Stories

Lessons Shared by Well-Worn Cycling Gear

January 4, 2020

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Lessons Shared by Well-Worn Cycling Gear

“It’s a scarcity mindset. A tenaciously sticky viewpoint that’s easy to pick up, but often difficult to put down.”

Well-used gear.

Dutiful tools, always ready and willing whenever their owner demands. Waiting for their next opportunity to show up, put in the time and effort, and persevere through wear and tear. Pulling together, each playing their part.

  • A well-loved bicycle frame—each scrape, ding, and dent with its own story to share.
  • Tires, bald it the middle after rolling thousands of miles.
  • A bike saddle, worn bare, having spent days upon days underneath its owner’s derriere.
  • Handlebar tape, permanently imprinted on top, as if the rider’s hands were still in place.
  • Gloves, tattered and faded, with flattened pads and Velcro separating from each wrist strap.
  • Color-faded jerseys, elastic that lost its grip long ago, rear seams ripped into one giant pocket, allowing its contents to move about with reckless abandon.
  • Chamois, worn down to near uselessness, attached to shorts that are within a few rides of mandatory retirement.

If we’re listening, this well-loved gear whispers to us lessons about willpower, dedication — humble-bragging about the effort required by their owner to wear them down.

Tuned in, we can also hear stories with themes centered around love, care: everything required by owners to ensure their gear lasts as long as possible, defiant against repeated usage.

In this, we see the value of reciprocation. If we take care of our gear, it takes care of us.

A Beausage Perspective

Still, with the passage of enough time, we inevitably perceive even our most-beloved cycling gear as less-than. We see only what it lacks, instead of what it’s given us, and how much usefulness remains.

It’s a scarcity mindset. A tenaciously sticky viewpoint that’s easy to pick up, but often difficult to put down.

A turning point for me, though, was when I stumbled upon the term beausage years ago:

“A synthetic combination of the words beauty and usage, and describes the beauty that comes with using something.”

Urban Dictionary

In other words, “beauty by usage.”

What a beautifully simple description that can help shift our perspective, allowing us to see that this cycling gear isn’t worn out, it’s well-worn.

We gift ourselves the opportunity to honor—and learn from—the endurance it takes each piece of gear to persevere, despite repeated stress and pressure at its every junction. We respect the fact that each one earned its tattered patina.

As we grow older, may we respectfully carry with us these lessons learned from our road-weary cycling gear.

And when eternity comes knocking, may we leave behind well-worn corpses, proudly bearing our beausage to those who read our story long after we’re gone.

Before you go: share your cycling story with the world!

Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist, and is the founder of TreadBikely. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout
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