The Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride 2016

Happy Hump Day, y'all!!! Today, I want to touch base about how I found out about The Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride 2016. 

I'd like to preface this post by stating that I ride a motorcycle. It's not a big one, but I love it and it provides one of the best feelings in the world. I've always been interested in riding (my Dad rode when I was a little girl and sold his bike when I was 4), but never had the chance, nor the time to actually follow through with my big "I'm going to ride a motorcycle" plans. I honestly didn't even know what to shop for, let alone go through with the process of getting my license. Back when I met Jason in 2013, I soon came to realize that he rode. The day I met him, actually, was the day after he ripped his tubes and wires off of himself in the hospital after a really bad motorcycle accident. His face was bruised, cut up and swollen. As much as it should have, it never turned me away from riding one bit. In fact, his love for the open road and two wheels made me further intrigued. I wanted to know what carbs were and how to clean them out. I wanted to know how everything was attached and how they worked together. I got curious.

Apparently, curious enough to be gifted a gold 1975 Honda CB 200T, named Lucy!!!  After Jason had sent me a image of Lucy hours prior, I came home from a long day at work and I didn't think twice about the motorcycle. I walked into my living room and there she was in all of her glory, JUST FOR ME!  Jason and his best friend, Jeff, went and picked it up and scrambled to get home and put it in the living room for me to find it! I had no idea what to even expect...I had never ridden anything with two wheels and a motor. I was educated in the "manual vehicle" department, so I at least had that going for me! (Thanks Dad! And Josh!) Within weeks, I begged Jason to take me out for lessons. After crashing into a tree and rallying, I was up and fearless of that little Honda 90. I made that thing my bitch. (Excuse my french, but that's really what happened!) I rode through a yard for an hour or so and then bravely moved up to my own Honda! I took my motorcycle test, passed first time and then started getting comfy riding at night (I was never allowed before...). 

Once I felt comfortable on my little Honda, I started riding with the big boys. Although Lucy redlines at 70mph, she's great for inner city riding and back country roads. Once I felt comfortable on the highway, it was game over. I can't get enough...

UNTIL! I started scrolling through Instagram for ladies who ride in Columbus, just to meet new people and share a common interest with other chicks! That's when I came across The Litas ( http://www.thelitas.co/ )!!!!  The Litas are a collective of women around the world who share a love for the open road and two wheeled machines. I found this group, got my bike up and running (she was out for a while there...poor girl is old and breaks down all the time! Ahh, the zen of motorcycle maintenance!) and asked to be added to this super rad group of ladies and started learning all kinds of new things about motorcycles! The best part, we're all girls! We help each other out. We're a community. We're family. It's something I'm proud to be a part of! 

This leads to where I found out about the DGR. Our girl, Brittney, leads the Litas division in Columbus. She lives about 10 blocks south of me and her and her fiance, Eric, are magical people. Brittney knows about all the cool events going on in Ohio (and all over the country, really...) and is always sure to email all 30-some of us about the events. When I got the email about the Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride, I immediately got chills. Below, I quote the actual "about" section of the DGR website.

"Influenced by the tragedy of losing one of our ride hosts to depression, 2016 will see a change in our health goals. Now, the funding of suicide prevention programs is a DGR focus, in addition to prostate cancer research through our new official charity partner The Movember Foundation and the support of our title sponsors Triumph Motorcycles and Zenith Watches."

***You can sponsor me until October 31!   ---->   https://www.gentlemansride.com/rider/whitmakesart  

As of right this minute, I have raised $680 out of my $1000 goal.

My Grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. One of my favorite people on Earth was depressed and we lost him too. This event hit home...and I set a goal to raise $1000.  Brittney and I collectively raised $2,000 together and I couldn't be more proud of us. We got to ride with some other Litas ladies too, which was fantastic. Now I know what it's like to be a part of a huge, fun and loving community. We do rad things for rad people locally and all over the world. It's a whole different vibe...and when you ride, you just know what I mean. There's no specific words to quite describe the wind in your hair, your earbuds in your ears, jeans flapping being you in the wind and a pull of a downshift. A lot of people will never know! (Can you tell I'm totally an adrenaline junky? Skydiving, Motorcycle Riding...Idiot!)

Below are some images from the ride on Sunday. I was fortunate enough to get the day off and actually participate in the ride! I was so so excited to actually physically be there to show how much that ride and raising awareness meant to me. Shannon and Dennis would be very proud of me, I just know it!

Cheers to taking care of one another! It's the only thing we've got these days. Love thy neighbor.