To be fair, I should have expected this before pulling up at the start point. The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride as been around since 2012 and was founded in Sydney, Australia. The idea behind it was to challenge the stereotype that motorcycle riders are either hooligans on supersport bikes or Hell’s Angels on Harley’s. So every year, men around the world don their dapper attire, saddle up, and raise money for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and suicide awareness. Okay, background over.
I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to participate in this ride until the night before. My uncle was at a wedding with our two other friends who wanted to go, and let’s just say they were not sure if waking up at 6:00AM would be possible. Well it was and at 7:30AM we lifted our kickstands to head to the meet and as always, the excitement for going on a big ride had completely taken over.
As we pulled up to Gorshin Trading Post & Supplies in Haddonfield, I realized that this ride is going to be different then most. The street in front of the shop was full of classic and European bikes. This was especially challenging for me to not have a trouser accident considering I just revisited in my love for Ducati’s in a previous post…here.
As I park Selene (my 2005 Suzuki M50 Black) besides a mid-70’s Honda 750 and a tasty modified Ducati 821, I get the feeling I brought her to the wrong ball. My uncle and his friend are feeling even more sheepish with their near-matching V-Star 1100’s. Also, I felt bad for drooling over so many bikes with poor Selene sitting right right there. It was just like the meme with the guy walking down the street with his girl while looking at someone else. Every Thruxton I walked by resulted in a ever-longing glance back towards my beauty in black. I swear I said sorry a few times.
Realistically it didn’t matter, we were all out to support a great cause and what bike you rode in on isn’t as important.
The ride itself was pretty great. The weather was beautiful, the planned route kept us on b-roads, and we had an awesome mid-way stop at Nixon’s General Store in Tabernacle for one of the better breakfast sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. Now since I wasn’t vlogging the ride, I enjoyed being at the front of the pack. I was leading this convoy unique bikes and somehow it was even better that I was on a more normal ride. A little over an hour later, we reached what would be the chocolate covered cherry on my amazing cake; New Jersey Motorsports Park.
We were allowed to do five parade laps around the circuit and I could not be more excited. Even though my 805cc cruiser was not meant for this, I was going to get a taste of sporty riding on two-wheels. As my group lined up, I made sure I got in front of the elderly gentleman on a Honda 360T and right behind a newer Yamaha R1 and Triumph Speed Triple so I could have my fun.
As we entered the track and preformed the sighting lap, I was an odd mix of nervous and comfortable. While I was using the wrong bike and had never been on a track before, all of the tips and lessons I had learned from riding, and other Motovloggers, were starting to build together and it was not long before I was tipping my 500lb sweetie deep into the corners. I was finding the brake balance, proper lean angles, and fastest gears through turns. While the sport bikes in front of me were barely goosing it, I was able to ring out the potential of my baby muscle cruiser. It was like a perfect date.
Our front group was actually going so…briskly, that we caught up to the rear safety car guarding a vintage trike pootling around the bends. As we exited the track, every rider was acting like a child who had just met Spongebob for the first time. We were giddy, sweaty, and in pure bliss. What did stink a bit was I had to leave the track right after the laps and drive back to my neck of the woods for the Eagles game. However, I did have a long ride to really think about the experience I just had.
First, I had come to the determination that at some point I want to try track riding again, on an appropriate bike of course. The sensation of being able to fully use every aspect of your machine is unlike any other. Second, while Selene certainly wasn’t as vintage or “cool” as some of the other bikes on the ride, she still had me grinning ear to ear the entire time. Not only that, a few guys had even said that they were impressed that she was my first. A little ego boost never hurt. The last point was rather a surprise though. I truly have no intention of “upgrading” Selene. While she doesn’t have the biggest engine or the best performance, I am going to get a second bike of a different variety rather then just get another cruiser.
For the everyday riding mixed with longish hauls, Selene is fantastic. Light, good on gas ,very reliable, sounds fantastic, oh and she looks mean as hell. I realized just how much I have fallen in love with my cheap first bike and I really can’t imagine her leaving me any time soon. I am not going to be foolish and say I will keep her until my last breath, but I really hope I do somehow. Even if the frame rots away and I cannot afford to keep the motor running, I almost want to take her fuel tank and mount it somewhere as dedication to long long life (I hope) she has had.
The point of that misty-eyed rant was to show just how much my bike has become a part of me. I know that most other riders, besides Vespa people maybe, can relate.
To wrap this up, I will be putting a short video of the ride up eventually but I need to get my editing down a little more before it goes public. Hopefully that doesn’t take too long!
Motorcycle blogger in South Jersey. Looking to get fat off good food. Are their any other people in the 20's riding cruisers anymore?