The Ride, Issue 118
|ARLINGTON, VA - The world is made for average people. This applies to bicycles too; anyone whose height is a bit above or below average is familiar with this common problem when shopping for a new ride. When you're six-foot five inches tall, how do you find a frame that suits your body's shape? Peter Moloney rides a Surly Karate Monkey.|
"It is by far the best all-around bike that I have ridden," he says. "It's a twenty-niner, which is perfectly suited for tall people like me."
Originally from Idaho, this Arlington resident travels a regular 21 miles on his daily commute to his job as an Application Developer for the United States Senate's Sergeant at Arms.
"The DC area is beautiful at 5 a.m., there is hardly any traffic and it is still peaceful and quiet," he reports. "I leave my house in Crystal City and get on the trail system at Four Mile Run. Then I hop on the Mount Vernon Trail and head north to Memorial Bridge to cross the Potomac River."
Then he turns his wheels south to Ohio Drive, across East Potomac Park to the Jefferson Memorial, up Mall, around the Capitol building and over to Union Station. Moloney follows this route every morning that the weather allows, finding other means of transport in pouring rain or icy conditions.
A mile-counter, Moloney averages 3,500 miles a year, with a running total of 13,092 since August 2000.
First introduced to the joys of the bicycle following an impromptu childhood episode riding his brother's bike (lacking braking skills, he had to run it into a fence to stop), Moloney started commuting by bike in 1990 in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. Following a short morning commute and a full workday, this tall rider would start out for a 15 to 20 mile ride with his road bike, unless the Boise Foothills beckoned. Then, the mountain bike would be his tool of choice to ride the trails before returning home.
After moving to Washington, D.C in 1991, Moloney lived a few blocks from his job so he could walk to work. Cycling took a back seat to his personal life when he got married and had "the cutest baby girl ever." Two more children followed, and Moloney started towing his oldest to and from day care in his Burley trailer. By 2000, the kids were older and the family had moved to a house well situated for commuting, so this head of the household started riding to work daily again.
"I can't even really imagine getting into a car and driving to work every day. Commuting is so therapeutic, it gets me energized and invigorated for work in the morning," he explains. "In the afternoon, cycling burns off the day's aggravations and frustrations that have built up over the workday."
A single speed enthusiast, Moloney makes his way into our nation's capital using a 42x16 fixed gear, "but on the weekends I convert the Monkey to a single speed and head out to the trails."
This 37-year-old raced off-road for Team Snow Valley in 2003, his first year racing, and placed ninth in the local series single speed category. He plans to race a lot more this year, including getting some 24-hour races in his repertoire. Hopefully his future race days won't include a mishap like that which marred an early-season trail ride:
"I hit the first real upslope and sha-ting-tang snapity snapity. My legs are spinning faster than the Roadrunner trying to get away from Wiley E. Coyote," he narrated.
After toppling over, Moloney picked himself up, thinking his chain had snapped. But the links were still connected. So he continued on, only to find that his cog had self-destructed. And this only 100 yards from the parking lot. So he turned around and waited there for his riding buddies to return.
"What a way to start the season!"
|more supercommuters »|
Planet Bike honors the silent hero of the Revolution: the bicycle commuter. A supercommuter rides through every season, in all types of weather, day and night. Choosing the simplicity, health and pleasure of bicycling, a supercommuter isn't necessarily against automobiles. They simply prefer to ride a bike to the grocery store, to work, to a concert or the cafe.
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