For an event intended to bring men together for a good cause, it's tough to go solo but that's exactly what the local Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is focused on this year.

The fourth annual local ride, part of a global fundraiser and awareness effort for prostate cancer and men's mental health, will take place Sept. 27 with dapper dressed men riding classic motorcycles around town.

Riders may go it alone or in pairs but larger groups are discouraged due to COVID-19 guidelines.

While previous years have included a route and set time for the day's ride, this year's event will be flexible in order to allow riders to maintain social distance from their peers. 

Anyone watching the roads that Sunday should look for some stylish men on a variety of bikes, ranging from classic Norton, BMW and Triumph motorcycles and Harleys to custom cafe racers and scooters.

"They should definitely dress up in 'dapper' attire," said Rudy Hernandez, who is volunteering for the local ride for the second year.

"Last year the guys were phenomenal, in three-piece suits, vests and ties. They were really into it."

Hernandez understands the importance of still bringing the community together for this ride. As a cancer survivor and licensed clinical social worker at Kaiser Permanente, he knows that reminding men to take care of themselves physically and mentally is vital.

Since the pandemic has led to many doctor and therapist appointments being conducted by phone or computer, Hernandez has noticed people are finding it less stressful to connect. 

Rather than having to allot time away from work or family to make an office visit, patients can step away in their home or somewhere else private for their appointment.

He said, "They can be home. We can just talk. That anxiety element is just gone. It has eased that anxiety for that initial intake. It's just so much easier to reach us."

Since September is also National Suicide Prevention Month, Hernandez said this is a good time to address mental health issues.

"Seventy-five percent of those who die by suicide are male. It's in the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.

He noted that less than 35 percent of men with major depressive episodes seek treatment. But stories like that of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who recently shared his own struggles with depression as a result of the pandemic and coping with the death of his brother, help men get tackle these topics.

"Let’s open the discussions, because there is so much stress," Hernandez said. "We don't like to talk about emotions."

Last year's local event drew about 80 riders and raised about $13,000. Organizers are optimistic the ride will grow despite the changes. 

So far in the U.S. more than 42,000 riders are registered, with $1.3 million already raised.

Those who want to register for the Sept. 27 ride, can do so at gentlemansride.com. Riders are encouraged to share their ride and event details via social media.

A no-reserve benefit auction will be held via at motoauct.com for a 1962 Matchless G80, 500cc from the John Braun collection. Individual raffles will be held at Adventure Center Powersports and Fred Cummings Motorsports.

For more details on the local ride, visit the Facebook event page at facebook.com/events/2713420835572458. For more on the overall international movement, visit gentlemansride.com.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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