For our 17th installment of the FBQ we travel to Belmont, Mass. and Peter Mooney. Peter, to my mind, is often not mentioned nearly enough when the topic turns to gorgeous, lugged, hand-crafted cycles.
Mooney's work drips with classic sophistication. Fantastic riding, detailed lugwork that says "Crouch down and look again", and paint that warrants serious Velo-Coveting. His creations are of the highest evolution. This is what Peter Mooney had to say...
1. How old are you?
2. Where were you born?
3. What's your earliest memory of a bicycle or something bicycle related?
Riding into a ditch.
4. What was your first cycle?
A blue BSA.
5. How about first "high-end" cycle?
6. Did (does) your family (parents, siblings, etc) ride also?
7. Did you like to tinker with bikes back then?
My Dad showed me how to oil a chain and fix a flat.
8. Did you ever work in a Bike Shop... if so, where/how long?
Did, I still do. I have been working in bike shops since 1969.
9. Have you ever done any organized racing?
In 1969 I also got my 1st ABLA (now USCF) license. I raced thru the 70's and on and off thru the 80's. Not in the 90's, but started doing 10 mile time trails again last year.
10. How about cyclo-touring?
Probably 6-8 trips in England + Europe lasting 5 to 10 days each, and about as many in the Northeast US.
11. What job(s) did you have before frame building and also-do you have any other job currently besides frame building?
I am a partner in Wheelworks, a Boston area bike shop.
12. When did you start building?
13. Who would you say is your greatest influence in designing & frame building?
14. Did you apprentice... if so, with who?
I worked in Ron Cooper's shop in London.
15. What's your idea of the "perfect cycle" regardless if you built it or not?
The one that makes you smile when you ride it...
16. Shooting a guess... how many frames would you say you've built?
17. Any cycles out there that you secretly wished, "Darn, I wish I'd built that!"?
18. Your idea of the perfect client?
The one who loves the 1st one so much, they buy a second.
19. What defines a nightmare client in your experience?
The one who doesn't know what they want but won't trust my advice.
20. Any words of advice to up & coming frame builders?
Don't quit your day job.
21. What do you find most funny or peculiar (in a kind way-not brutal) about the cycle-buying public... what don't they get or aren't they seeing?
People who buy (and ride) bikes are all OK with me.
22. What do you think of mass-produced bikes (without naming names)?
They are a lot better than they used to be.
23. What cycle don't you have anymore that you wished you did?
That little blue BSA.
24. What cycle do you currently ride most, even if it wasn't built by you?
I have a work bike with fenders and rack and a go fast road bike. I built them both and wouldn't be without either of them.
25. When did you last ride your bike and for how far?
To work this morning... approx. 6 miles.
26. What's your idea of the perfect ride?
I have been riding my bike in eastern Mass. for 35 years. It's quite beautiful. I just wish they'd fix the roads.
27. Could you ever see yourself being Car Free... just using mass-transportation and your bike to get around?
I find myself wanting a car 1 or 2 times a week.
28. Why do you think so many folks have romanticized bicycles & bicycling?
People romanticize about all sorts of things. Bicycles and bike history seems more worthy (at least to me ) than Zippo lighters and nickle Cokes.
29. Any (other) passions or hobbies in your life?
I like to cross country ski and hike.
30. If you could say one thing to Lance Armstrong what would it be?
31. In a pinch... McDonalds or Burger King?
32. What kind of shampoo did you last use?
Whatever my teenage daughter happens to leave in the shower.
33. Favorite libation: wine, beer or fire water?
It's all good.
34. Even though there seems to be a real tradition to it-what do you think of folks who spend more time setting up their cycle with just the right color saddle, bar tape, bags, hoods, etc than actually riding or at least commenting on the ride?
Whatever floats your boat, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.
35. Did you go to college... if so, what was your major?
36. Your favorite music while working (if any)?
Jazz, Opera, Van Morrison, NPR news.
37. If you had it to do all over again... would you be building cycles?
Yes... I still enjoy the work.
38. What's your favorite lunch food during a work day in the shop?
A ham and cheese sandwich with a cup of tea.
39. When it's all said & done-what kind of legacy will you hope to have left behind?
Fond memories for lots of crusty old bike riders.
40. How can folks get in touch with you to order a custom cycle?