Bush offered a glimpse of his new pastime to an Associated Press reporter Monday, roaming the dirt roads and far-flung pastures of his 1,600-acre ranch. About halfway through, he sailed over the handlebars during a dangerous descent, but dusted himself off, picked up his $3,100 bicycle and kept riding.
Bush, who was wearing a helmet and a mouth guard, escaped injury other than a small cut on his knee. But he conceded he was a little shaken up, riding tentatively as he descended the rest of the downhill.
Crashing is a routine part of mountain biking, a sport in which riders roll over loose dirt, rocks and other obstacles. Nevertheless, the president said, it's easier on his body than jogging, which was grinding his knees.
"This is like running except I don't feel bad afterward," he said Monday after burning about 1,200 calories over an 18-mile ride that lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
"You can cover a lot more, and you can go very fast on a bike," Bush said. Most important, he gets his heart rate up. "At my age, you're more concerned about the cardiovascular" benefits of a workout, the 58-year-old president said.
Would it be too much to use a stationary bike and get briefed by Condi Rice on Al Qaeda counterterrorism efforts? Oh, right...
"You can go very fast on a bike." This is an observation we can expect from My Pet Goat.
And what's all this yakking about cardiovascular benefits?