It's quite a busy Sunday morning in the little town of Chinon, France. The coffee shops, just reopened after months of covid-induced administrative closure, are filling up. People gather around the farmer's market on Général de Gaulle square and enjoy the sunlight that was pretty scarce these past few weeks.
Around Joan of Arc square, the streets start to resonate with motorcycle exhaust sounds. One by one, the bikes arrive and park in front of the epic statue of the Maid of Orléans. True to the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride tradition, everybody dressed up in a dapper way and showed up on "classic" bikes: Triumph twins, Harley Sportsters, Royal Enfield thumpers.
The Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride, DGR for short, is about bringing smiles to the faces of passers-by. It's about raising awareness on prostate cancer and men's mental health and helping change the often-negative stereotype of motorcyclists within the public. All of the participants are therefore quite like-minded: friendly, fun and committed.
Sipping coffee on the terrace of the Café de la Paix, everybody gets to know each other while contemplating the bikes. After a rainy couple of weeks, the weather is now beautiful and many groups of motorcycles pass by. It feels like the community has finally awoken, at last!
Soon, the road calls. Engines on and kickstands up! The ride takes us through some picturesque areas and villages of the Loire Valley. We stop in front of Rigny-Ussé, famous for inspiring the castle of Sleeping Beauty, then we follow the Loire river for a little while and cross to Azay-le-Rideau, another beautiful city built around a magnificent castle.
After a quick break, we dive deeper into the Touraine countryside, following curvy backroads to the villages of Saché, the very remote Villeperdue (literally Lost Town), Saint-Épain, Crissay-sur-Manse.
We stop for lunch in Avon-les-Roches, throw a few sausages on the barbecue. We talk about our travels, our dream bikes, the next rallies. But time flies and we already need to go back.
See you next year, fellow gentlefolk! Ride safe, ride strong and Tally Ho!
CEO & Founder Totem Moto Tours