If you were in Canberra in late September, you might have witnessed an odd sight – almost 200 smartly dressed motorcyclists riding their classic-style motorbikes.
The 2017 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was held to raise money for research into prostate cancer and men’s mental health.
Among those participating was Lieutenant Alec Beerens, Field Assurance Manager at the Office of the Defence Seaworthiness Regulator, who raised just over $4,100, making him the 84th highest fundraiser in the worldwide event.
Lieutenant Beerens said the main reason for his impressive total was because he used the opportunity to shave his longtime beard as a fundraiser.
“The last time my wife saw my chin was after our wedding, and she said once was enough,” Lieutenant Beerens said.
“Because it was for a good cause, she was willing to see my chin again. So as part of my fundraising, I shaved off my beard.
“When I first started fundraising, I would have been stoked to raise $100, let alone my initial goal of $1000. I was absolutely blown away to reach the top 100, and by the amount of money we raised.
“There were a few funny looks at work on the day I shaved it off, and I think people are still adjusting while it grows back.”
The Distinguished Gentleman’s ride is held around the world every year. To participate, riders must dress in their finest distinguished attire and ride a café-racer, bobber, or similar classic-style motorbike.
This year, the $4.8 million raised by participants was donated to the Movember Foundation.
“The ride is about having a bit of fun with a group of people who have common interests, as well as raising money for a good cause,” Lieutenant Beerens said.
“I’ve wanted to get involved with it for a few years now, but through a few different things – such as postings – the timings didn’t line up and I’d missed it.
“The ride started in 2012 because there wasn’t a ride specifically for niche bikes like café racers, bobbers and classic bikes.
“They started off running as a group of 15-20 in Sydney, and then it became a couple of thousand and went gang-busters from there.”
Riders have raised almost $12.5 million in the five years since the event began.