June 9, 2006

Bush, Rasmussen conduct “bicycle diplomacy”

CAMP DAVID, Maryland (Reuters) - President Bush and Danish
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen conducted some bicycle
diplomacy on Friday, pedaling around the Camp David
presidential retreat on mountain bikes.

The competitive Bush, who is about to turn 60, promised the
ride did not constitute a race against Rasmussen, who is a lean
and fit 52.

"No, we're old," Bush told reporters after a joint news
conference with Rasmussen, before their ride. Then he corrected
himself: "One of us is old. I'm taking a lesson."

Bush has taken up mountain biking in the last few years
because running was too hard on his legs. In good physical
shape, he hits the trails hard around his Crawford, Texas,
ranch and sometimes gets scratched up.

Rasmussen, whose country is notably bicycle-friendly, said
that health experts advise daily exercise.

"So before we even start thinking about lunch, I'm looking
forward to exploring Camp David in even greater detail on bike.
It's going to be hard work; I know that. But I will do my very
best to keep up with you, Mr. President," he said.