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Caring for your leather jacket
Simon de Burton discovers the right way to look after a leather jacket – whether fresh from the store or a worn-in second skin
It's steeped in the stories of the rides you've taken, the rain and shine you've been through. It keeps you warm in the cold, it gives you a second skin that makes you feel safe. It shows that you live life on two wheels, it states your style and it's always there for you, regardless of the knocks and scrapes you thank it with.
It's your leather motorcycling jacket, and it's your often-unsung friend. But even the toughest friends need a little looking after now and then – and your faithful leather should be no exception, not only because it will last a lifetime with the right tender loving care, but because it will age, dare we say it, even more gracefully than its wearer.
Belstaff takes pride in using only the finest hides to craft its motorcycle jackets, which are hand-waxed to provide a soft, supple, weather-resistant finish that means they feel perfectly broken-in and just right from the first time you throw one around your shoulders.
Most of what nature can attack a Belstaff with will be as water off a duck's back but, now and then, it's worth remembering that every minute you spare giving your leather jacket a spruce up will be rewarded 100-fold in terms of service and longevity – and all the while you'll be building up a unique burnish and patina that money just can't buy.
So after a long, hot day in the saddle, remove any dust using a soft brush. But if it's been – more typically in Britain – a long wet day in the same saddle, put your jacket in a warm (not hot) place and let it dry gently to prevent the natural oils that help to protect it from being lost to evaporation while still suspended in the moisture.
To keep it supple and to stop cracks developing in the hide, clean your jacket with a sponge dampened with cold water – again, never hot – and a simple, un-perfumed soap creating that heirloom-quality patina that will only improve as the years and miles roll by.
Do that now and again and it won't be long before you have a jacket that's not just 'yours' but a jacket that's actually 'you'. Friends will see it hanging in a bar and know you're there before they see you; fellow riders will spot it from a distance and know that the only person who can possibly be on that bike is – you; it will be ever-ready as a place to rest your head when you pull over at the side of the road to lie down and admire the view.
And if you one day graciously decide that you've arrived at the twilight of your riding days, you can bet your already-storied jacket will be eagerly received by any of your offspring who has inherited your love of two wheels.
But before you hand it over, be sure to tell them to look after it... and properly.
Click here to find leather care instructions.