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East Anglia Future 50

Biker launches 'therapeutic' new career reviving worn leathers after bad accident

PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 18 February 2019

Dean Turner of Drop Your Gear working at his first stall at the Essex Air Ambulance charity bike run in September 2018  Picture: EMILY FELGATE

Dean Turner of Drop Your Gear working at his first stall at the Essex Air Ambulance charity bike run in September 2018 Picture: EMILY FELGATE

Emily Felgate

A keen motorcyclist who didn't know whether he would be able to ride again after he was involved in a road traffic accident has launched his own business giving leathers a new lease of life.

A flyer for Dean Turner's business, Drop Your Gear  Picture: DEAN TURNERA flyer for Dean Turner's business, Drop Your Gear Picture: DEAN TURNER

Dean Turner-Hennings, 33, of Colchester, suffered a complicated wrist fracture in January 2016 after his bike was involved in a collision with a four by four vehicle at a mini roundabout.

“My own bike flew up in the air and landed on my wrist and fractured it,” he explained. He also suffered ligament and tendon damage.

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“I wasn’t sure if I would be able to ride again. The wife knows how passionate I am about bikes and she asked what I’d do if I couldn’t ride again. I’ve always found cleaning my own bike gear therapeutic whereas most bikers find it a chore.” He launched his business, Drop Your Gear, which valets, restores and re-colours motorcycle clothing, in April 2017. It has just made the finals in Best Customer Service category of the National Best New Business Awards 2019.

Finding customers wasn’t too difficult, he explained, and he is now hoping to expand his offer into zip repairs after turning away 57 clients for that task alone.

When he started, he asked friends on Facebook if any would be interested in his cleaning services and had three bookings by the end of day one. “Once I had finished their gear, I got honest feedback from them and they spread the word,” he said. Now jobs arrive from as far as Ireland and even Belgium.

Dean, who previously worked in the hospitality trade and is a former assistant manager at a restaurant in Colchester, says he is enjoying his new-found freedom and the challenges of running his own business.

“I have always been passionate about bikes and I created my own way of getting my foot in the door and making new friends and contacts,” he said. “I can work when I want, knowing that if I hit my targets during the week, I get the weekend off. Having worked in hospitality for most of my career, having a whole weekend off was extremely rare.”

He admits that working for himself can get stressful, but he has found it “so rewarding”, he said.

“I am the only person that works here currently, but with demand picking up constantly, I’ll probably need an apprentice soon. My wife Emily helps out with paperwork and bookings,” he said.

He loves giving leathers a new lease of life so customers don’t need to spend a fortune on a new set every couple of years, he said.

“You get out what you put in. It can get stressful, but is so rewarding when you get the feedback.”

Dean says he is back in the saddle, but can’t ride for as long as he used to.

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