The Zip Tie Fairy aka Lesli Cohen is the fairy godmother of the Zank SSCX Series. It is not understating it to say that this series could not happen without her. Literally. The ZSSCX is a pretty DIY deal. It is run by a small crew of great friends who love SSCX. Lesli brings so much to the races. She has helped grow the series in a way that didn’t even seem possible six years ago.
What is a Zip Tie Fairy anyway? The Zank SSCX series has always welcomed everyone to our Island of Misfit Toys. Zip ties have always been and always will be welcome at our races. Our technical director Jerry Chabot invented the zip tied SSCX. That is our story and we are sticking to it. Not everyone can bring two bikes to a cross race. Not everyone can afford two bikes, period. For some people their cross bike is their commuter bike, their race bike, and their road bike. It has to be geared for lots of reasons. So when Jerry figured out you could zip tie a SRAM shifter and virtually lock out your ability to shift it was a game changer. Our series has always been about growth. And inclusion. Setting up barriers does not grow a sport. Especially a niche sport of a niche sport.
There are a lot of ways to set a bike to one speed. The aforementioned zip tie method is the easiest. There are lots of DIY methods including tensioners, etc. Those things tend to cause more trouble than zip ties in my experience. I have done it all. I prefer a dedicated bike, because when you get rid of the derailleur the bike just rides way smoother. But if I was tasked with either zip tying or doing some DIY mash up, I would always go zip tie. The zip tie wasn’t always accepted. I get it. And the USAC officials initially had a hard time with it. But we have worked hard with them and others to make it accepted. We now use and recommend neon zip ties so officials can see them. And they are cool looking.
Next time you see Lesli give her a high five and a hug. Without her the series would be boring. She wears a tutu and wings and always brings the party to the races. I love that while we retain the competitive aspect of the series we have never lost touch with what really matters and that is having fun and growing a great community.