Tuesday 29 September 2020

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2020 (Solo) Glasgow


Sunday was the planned date for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, where motorcyclist around the world put on their most dapper clothing and ride together to raise funds for men's mental health and cancer charities.  link

However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, no group rides were organised and participants were asked to ride solo then forward photos to the DGR website.

It was a bit cold (14C) when I started, so put on thermals under my riding suit. It got a bit warmer as the day went on, but there was always a nip in the air.

I had planned riding in the Glasgow ride (see previous posts), so headed out on a solo ride through the city. First stop was to be George Square in the city centre, a meeting point of the 2017 Ride. I rode into the city centre and encountered my first problem – Glasgow City Council rearranges the roads priorities, junctions, directions etc on a seemingly weekly basis, so if you don't visit the city for a while you have no idea of how to get anywhere. They also have a bad habit of designating roads as 'bus and taxi only' arbitrarily and without any signage, just the words 'Bus Gate' painted on the road surface AFTER you've entered the street. I ended up riding into the south side of George Square through a bus gate. Whether or not they have numberplate recognition cameras I'll find out when a fine pops through my letterbox!

After a lot of riding about I finally made it to a part of George Square where I could stop and take a photo. Unfortunately I couldn't position the camera and tripod to get the City Chambers in the background with them being run over by traffic.

There had been a plan for a future group DGR in Glasgow to include George Square again, but with the very 'vehicle hostile' road layout I can't really see how it would be possible. We'll either have to keep out of the city centre or, preferably, abandon Glasgow and have the ride in one of the surrounding towns.

I rode out of the city centre and headed towards the South Side, an area that I've lived in a couple of times, to look for suitable photo opportunities. I had intended stopping at Queen's Park, but bus lanes and high kerbs meant I couldn't really stop anywhere. Eventually I stopped at the Battlefield Rest. This was built in 1914 as a waiting room for bus and tram passengers and crews changing vehicles at the junction, and is now a restaurant Link

I rode past a house that I'd lived in in my late 20s/early 30s. I hadn't visited the area for many years, so it was interesting to see, then stopped at the house I was born in and lived in until the age of about 8.

Usually the DGR finishes at Triumph Glasgow link, so headed there for a final photo.

The shop was closed, but just after I'd packed my camera and tripod away a nice young woman from West Coast Harley Davidson link, across the road, came over and said that I 'looked wonderful'! I don't often get compliments from women so I assume she was referring to my clothes rather than my looks!

I'd deliberately ridden all day through town to keep my speed down due my feeling 'exposed' wearing an open faced helmet and a suit, but for a laugh I returned home on the motorway. Fair to say open faced helmet are not really suitable for riding at speed as I could feel my face wobbling about in the wind.

About an hour before I left for the Ride, I decided to fit a video camera to the handlebars and film myself riding along. Wearing the open faced helmet meant that the microphone was in a less than ideal position and the camera cut out a couple of times, possibly due to low battery. I've never filmed myself riding before, but I've edited the useable bits of video and pasted them together. Sorry about the quality, especially the audio, but it's not bad for a first attempt.

As always, this is a charity event so feel free to donate on my page: link

I believe next year's event will take place in May, so weather should be a bit warmer. Whether or not it'll be a group ride depends on how the Covid-19 situation is by then, but I'll be there – possibly on my Honda CL350 if it's ready by then.

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