Regular readers, and I know you're out there Mum, may be aware that a few years ago I acquired an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit, and that I was rather impressed with it. Those of you who missed it may find out the whole story here. And you may also remember that Scrubbers Leathers have provided a brilliant service restoring, repairing and adjusting leathers for us over the years.
Now it's six years since I got this suit, second-hand, and apart from a brief spell of enforced idleness, it's been used pretty well constantly. Rain or shine, and for the last couple of years there's been a lot more of the former it seems, in and out of town. It's been pelted with insects and the cordura outer has just enough texture to have retained quite a lot of their remains. It's been spattered with mud and God knows what else from passing (or being passed by) trucks. It's endured constant exposure to the worst atmospheric crud that London can offer. It's come in from a tough, wet ride, been hung up in the garage and left without any cleaning, drying or anything else. In short, I have treated it appallingly, just like, I suspect, you treat your all weather gear. Because that's what it's for, right? And it took it, uncomplaining, without letting me down at all. Until the zips broke. Both of them, within a week. Not broke broke, you understand - it was still usable but you needed fingers of steel to close or open the zips as the tags you pull by had broken off. Annoying.
I tried another suit for a couple of months, and though it was good it couldn't match the Aerostich for convenience. Then I remembered Damien at Scrubbers. A quick e-mail chat confirmed that he'd be able to help, and for once I was actually able to take it to him instead of posting it. A visit to his Coventry emporium is definitely an eye-opener, especially seeing the vast array of leathers he gets in and the miracles he can work on suits that, frankly, I'd just be expecting to use as a mop from the state of them. He looked at the zips, made a very sensible suggestion as to the quickest and cheapest way to repair them, and wrinkled his nose as he also suggested that he'd give them a clean.
A couple of weeks later he mailed to say they needed a bit more doing - no extra cost, but he wanted to check I was happy with it as there could be some slight stitching showing where he replaced the Velcro closure down the front. I invited him to go ahead, and a few days later went back to collect it.
Unusually, Damien had saved some of the water from cleaning the suit. Last time I saw something like that it was on the back of a lorry driven by a gentleman offering to resurface my drive. It was absolutely foul, and made me feel quite guilty - an achievement in itself - to have neglected my kit that badly, as well as asking someone to deal with it. But the upshot was that my Aerostich suit is not far short of being as clean as when it was first made. Considering that was altogether about eight years ago, and considering the hard life it has had that's little short of amazing. Add to that a trio of neatly repaired zip sliders with new tags on them and some almost undetectable extra stitching down the front holding on new velcro and the job was as good as it gets. There's no doubt in my mind that the suit is definitely cleaner than when I first got it, even after being used a few times before being photographed.
Astonishingly, since picking the suit up I've not been out in anything worse than light drizzle. But I stayed dry in that, and have no reason to doubt the suit has been properly reproofed. In fact, one of the benefits of cleaning these materials is that they are more waterproof when they're clean. Apparently it's to do with the way the material breathes and allows water to bead and run off instead of soaking in.
So now we've tried the full range of Scrubbers' services, and can only give them an unequivocal thumbs up for everything they do. Great value, great service and lovely people. What more could you ask?
Scrubbers Leathers are at www.scrubbersleathers.co.uk. Well, they would be, wouldn't they...
You can even phone them if you prefer, on 0845-260-6766