Axis of Evel Knievel

AP: Bush Suffers Cuts, Bruises While Biking

President Bush suffered cuts and bruises early Saturday afternoon when he fell while mountain biking on his ranch, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

Bush was on the 16th mile of a 17-mile ride when he fell, Duffy said. He was riding with a military aide, members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr. Richard Tubb.

“He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees,” Duffy said. “Dr. Tubb, who was with him, cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride.”


Earlier this month, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry took a spill from his bicycle while riding with Secret Service agents through Concord, Mass., about 18 miles north of Boston. Kerry fell when his bike hit a patch of sand. He was not injured.

Told about Bush’s mishap, Kerry said, “I hope he’s OK. I didn’t know the president rode a bike.”

Matt Drudge has a somewhat cryptic note atop the page:

Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, ‘Did the training wheels fall off?’… Reporters are debating whether to treat it is as on or off the record… Developing…

Hardly a big deal, either way.

And what’s with these guys falling down all the time, anyway? First, Bush falls off his Sedgway. Kerry falls off his bike and down the bunny slopes while skiing. And now this? Clearly the Secret Service is going to have its hands full regardless of who wins in November.

Update: Responding to the CNN version of the story, Smash has similar thoughts, Tim Blair and Blackfive both note that Bush didn’t blame the fall on the Secret Service, and Josh Marshall wonders if the bike fall won’t become “iconic” in the way that Bush 41’s vomiting on the Japanese PM was.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Gerald Ford must be loving life right now.

  2. Rich Gardner says:

    In my biking forums everyone is questioning the “mouth guard” mentioned in the press reports. Dumbest thing we’ve seen. Who rides with a mouth guard? A helmet is a different thing.

    As for Kerry, he is actually an experienced long-distance cyclist.

    Of coure, this is no basis to vote.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I’m betting that this is one of those while lies that get told so that the president can send a message to “be safe” to the kiddies and the aid just listed all the safety equipment he could think of. I doubt Bush was even wearing a helmet if he was just riding on his ranch. Real men–especially from Texas–don’t wear a helmet while riding a bicycle unless they’re doing the Tour de France or something.

  4. La Femme Crickita says:

    Kerry fell off his bike on a level stretch that a wasn’t a challenge for a kid with training wheels. Bush was on his ranch, riding a mountain bike, and well, lets face it, Kerry just plain looks nasty in bike garb. Too bad he didn’t get a scratch…might have improved his looks.

    But Bush was doing something difficult. Kerry was doing something easy. Bush took his lumps. Kerry whined about it and when he fell off his snowboard, called the Secret Service agent an SOB and blamed him, and Bush and well, everyone except himself.

    I don’t know about you, but this indicates to be a character trend that I find interesting.

  5. Boyd says:

    Real men–especially from Texas–don’t wear a helmet while riding a bicycle unless they’re doing the Tour de France or something.

    Ahem…did I mention I’m from Texas?

    Texans are unique, go-our-own-way-and-to-hell-with-the-rest individualists, but we’re not stupid. Those of us Texans who are avid bike riders wear helmets, especially in rough terrain.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Heh. Just kidding. Although I must admit the bicycle helmet thing seems odd to me. I picture Bush’s Crawford ranch as a flat, dusty place but it’d make sense to wear a helmet if it’s a rocky terrain.

    I haven’t been on a bike in years–before it occured to anyone that protective padding would be a good idea. Once upon a time, when real men didn’t wear seatbelts, a radio humorist said “If it’s good enough for Richard Petty, it’s good enough for me.” I suppose substituting “Lance Armstrong” works pretty well, too.