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Freak’n tall bike, way beyond Safety 3rd

Sep 13 2021

Just stumbled across Michael Mooney, a tall bike freak from Asheville, NC. I know there are a bunch of tall bike freaks right here in the Bay Area but this guy takes it to another level. He is often seen riding his 6-foot bike, both around town and on the trail. What’s it like to trail ride on a tall mountain bike you ask? Well as he states: “I also have problems with the tree canopy on trails. My safety glasses are my number-one protective gear. I take limbs to the face a lot. I’m pretty good at dodging them, but sometimes I just have to take the limb to make a move.”

What really makes Mooney stand above the rest was his attempt in 2007 and 2008 at getting the World Record for the Tallest Bike. Mooney was trying to blow way past the current record set in 2005 by Canadian Scott Graham for a bike only 18ft tall. The bike Mooney attempted to ride was a whopping 44ft high!

[![Michael Mooney on his 43 foot tall bike, photo by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine](https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Tall-Bike-55_FIX-copy.jpg "Michael Mooney on his 43 foot tall bike")](https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Tall-Bike-55_FIX-copy.jpg)
Michael Mooney on his 44 foot tall bike, photo by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine
Sadly both times he fell off before he could ride it the required 100 meters to beat the previous record holder. Even though he failed two years in a row, Michael Mooney’s story needs to be shared because even with a safety line Mooney’s story gives a whole new meaning to “safety third.”

Why did he fall off the bike almost immediately when he tried in 2007?Partially because he didn’t have enough sleep.

Did he not sleep because of nerves?No, he was up until 4am finishing building the bike and only got a 2 hour nap before having to be at the festival.

That’s only part of the reason?!?The other reason was because he couldn’t pedal very well.

Why couldn’t he pedal?Because he was trying to pedal with only one foot duct-taped to the pedal.

Duct tape ?!? Why in the world would he use only one foot?Because the other leg was useless.

Useless how?Because he had just recently broke his kneecap in 4 pieces while training on his 12ft tall bike.

Yeah this guy is nuts or awesome or both—probably both.

Mooney’s first attempt in 2007:

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Mooney’s oh so close second attempt in 2008:

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There is also a video online of him training on a 12ft tall bike. More info on Michael Mooney can be found in this interview in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and this interview in Mountain Xpress.

And yes I know this is something that happened in 2008—ages in internet years—but Mooney deserves more attention for being so crazy awesome.

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