Official figures suggest that 36,695 chaps and ladies, dressed to the nines with bikes equally befitting, rode through 410 cities in 79 countries on cafe racers, scramblers, bobbers and other custom classics.
Their aim was simple. To raise awareness and funds for research into a cure for prostate cancer, which kills 1,300 men every day worldwide.
Among them at the London ride was comedian Rufus Hound, complete with an overhauled Bonneville rebuilt from the remains of his pride and joy bike stolen from his home last year.
The television star, surprisingly minus his trademark tash, shaved off for a current theatre role, was just another rider in a colourful sea of tweed and silk in the shadow of fashionable Borough Market.
And that, he insisted, is just the way he likes it: “Weaving in and out of traffic with no one knowing who I am is blissful. That’s the beauty of riding.”
Which was also why the humourist and actor took to Twitter in an expletive-laden fury when thieves broke into his home and stole the keys to the family car, and his purple and white Triumph 2013 Bonneville from his driveway.
Rant over, he was in far sunnier mood at the DGR after Triumph took his bike, recovered in a ‘bit of a state’, and gave it the type of custom job only they know how to do.
“I was absolutely speechless when I saw it, which, as anyone who knows me will testify, is an achievement in itself,” said the 37-year-old star.
A beautiful scoop leather seat is the centrepiece of the pared-down bobber rebuild, which Hound hailed as ‘incredible’.
He added: “I had only ridden it for three days before the DGR and the difference between how it was before it was smashed up and now is unbelievable. And the noise, oh the noise is amazing.
So much so that the dad-of-two’s new addition to the family looked like it might land him in the doghouse with a neighbour. “I was rushing to go to work and gave it a couple of bursts.
It sounded like Thor clearing his throat and the neighbour came running out shouting at me to stop. I thought ‘oh no, I’m in trouble, it’s got too much growl’.
“But he told me to wait, ran back indoors and came out with a camera for a picture, swearing a lot and saying what a beautiful bike he thought it was.”
But there were some clear and defining moments in Rufus’s decision to take the Triumph route.
“When I used to drive to work trying to become established in TV, I’d spend most of my time sitting in traffic. I’d often pass slowly by the Metropolis dealership in Vauxhall and think about going in, so one day I did.
I started hanging out with the guys in there and they showed me the 50th anniversary Bonneville in baby blue and orange. I was in love.”
“I had to have a Bonnie but didn’t have the funds, so I picked up a Suzuki bam bam. Then I saw Little Mix on Triumph Rockets at The X Factor final and thought ‘if they can ride them, then why the hell can’t I?’ So I got one, then it was nicked.”
“I went on a tour of the Triumph factory in Hinckley. Once you’ve done that, seen the passion and dedication and painstaking hand-building work the guys there do, there’s really only one bike you’d want to ride.
There’s nothing quite like riding a British bike through the British countryside. I did it coming home from the Reading Festival one year and took all the B roads – the sun was setting, people were out having barbecues and the smells were incredible. It was an unforgettable ride.”
“I have to travel a lot with the job and sadly a lot of it is on planes and in cars. It’s just dead time, but on a bike you are actively engaged with everything around you.”
“What a brilliant idea. Going round London in the sunshine on a dream of a bike with guys and girls laughing and crowds of people cheering you on. What could be better than that, apart from raising funds and awareness for such a good cause?”
Rufus Hound is appearing in The Wars of the Roses at Rose Theatre in Kingston, Surrey until October 31.
Check out fortheride.com later this week to see the making of Rufus’s bike. We’ll also be featuring a video and more pictures from the London event.
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