced that we had collectively raised over US$1.5 million worldwide and that the 500+ Sydney riders had raised over AU$150000 – almost a tenth of the worldwide total!

Departure time was upon us, so off we went through the streets of central Sydney.

After about an hour, we stopped for shade and water at the rendezvous point in Barangaroo.

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Here’s Scarlet in amongst all the other vintage bikes, cruisers and cafe racers.

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I’d noticed that Scarlet was having trouble at idle by the halfway point and the speedo still wasn’t working reliably, so I made a mental note to follow these up once I got her home.

After a short break it was back on the bikes, across Sydney harbour bridge and back to the university where cold water, a fundraiser BBQ, merchandise stand and live music awaited us, with a bar upstairs for those who wanted something a little stronger.

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Although I’d already bought the 2014 patch and sticker set, I bought a couple more patches from previous rides to put on my outfit for next year!

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Although the following Monday was a public holiday in Canberra, I opted to head home from Sydney that evening.

About a month after the ride, I received a letter from the organisers thanking me for raising over $100 that included a sticker and another patch, so these will be going on my suit and helmet for the 2015 ride! The original patch and sticker set I ordered before the ride are on the left, the new ones on the right and the patches I bought at the ride are at the bottom.

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I’ll definitely be going again this year and getting onboard footage with my GoPro. I might stay in Sydney a bit longer this time too. I’ll be on my full licence by then, so might even take a pillion if I can find one willing to dress dapper for the occasion!

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VJMC Ride Report Part 3 – Day 3 – Blue Ribbon Ride And Murdo’s Museum

Part 3 of the long-promised ride report for my road trip on Scarlet to and from the Tamworth VJMC Blue Ribbon Weekend! Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Day 3  – Saturday

Early Saturday morning, we headed to the meeting place for ride registration – the carpark next to the local Yamaha dealer!

At first it seemed like not many people had turned up for registration. It was just after 9 am on a Saturday morning, so not too bad a turnout…

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Over the next hour it got a lot busier.

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By the time we were underway, there were about 50 riders officially registered. Not bad for a charity ride in a town better known for its country music festival!

After about 60-90 minutes, we stopped in Quirindi for those that needed fuel to get it. Scarlet was thirsty by then so I was one of them.

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I parked Scarlet next to a bigger Honda from roughly the same era (I think it was a ’78 model?). You can see the Aussie Trike on the left as well.

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After everyone had refueled and was ready to go again, we were off again for another hour before stopping at the Nundle Pub for lunch.

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Unfortunately the management had somehow forgotten the let the weekend staff know that about 50 hungry motorcyclists would be arriving that afternoon despite several calls from the ride organisers during the week before the ride. While the food was good, it took quite a while to arrive as there was also wedding reception happening at the same time.

Finally after everyone had eaten plans were made by some to ride further and others to head back to Tamworth. My fellow 2fiftycc.com forum members and I all planned to meet up at “Murdo’s Museum”, also known as the garage of a man with a passion for vintage motorcycle restorations whose garage has been converted to showcase his amazing restoration work.

Unfortunately I lost the rest of our sub-group and ended up lost in Tamworth and I’d forgotten to get the street address of my host’s house. Thankfully with the aid of a mobile phone, bluetooth headset and Google Maps I was able to call and find my way there within only minutes, as Tamworth is not a very large town!

It turned out that Murdo’s place was not far down the road, so I again followed my host’s car on Scarlet.

Murdo had a story behind every bike in the museum, and while I can’t remember any of them in detail, he assured us that every bike in the museum bar one would work if topped up with fuel or oil. That one was apparently next year’s project!

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1965 Honda C50 stepthrough. Apparently they made these for quite a long time.

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1981 Maico Mega E 250 – not a lot of these in Australia and Murdo described this as “a bit of a League Of Nations” that he has owned since it was new.

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1972 Honda SL125 – this one is the “museum piece” restored to original configuration.

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Murdo had a few parts left over once he finished the SL125 restoration, so he made them into a few more bikes. This one is a café racer version…

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A dirt bike version…

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And a chopper!

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Yamaha/Suzuki 250 drag bike, with a custom-built frame and exhaust, along with a few other specially-fabricated parts.

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1974 Yamaha YB100

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1967 Yamaha YDS5 250

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Honda (1970s SL100?) trailbike conversion

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1981 Kawasaki KE 175

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The Virago apparently belongs to his wife – she gets to park it with the others though!

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Yamaha DT250 – this one was described as “next year’s project.”

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Murdo ushered us out as it was getting on towards evening and he had to prepare “something special” for the VJMC Club Dinner that night.

I went for a beer run to ALDI and picked up an open face helmet that was going cheap in preparation for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride the following weekend.

After a getting changed and having a couple of cold ones while reviewing some raw GoPro footage of the ride from one of the other riders, it was off to the Bowling Club again.

Before the Club dinner, I caught up with my girlfriend and her family. She’d flown up to come see Scarlet on show and as she happened to have family around that general area, she was staying with them. As they had a long drive home they left before the formal proceedings began.

There was a raffle with tickets donated by the Bowling Club and prizes donated by local businesses and all proceeds going to prostate cancer research. Despite buying a lot of tickets, I didn’t win anything in the raffle. One of my travelling companions bought twice as many tickets and won an open-face helmet. He asked if I be interested in it as it was too big and he prefers full-face helmets. I told him I’d just bought one and it’d be too big for me too, so I think he kept it to sell later.

Word had got around just how far I’d travelled on Scarlet to attend the VJMC Blue Ribbon Weekend so a special Long Distance Award was presented to me for “riding so far on a half-finished restoration job” – It was a can of Inox, a can of Cobra Care detailing spray and some stubby coolers. I should have got a photo but completely forgot to do so!

Murdo then unveiled his special presentation – the SL125 Chopper we had seen earlier at his museum. He’d glossed over the details when we saw it earlier, as it was finally being revealed to the local VJMC members for the first time that evening.

I wouldn’t do justice to his entertaining explanation of the way the project came to be here, so I won’t try. Suffice to say he is an inspiration to those new to restoring or customising bikes and has an amazing way with words!

After dinner, I headed back to my host’s house to give Scarlet a polish with my new loot, then went to bed in order to get up early and show her off!

END PART THREE