The Hands of Time and Leather


There was a time when things were handmade and built to last, and when you held quality in your hand and you could feel it. We’ve strayed far from quality and caring to somehow accepting a short life expectancy from what we purchase – so much for passing it on to our kids.


As a kid growing up I was fascinated by my fathers watch. Something he wore daily, and that rare moment when he was standing still, I would look it over. It wasn’t anything special, but I remember looking at it and thinking how old it seemed even then. It was worn and hard to read but the best way to describe it is to say that this watch my father so dutifully wore was standing the test of time. It must have been a faithful watch, keeping the best of time or my dad wouldn’t have worn it. To this day, I still catch myself looking at my fathers watch.

What once was a land of handmade, no-two-the-same, can’t buy it just anywhere products – we’ve digressed into a mass-produced, everyone has it environment. But it’s not the artisans fault. What’s the old saying? Oh yeah, something about you get what you pay for. The hands that crafted have grown tired and retired and have been replaced with machines that have no creativity, no pride or heart.

So it was March of 2012 when I received an email from Stephen Berner. He was contacting me to write a blog for his website, and after checking it out, I wasn’t sure what I was writing was good enough. I was completely blown away by Steve’s angle on the American V-twin lifestyle and all that surrounds it, and me being a small town guy who can’t seem to get out of said small town, had doubts on my abilities. But he believed in me and there was nothing to say but “yes, I’ll do it.”

I’ve learned a lot from Steve. Without knowing, he pushed me to be more creative. He gave me an opportunity to think beyond the city limits I’ve grown comfortable with and to try harder, think harder, and look at things from a different angle. And for that I owe him a “thank you.”

Steve has a thing about closed and long-abandoned factories where men and women not only built these factories but everything that came out of them. They took pride in what they manufactured and it showed on their dusty clothes, dirty faces and callused hands. A symbol of America that is slowly being forgotten and left to die one brick at a time. The hopes and dreams of these workers forgotten when they were carried out the front door in their lunch pails for the last time.

Steve has taken his passion and his love for quality, hand-made-in-America, to crafting it into leather. With the effort of those who have paid their dues and rightfully passing on their skills and knowledge to someone who cares enough to carry on a tradition, Steve has taken it upon himself to produce what he so believes in. Beauty. Quality. Handmade.

You can’t rush this kind of work and mistakes can’t be covered. Do it right or don’t do it at all, I say. And what’s that old saying again? Right. Get what you pay for. To pick up the tools of a trade that has almost been forgotten is admirable. Not everyone can do it, and sadly so few even want to. It can’t be easy, as it requires creativity, patience, a steady hand and the ability to see the end result before you’ve picked up a tool. Slow and deliberate, but worth it.

I suggest you check out Steve’s goods and see for yourself. Support those who take the time to do it right, right here at home, and carry with you something that will only get better with age.

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Moving Bodies and Souls – 110 Years


One-hundred and ten years is a long time in anyone’s book, especially when it comes to building motorcycles. It’s hard enough to feel passionate about anything for so long let alone beyond generations. That’s why you have enthusiasts building motorcycles for enthusiasts because nobody else can. Some dreams die with the dreamers, but in the case of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company it has kept the dream alive in all of us. In a time when wool suits were the proper riding apparel to ride your motorcycle, Harley-Davidson has been there to see the transformation of the culture and lifestyle of bikers to where it is today. Roads were being built, highways were being connected and destinations became real. What started out as a different kind of transportation 110 years ago, became a form of recreation and a lifestyle for so many. A combination of steel and style moves a nation both physically and emotionally and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles have been there through it all.

Just as any company knows, as time ticks by there are ups and downs, twists and turns, but it turns out that is the exact same thing we enthusiasts seek out when it comes to the roads we travel. It is “the ride” that gets you through it and whether it’s business or pleasure, we take the road less traveled because it is who we are and always will be. Nobody said “the ride” would be easy, but if nothing else, it has always been fun. Moving bodies and souls at the same time was probably not something the Harley and Davidson boys thought much about, but that’s how things ended up. It is Harley-Davidson that represents this country in a way that only it can and it changes you. Freedom, Pride, Emotion and American are a few things that come to mind, and we haven’t even looked at what it’s done to so many from a life-changing experience – and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles change lives. It’s brought people together and created a community around the world to the point of being a universal language – and it knocks down walls that are invisible and man-made.

Nobody said it would be easy, because easy wasn’t a concern 110 years ago. You rolled up your sleeves and you worked hard. You got your hands dirty and you brought your lunch in a pale. You were happy to be working with your hands and you didn’t think about life 100 years from then; we still don’t. But we dreamed, and we still do. And it is dreams that makes this country great, so we keep dreaming. For every road we travel down on our Harley-Davidson, someone before us has traveled that same road on their Harley-Davidson. Whether your ride in Rome Italy or Rome Wisconsin, there’s a good chance you’re not the first one there with your motorcycle. But knowing that also gives you a sense of belonging to something greater than the road traveled. It was created by men with a dream and a willingness to chase that dream on the creation before them. Just like we do today.

It has become a passion for which we have no control over. That passion is transformed into an expression of who we are, and where we are going – both in the sense of motion and emotion. To say Harley-Davidson has changed the way we put our lives into perspective would be an understatement. Some things have no explanation, and we accept that. This motorcycle has helped people through their ups and downs and the twists and turns that life has thrown at them, and it has been a member of the family that has been passed on through generations. It is a symbol and extension of our inner selves that only we know, and that only a few can understand.

So we ride. We ride like those did 110 years ago, and those that will ride when we no longer can. I’ve seen where Harley-Davidson has been, but I can’t see where this road will take us, but I guarantee it will be a great ride. Here’s to 100 more years Harley-Davidson!