August 6, 2004 – Cyclists from Texas and Massachusetts are in the news, and we’re not talking about the rivalry between Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton.
President George Bush’s new-found enthusiasm for off-road riding has been a top story recently in the national media. And he’s not the only presidential candidate who rides. Senator John Kerry’s primary outdoor exercise is bicycling – both road riding and occasionally mountain biking – and the press has taken notice.
“The fact that both presidential candidates are avid cyclists is great news for our sport,” said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). “IMBA is recognizing this by enrolling both candidates as honorary IMBA members and by making sure both campaigns understand our priorities.”
Knee pain motivated President Bush to start mountain biking and now he’s hooked on the sport. Long rides on his Texas ranch and at Camp David in Maryland are a highlight of his regular schedule. Senator Kerry has been photographed riding his road bike, but he’s also known to pedal dirt trails near Sun Valley, Idaho.
Suddenly, cycling is giving the campaign an interesting spin. Whether it is wire service stories, evening news highlights or Jay Leno jokes, our sport is gaining valuable exposure.
Media coverage hit a peak with the Sunday, Aug. 1 edition of the New York Times. A feature article entitled “Culture Wars, on Two Wheels” appeared on page four of the Week in Review section. The article compared the candidates by contrasting their riding styles using traditional mountain biker versus road rider stereotypes. IMBA’s Blumenthal is quoted throughout the story.
No matter who you are voting for in this year’s election, it’s good to know that both candidates appreciate sweet singletrack!