Thursday, April 25, 2013

Before There Was Lucy, There Was Zipper

Before there was Lucy there was Zipper. Way back in 1998 I got a job at the hospital. It was great, but I didn't drive and my roller blades were wearing out fast on the 6 mile commute.
My brother and Husband who was then my boyfriend and I went to a bike store to look around. I didn't have the money to get a bike and was just shopping and dreaming. I found the perfect looking one, but it was too tall and the men steered me away from it's blue faded glory toward the shorter bikes.
In the corner I saw a nice green one that I could barely climb on. The slight slope to her top tube was the only reason it worked. They looked skeptical and the shop guy looked a bit worried, but it was the smallest they had and he must have needed a sale. My brother bought me the bike on the grounds that I actually use it. It is a Trek 800 Sport and her name is Zipper.
I rode that bike nearly every day to and from work and at work she had a locker to wait for me in. Most days I loved her and the only trouble I ran into was getting on or off and stopping. I adapted to her large size and I covered her in stickers that I collect; life was good.

I kind of miss the stickers.

One day Husband was painting a motorcycle and I decided I wanted to paint Zipper. We took her apart and carefully taped up where we didn't want paint to go. There was sanding involved and I shed a few tears over the loss of the stickers, but it was worth it. She came out perfect in black with rainbow sparkle over the top. She is so beautiful. I even got her a black front basket to match.
She was the best looking bike at the hospital and I felt safe storing her in her locker so I didn't worry about it. I never rode anywhere but to work and home so I never had to lock her up outside.

A sparkly ninja bike.

Then I went to work for Sears part time. It was brief and early morning, but I had to park her in a room with other bikes. It was fine for a couple of months then one day my seat was gone. It had a quick release and even though I knew to lock both tires and the frame I had never thought to lock my seat. I was shocked that someone had messed with my bike.
I screamed and yelled and cried. I went and got security and made a huge fuss. I was like a toddler who's favorite toy was taken. There was even foot stomping and I carried on for a while. Few things are more terrifying than a 200 lb, 5'1" Betty screaming bloody murder at the world. I think they were afraid I'd hurt myself. I was so small then. I'm bigger and scarier now. Still 5'1" though.
Luckily one of the guards found my seat wedged behind a pillar, scuffed but intact. I was lucky and it was a warning shot I heeded.
I installed a bolt instead of the QR and shortly after I quit Sears and went back to the hospital full time. All was good again for a few years.

Close up of the sparkle on Zipper.

Then I decided to go to cosmetology school and quit my job. There was no way I was parking Zipper outside. She had become too precious and I was paranoid of loosing her, so I mostly caught rides to and fro. Tried the bus and that sucked and even walked it once. It was about 5 miles and that sucked.
Husband and I went to Play it Again Sports to see about getting a beater to ride. It was a lucky day because they actually had one that fit me. Still a bit tall, but not like Zipper and I could dismount easier and safer. It was a Specialized Hard Rock WSD from 1993. Blue with neon pink decals it was perfect for my needs. The man at the store even threw in a rear rack to get us out of there so he could close.
Now Zipper is in storage and rarely comes out except to have a quick wash and lube to keep her in running form. I feel a little guilty about it, and will use her inside on a trainer someday.


  1. I love Zipper's paintwork and it sounds as if she served you very well indeed. Perhaps you could ride her on days when Lucy is having a rest...

  2. That's always a good plan! She really is a beauty.