Can I get a one-handed zipper?

Finally, we’re getting a real Texas summer, with daytime temps getting into the 100s (38+C). Not that I was looking for that kind of heat, mind you. But the really hot stuff has held off much longer than usual, and I’m grateful.

Now that it’s here, though, we still find ourselves out riding. It doesn’t take long before I start heating up, and I’m looking for relief.

Besides cold water (which doesn’t stay cold long at 100 degrees), I like to pull down my jersey’s zipper to get some air down my front.

Running unzipped on a hot Texas day.

Running unzipped on a hot Texas day.

But there’s a problem with that. On most of my jerseys, I can’t simply grab the zipper pull and give it a yank. Nothing happens.

I tug the zipper pull out from the body, but that still doesn’t work.

A sample of my jerseys. Clockwise from top left: Champion Systems, Hincapie, Sugoi, Primal. I can pull the Hincapie zipper with one hand, because of the long pull tab.

A sample of my jerseys. Clockwise from top left: Champion Systems, Hincapie, Sugoi, Primal. Only the Hincapie unzips easily.

Sometimes, it’s a project to pull down the zipper with two hands — one on the zipper, and one on the collar, tugging in the opposite direction.

Of all my jerseys, only two can be unzipped with one hand while riding — my least expensive jersey, an old cheap Nashbar thing, and my most expensive jersey, by Hincapie. The Hincapie number has a nice cloth zipper pull extension that seems to make all the difference.

A close look at the run-of-the-mill zipper on my Nashbar jersey. But it's the smoothest sliding zipper of them all.

A close look at the run-of-the-mill zipper on my Nashbar jersey. But it’s the smoothest sliding zipper of them all. The zipper pull broke off a week ago, and I can still slide the thing up and down using one hand.

The pull tab on the Hincapie zipper. I wish there were holes on my other zipper pulls so I could thread some tabs on them, too.

The pull tab on the Hincapie zipper. I wish there were holes on my other zipper pulls so I could thread some tabs on them, too.

But most of my other jerseys’ pulls don’t have a hole where I can thread some kind of longer pull extension.

Yeah, it’s a first world problem. I’ll do my best to live with it.

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6 thoughts on “Can I get a one-handed zipper?

  1. You sir have a legit complaint. Fit of the jersey seems to have something to do with it for me(you go to pull the zipper down & instead it goes away from you)I tend to wear skin tight jerseys and the zippers seem to be easier to pull up or down cause of tension. Hincapie’s pull tab on the zipper is indeed great. Castelli can have a thick plastic zipper that usually works 1 handed.

  2. I just rub a piece of Ivory soap on recalcitrant zippers. Just one rub on each side and most zippers I’ve tried it on work much more easily. It seems to lubricate the zipper and it washes out very nicely.

  3. Another odd way to get a zipper to pull one-handed is grab the corner of the jersey at the collar with one corner of mouth and pull down on zipper. Yep sounds funny and odd but this technique is one that does work especially well in the winter when you have thick gloves on and several layers and you are trying to vent. But it works the same for this time of year as well, it really is all about how the jersey fits. If you have jerseys that are more relaxzed fit then you have alot of material in the front of the jersey so bunching of the fabric occurs, if you have a more tighter/race cut type of jersey. You will have less material to bunch up when trying to zip. Give it a try

    • +1 for jeff. I do the same thing. I’ve never trusted myself to ride no hands, so, with one hand, I pull the collar to my mouth, bite, and then pull the zipper down.

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