President Bush schlepps bike to China; rides with Chinese cycle athletes

Airforce One now has a permanent space reserved for President Bush's Trek MTB. Dubya is now on the third day of his three day Chinese state visit. He arrived in Beijing on Saturday evening and on Sunday spent time on the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course, the MTB venue for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He rode with six of China's Olympic cycle hopefuls and presented them with cycle socks emblazoned with the presidential seal.
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"Take it easy on the old man," US President George W. Bush said before he started his bike ride with six Chinese cycle athletes, three men, three women.

During the 75-minute ride the President and two biking secret service agents covered six kilometres of singletrack and ten kilometres of asphalt at the MTB course in the western suburbs of Beijing, reports the Xinhua news agency.

After the ride, Li Fuyu, one of the six hopefuls for China's Olympic mountain biking team, said:

"Mr. Bush rides really fast, on flat and hilly roads alike."

Bush told the Chinese riders he would come personally to Beijing to watch the 2008 Olympic Games.

This wasn't the first time George W. Bush has cycled in China. In 1975 he cycled around the streets of Beijing during a visit when his father, former US President George Bush, worked in Beijing as US liaison officer in China.

"I can remember how odd people thought I looked," Bush Jnr told journalists last week. "There wasn't much exposure to the West, and all of a sudden, an American starts riding a bike amongst them and it, frankly, surprised some people."

PLUS: see Matt Seaton's take on the president's bike ride:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/.../0,12271,1647964,00.html

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