President Bush suffered abrasions on his face, knees and hand after falling off a mountain bike while cycling at high speed on his Texas ranch in Crawford.
The 57-year-old Republican president had cycled 16 miles of a 17-mile afternoon bike course when he toppled over while riding downhill on loose soil. He was wearing a helmet and mouth guard.
“He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, his nose, right hand and both knees,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters. “You know this president, he likes to go all-out. … Suffice to say he wasn’t whistling show tunes.”
Bush left Crawford shortly after the bike mishap for Austin, where he was attending a party for his daughter, Jenna, who graduated from the University of Texas earlier in the day.
When he arrived in Austin, Bush was not wearing any bandages, although scrapes were visible on his right temple and on his chin.
That’s the way he will appear before the nation in a prime-time speech on the crisis in Iraq.
The president, smiling and looking relaxed, paused for photographers as he got off the helicopter before heading to a local restaurant to celebrate his daughter Jenna’s graduation.
The president, who has publicly complained about having to cut back on running because of a sore right knee, took up mountain-biking as an exercise alternative, aides have said. Bush had a knee examination last December that showed wear and tear to the joint.
Bush’s rival in this year’s presidential election, Democratic candidate John Kerry, who fell off a bicycle and grazed his hand earlier this month, officially wished the president well after learning of Saturday’s spill.
“I hope he’s OK,” said the 60-year-old Massachusetts senator, who took a bike ride in Boston on Saturday but managed to stay upright.
Unofficially, however, according to the DrudgeReport, reporters were debating whether another Kerry comment about the spill should be considered off the record.
Kerry reportedly said, when told the president had fallen off his bike: “Did the training wheels fall off?”
Ironically, Kerry himself fell from his own bike earlier this month during a ride with Secret Service agents through Concord, Mass. The Democrat took a spill when he hit a patch of sand, and was uninjured.