The event will bring dozens of motorcycles and riders to Merchant Street in Audubon for a fundraiser to support prostate health and mental health awareness.
By Matt Skoufalos | May 21, 2022
For one spring afternoon, downtown Audubon will be flush with classic motorcycles and dapper riders in vintage gear, as the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride roars to life.
The one-day fundraiser for men’s health and mental health causes will close the 100 block of West Merchant Street at 7 a.m. Sunday, with riders lining up their bikes at 8 a.m.
At 11 a.m., they’ll loop around Old City in Philadelphia, and then return to the block for a celebration including live music, hand-rolled cigars, and food specials from local restaurants.
Event host Jamison Delles, who organized the first DGR in Haddonfield six years ago at the Gorshin Trading Post, said he’s hopeful that the event can grow into a full street fair and motorcycle show, the better to fundraise and generate awareness of men’s health issues.
Last year, his team, which comprises Delles and riders David Burris, Greg Dembs, and George Evearts, was the 17th-ranked fundraising group in the country.
In addition to the cause underpinning the event, there’s also a style quotient to it. “Distinguished Gentlefolk,” as the event describes them, bring a dapper look to the ride that adds something extra to its feel.
Riders are encouraged to don vintage cafe racer gear and their most classic looks. Motorcycles from the 1950s and 60s through current models of Hondas, Triumphs, and more will be on display for visitors to behold.
To Delles, the artfulness of the scene is an icebreaker that can open up the more difficult conversations at the root of the ride.
“It’s an awareness to reach out to people you’re friends with, and the importance of connecting with each other,” he said.
John Gordon of Brown Dog Cafe, which will provide the anchor point for Sunday’s festivities, echoed his sentiments.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a time when this sort of thing needed to be talked about more,” Gordon said.
“Audubon’s been hit hard with suicide,” he said, alluding to the sudden, unexpected loss of borough firefighter and police officer Michael McCausland last year.
The Michael R. McCausland Foundation will be on hand Sunday as well, helping to raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues, and carrying on his legacy in Audubon.
Gordon hopes that the popularity of the DGR and the urgency of addressing the issues at which it aims will draw support from the neighborhood for those causes.
“This is a global event,” he said. “It pulls people from other towns, it’s established, and people love it.”
Brown Dog co-owner Kate Powell said that she hopes the event will show those who may be struggling with mental health issues that their challenges are recognized, and that they are not alone.
“My focus is always the community,” Powell said.
“I think a lot of people are personally involved with mental illness, so it’s nice to come together and support each other.
“We just want them to know that the community supports them, and we want to educate them on how to get the help that they need,” she said.
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