Bush Takes to Trails With Chinese Cyclists
JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Nov 20,12:26 PM ET
BEIJING - First, it was seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. On Sunday, hopefuls for China's Olympic mountain biking team got a chance to go pedal to pedal against President Bush in his sport of choice.
"Good day for a bike ride," Bush said as he walked toward the six Chinese bikers — three female and three male — at the Laoshan Olympic Mountain Bike Course. Beijing will host the 2008 Summer Olympics. "How do you say, `Take it easy on the old man?'"
After posing for pictures, Bush was given a tan, zip-up sweater with a leather "Beijing 2008" logo. And then they were off — Bush wearing loose-fitting navy bike shorts and a black windbreaker and the competition in skintight orange-and-yellow bike outfits.
Or at least Bush was.
Sunglasses, gloves and helmet on, he rode away before the other riders had even pulled their bikes off the rack. So Bush — who usually rides out of sight of reporters or cameras — made a few wide loops in front of the waiting media crowd and joked about being a showoff.
The hourlong spin around dusty trails was the second bike excursion of Bush's eight-day trip through Asia. He rode Thursday at a military base in Busan, South Korea.
About 15 minutes into the ride, the pack — with Bush at the front — emerged from around a sharp corner, riding fast down a hill on a narrow trail through scrubby, brown brush.
"Remind you of Crawford?" a reporter yelled, referring to the Texas town where Bush has a ranch. He took Armstrong for a two-hour ride there in August.
"Better than Crawford," Bush shouted back over his shoulder.
Later, the president clarified his comment.
"Compared to Crawford, this trail is a great bike trail and really difficult. It is clear I couldn't make the Chinese Olympic cycling team," he joked.