Bike Riding With Bush Gives White House Reporters New Perspective on President

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By: E&P Staff

Surely the comic highlight of President George W. Bush’s mountain bike ride with seven journalists at his ranch this weekend occurred when USA Today writer Sal Ruibal stopped at a tree and urinated.

“Ruibal, don’t worry,? the president said, maintaining his ?regular guy? demeanor. ?The last one that peed there was a cow.”

According to participants, Bush had opened his latest 17-mile, two-hour, trek with what comedian Bill Maher might call ?New Rules?– principally that no one would be allowed to pass him on the trail.

The president’s biking shorts still showed tears from last month’s collision in Scotland. He took up biking last year when his knees said no to jogging. He did not fall on Saturday but some of his journalist guests did.

“It brings out the child in you,” he said, according to Bill Adair of the St. Petersburg Times. “I think it’s okay for a 59-year-old guy to still seek that youth, chase that fountain of youth. And I hope to be mountain biking for a long time.” While riding he listens to country music on his iPod.

Saturday’s ride also included two Secret Service agents.

A few miles from where he rode, antiwar activists were demanding that he speak with Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war. ?I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say,” he said, according to Ruibal. “But it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.

“The people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. …”

This past May, Bush drew criticism when a bike ride in Maryland prevented him from immediately learning about an evacuation of the Capitol, and his wife from the White House, when a plane strayed into Washington, D.C. air space.

Next up for the president: bike riding with Lance Armstrong this coming weekend.

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