Rider's Journal - Episode 2

Welcome back to another episode of the Rider’s Journal! Today, we're shining the spotlight on Vincent Nicolai - NYC's top fundraiser for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride for an incredible 10 years! Join us as we follow Vincent's journey from his riding beginnings in France to navigating the bustling streets of NYC on a motorcycle, cruising Route 66, and gearing up with the Brummell Blazer for this year's Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.


Nino: Could you tell us a bit about how you first got into motorcycles?

Vincent: Sure! I first got into motorcycles when I was just 13 years old, living in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. The mild climate there meant people rode year-round, especially to avoid the traffic jams during tourist season. I started on my older brother's scooter, which I promptly crashed – sorry, brother! To buy my own, I worked a summer job setting up food displays along the roads, earning enough to purchase my first scooter. My father, a motorcycle rider himself, insisted I work for it, a value I plan to pass on to my son when he's ready to ride.


Nino: Interesting beginnings! Fast forward to today, living in NYC, what's your go-to ride?

Vincent: Living in NYC, my go-to ride is quite different from my days in the south of France. Here, riding isn't so much a commute as it is a hobby. With the city's traffic, tourists, and cabs, riding can be quite intense and not the safest. Plus, our winters can be harsh with salt, snow, and ice on the roads, limiting riding to just a few months. Currently, I own two Triumph motorcycles. The first is a 1200cc Triumph Speed Twin, a nimble and powerful naked bike that's perfect for city rides. The second is a Tiger GT, a 900cc adventure bike ideal for long-distance trips with spacious storage and a larger fuel tank.



Nino: Speaking of long-distance trips, you embarked on the iconic Route 66 journey. Can you share some highlights from that adventure?

Vincent: Embarking on the iconic Route 66 journey was a dream come true, a memory that still fills me with immense joy. It ranks right up there with my wedding day and the birth of my son. The adventure began in 2009 when I felt something missing in my life despite having a wonderful wife and settling down in New York. That missing piece turned out to be two wheels, so I spontaneously bought a Bonneville T100 and started planning my Route 66 trip.

Setting off from Queens, New York, I rode for 13 days, covering 5050 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica Pier, stopping at landmarks like the Meramec Cavern and the Petrified Forest along the way. One of the most striking moments was the Arizona desert, where the endless horizon and expansive sky felt surreal compared to the bustling cityscape of NYC. Riding for about 12 hours a day, I'd stop at KOA campgrounds for the night, where I'd mingle with locals at diners that doubled as post offices and grocery stores. The kindness and hospitality of people along the way were overwhelming. From their excitement about seeing a Triumph to their fascination with a New Yorker in their small town, I was met with warmth and generosity everywhere I went. It’s an adventure that will always hold a special place in my heart.


Nino: Now, let’s delve into your journey with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a global event aimed at raising funds for men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer research and men's mental health support. You've been heavily involved in fundraising for DGR in New York City, consistently ranking as a top fundraiser. How did you achieve such success?

Vincent: I've been fortunate to work for a company, Latham & Watkins, that encourages employees to support charitable causes. The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, focused on men's health, resonated deeply with me. Prostate cancer research and men's mental health are crucial issues, often overlooked. The ride aims to break the silence surrounding these topics, encouraging men to open up and seek help when needed. The motorcycle community, known for its fearlessness, serves as a perfect platform to promote these discussions.

My involvement in fundraising for DGR in New York City began by simply reaching out to colleagues and friends. Starting small, each year more people joined in, whether they could donate, ride, or simply spread the word. It's become a tradition, with anticipation building each year as we come together to support this important cause. It's been incredible to see the enthusiasm and support grow, and I feel fortunate to play a role in it.



Nino: That's impressive. Do you have any advice for aspiring fundraisers or first-time participants in DGR?

Vincent: My advice is simple: start with facts and data. One in eight or one in nine men will face prostate cancer in their lifetime. That means practically everyone knows someone affected by it. Let them know that DGR raises funds for the Movember Foundation, which supports men's health initiatives. Share details about the event, how it's celebrated globally, and how their contribution will make a difference.


Nino: Your dedication to DGR is amazing. This year, you'll be riding in the Brummell Blazer. What are your thoughts on this innovative piece of riding gear?

Vincent:  I feel incredibly fortunate to have the Brummell Blazer. One of the key concerns many people rightly have about participating in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is the lack of protection while dressed in stylish attire and riding classic bikes. Although we're not racing and there are safety measures in place, accidents can still happen, and it’s something every motorcyclist needs to consider.

That's where the Brummell Blazer stands out. The Brummell Blazer is insanely good looking, and the craftsmanship on the blazer is exceptional. You can wear it all day and nobody will ever notice you have protection. It's not bulky, you don't have gigantic protectors and you look all dressed up, unlike traditional riding gear. This innovative approach to combining protection and fashion is what drew me to Brummell, and I'm eager to wear it for the DGR and be both dapper and protected on the road.



Nino: Can you give us a sneak peek into your outfit combination for this year's DGR ride?

Vincent: Of course! I'll be wearing the Brummell Blazer with a white shirt and a patterned tie. During the ride, I'll keep the protective gilet on, ensuring safety. Then, for post-ride events or photoshoots, I can easily remove the gilet and showcase the blazer in its full glory.


Nino: Lastly, Vincent, what are your hopes and expectations for this year's DGR ride in NYC? 

Vincent: For this year's DGR ride, I'm excited to have my son, who's turning 13 in August, riding with me as my pillion for the first time. He's been involved in fundraising efforts since he was little, so it's a special moment for us both. My goal remains the same: to raise awareness and funds for men's health while enjoying a ride through the city with fellow motorcyclists. And if I can maintain my track record as a top fundraiser, that's an added bonus. It's going to be a memorable ride, and I can't wait to make memories with my son!



Nino: Vincent, thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us. We're excited for your upcoming Distinguished Gentleman's Ride and wish you the best of luck. We eagerly await the photos of you and your son on the road. For those who wish to contribute to Vincent's ride, please consider making a donation at the following link: https://gfolk.me/vincentnicolai

Related aticles