KQV-AM 1410 news anchor PJ Maloney, 69 was among the first voices on the radio on that first day they switched from playing Top 40 hits to the current all-news format in 1975. He co-anchors the early morning shift starting his day around 4:30. He also is a serious bike commuter riding his Trek Hybrid almost every day to work from his home in Shady Side to downtown. We had a little chat about transit strikes, 30 year-old Chevys and gravy.
What started you riding your bike to work?
I’ve loved riding a bike all of my life. In 2008 they were talking about a transit strike and I live in Shady Side and normally I would take the bus in and I thought “man, if they go on strike I’m going to have to pay $20 a day or something like that to park my car downtown. I’m going to get a bike. So, I went out and bought myself a Trek.
Do you ride every day?
I ride almost every day the only exception is if it’s actually snowing or raining—I don’t. Otherwise the cold doesn’t bother me. I can be as cold as it can get and that doesn’t bother me. But, I don’t like to ride in the rain or the snow or when the streets are slushy or icy.
So, the transit strike prompted you to ride not some health reason?
The main reason was the possibility of a transit strike, which never happened by the way but I had also gained some extra weight. I was in the mid 190s when I started riding the bike and I started loosing weight almost immediately. So I’m pretty much where I want to be somewhere about 175. So, yeah that’s a big incentive for me. But, my main incentive now is that I just like riding a bike. If I don’t ride my bike in the morning…well, something’s wrong. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins if you get addicted to that. But, if I don’t ride my bike I’m not in the mainstream.
Do you own a car?
My wife has a car and she gets a brand new car every two or three years. I own a Chevy Cavalier that I bought in 1988. I just use to get around the neighborhood like if I have to go pick up a case of beer in Bloomfield.
Tell me about the route you take to work.
Mine is fairly easy. I live in Shady Side not far from Shady Side Hospital. So, it’s about five miles from there into town. (The trip home) up the hill (Liberty Avenue) is good. That is the workout and you loose a little weight and I go to Ritter’s afterward and have mashed potatoes and something with gravy on it. And, my wife is vegetarian so at home I’m a vegetarian but at Ritter’s I’m not.
For me it’s easy. It’s almost all bike lane. I would say to people, test it out if you want to ride your bike to work. Test it out the route. See what little shortcuts you can take. Maybe you want to take a bus halfway in depending on where you live. Or, ride in and take the bus home. I think all the buses have bike racks on the front now.