Monday, April 19, 2010

there's beausage, and then there's just a tear

Grant Peterson of Rivendell Bicycle Works coined a word a few years back, called "beausage". He uses the term regularly to define bike-related objects that become, in his opinion, more beautiful with age and wear.

I understand beausage, and I like it. When I was a kid I loved wearing out my sneakers before I could outgrow them -- and when I hit my growth spurts that didn't happen as often. So I would wear them hard on purpose -- skidding to a stop using the soles of my sneakers instead of using the coaster brake on my bike, or climbing up trees and sliding down the longest branches back to the ground, knowing that the sliding would scrape against the rough bark and wear out my jeans faster. There was something really cool about wearing your own clothes hard enough and long enough for them to acquire a particular shape, a faded look, a texture that said you were the only person who'd ever worn this garment or used this hammer, or whatever. After I stopped growing I was able to relax and allow the natural wear-and-tear process to just happen on its own without pushing it along.

Sometimes there's beausage, and sometimes there's just a tear that needs mending.
Case in point: my Carradice saddlebag, purchased new in 1997 and used regularly in all weather ever since. I've never re-waxed the cotton -- it was stiff when I got it -- and over the years it has faded from heavy use and exposure to sunlight and rain.
This week, the tiny hole at the corner of the bag became a tear, and I had to fix it before things got out of hand.


repair, up close

The bag still has beausage to spare. Now, it won't rip apart and leak the contents out into the street. because there's beausage, and then there's just stuff that needs mending.

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