Bicycle Culture

Cycle: Presidential Candidates Who Ride Bikes

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." John F. Kennedy

Aside from party affiliation, it's becoming harder and harder to differentiate between presidential candidates because, quite frankly, they're all talking so much we're at the point of just tuning them out. So how do we decide who to vote for?

Presidents past and the runners-up have had a long history with the bicycle, especially when it comes to their chosen method of letting off some of that energy/frustration/anxiety that only the most powerful man in the world can fathom. Here's a look at some past presidential pedalers as well as how our current crop of nominees feel about bikes.

See Also: - Cycle: Pedal Craft Speaker Grant Petersen Just Wants Cyclists to Ride Like Kids - Cycle: A List of Biking Dos and Don'ts - Five Bike Share Cities Phoenix Should Emulate

George W. Bush is a noted mountain biker, especially when it comes to riding around his Crawford, Texas ranch. Word is Bush likes to show off his ability and strength on the fat knobbies, pushing big speeds around his personal singletrack. Bush also hosts a group of wounded veterans on a 100-kilometer mountain bike ride through a Texas state park for the now annual Warrior 100.

Bush's second term opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, is also a well respected cyclist, but he prefers the paved roads over the dirt. Regularly seen riding around Washington DC on his custom Serotta. Kerry has become a big fan of the Garmin Pro Cycling Team, joining team rides starting in 2008. The senator shaves his legs and takes a pull in the paceline - he's legit.

Earlier this campaign season, when the Republican side was still duking it out over who could be the anchor of their ticket, Texas Congressman Ron Paul challenged his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls to a 25-mile bike race when he was challenged about his age by debate moderator Wolf Blitzer. Paul is an avid cyclist who regularly rides through those sticky Texas summers.

As for our current nominees vying for occupancy of the Oval Office, each candidate offers a different level of, shall we say, cycling enthusiasm.

Republican Mitt Romney is not exactly an avid cyclist. Very little evidence exists of him ever spending time on a bike aside from a clearly old photo of him riding in a business suit while in France. Romney's capital investment firm, Bain Capital, did purchase struggling bike manufacturer GT Bikes and then sold them off to Schwinn.

President Barack Obama has been known to enjoy a casual family bike ride along Lake Michigan, as he did the day after securing election back in 2008, or while on vacation in Martha's Vinyard. Sure, his biking attire can be under fairly steady ridicule, but at least he's out there pedaling, with his family, with a smile on his face.

And then there's Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico. While few folks may know Johnson or even be aware that there is a Libertarian candidate on the ballot, Johnson may be the most accomplished cyclist to ever run for the nation's highest office. Johnson is a regular competitor in the Leadville 100 (he skipped the Iowa straw poll this summer to do the race) and has completed four Ironmans. He even kicked off his campaign last fall with a six-day tour across New Hampshire while still affiliated with the Republican Party.

The Cycle Pundit Team (of one) is not sure what any of this has to do with being able to lead a nation, but at least most of these distinguished gentlemen know how to ride a bike.

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Jason Franz
Contact: Jason Franz