Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Biking for Office

If the 3 main presidential contenders rode bicycles, which ones would they ride?

I am not a fan of political mud slinging. Debate is fine, but few people can discuss issues they hold dear and maintain a civil demeanor. Then too, winning the argument becomes more important than weighing the arguments and choosing that which is better. Sometimes, one’s own position turns out not to be so great after all. Wise people actually learn from others who know more or think in clearer terms.

It’s no different in the cycling world. We argue about frame materials, (steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber) components (campy, shimano, SRAM), sizing philosophy (small frame, large frame) and tire sizes (super skinny to plush fatties). Are you a carbon fiber diamond frame race lite wheel set with a Campy 10 speed gruppo, or are you an aluminum grip shifting Barcalounger on wheels, aka “recumbent?” I confess that I’m a lugged steel traditionalist. Give me bar ends or give me death! I only regret that I have but 32 stainless steel double butted spokes to give for my country! Well, you get the idea.

In the last election cycle we saw that George W. Bush rode a bike that was well matched to his personality: a rough shod Trek mountain bike. A brute machine with no finesse, and made in the best tradition of the heartland. It matched up well with his plain homespun can-do directness that no number of oil money millions (or having an ex-prez for a dad) could change. On the other hand, his challenger, John Kerry rode an elite Serotta; hand crafted in the exclusive Catskills of New York, befitting his New England aristocracy (a member of the Forbes clan and child of a foreign service officer) background and his billionaire heiress wife’s fortune. The cotton tennis shorts he was pictured riding in though say “Total Fred!”

What, I wonder, would Hillary, Barak and John be riding if they had bikes which matched their personal styles and backgrounds? My web research indicates that Barak does not bike, although he thinks they should be in a transportation plan. I didn’t dig up anything on Hillary or John. So this is all conjecture on my part.

Let’s put the candidates on our bikes of choice, what would they be? Here are my ideas about possible bikes for these people, not their suitability for the office they aspire to. I do notice a recurring theme about the origin of these bikes, and wonder how much influence is exerted beyond biking? Feel free to opine!

Hillary Clinton: Here’s a senator who doesn’t feel the need to be fit. Not a jogger like her husband, probably does NOT spend time in the kitchen making those famous chocolate chip cookies either. She talks a lot though, and wears yellow often. I don’t know why exactly, but the yellow thing bothers me. Maybe you have to EARN yellow if you ride a bike? She needs a bike that’s slow, easy to manage and allows for plenty of mind numbing chatter along the rail trial. She’ll never get on a road on a bike. Ever. I see her on fat tires, shocks, padded seat. Available at Wal-Mart (she was on their board of directors). Looks like a bike, won’t really work very well if you take more than a block or two. Used to be a great name in the field, now co-opted by a conglomerate and made in China, but the spin doctors try to recall the glory days (kind of like unions): Schwinn Skyliner Comfort Bike. $149.95

John McCain: Yeah he’s contemporary with King Tut, who was more a chariot guy than a cyclist, but he’s pretty darn fit. His wife is loaded with cash from a fat beer distribution fortune, but John tries to appear to keep things separate, to give more of the self made man look. He also has an eye for well made mechanical things, which is what you might expect from a pilot. His bike has to be made in America, or least sold by a company that makes SOME bikes in America. We don’t expect to see him on a silly frilly bike, so I’d put him on a Trek 2.3. Aluminum frame (from Taiwan or China) and Shimano drive train (From Japan, except what they buy out from Taiwan and China) But Lance rides Trek, so it FEELS American. It’s a well made bike and a great value. Which is how this Senator approaches things like Air Force tanker contracts and pork barrel spending. $1,699.99

Barak Obama: This guy is supposed to be a runner, not a rider. I suppose he runs in between cigarettes. Okay, he quit during the campaign, but you know the craving is still there. He showed up at a women’s race though and got his picture taken with 2 sweaty lovelies. Maybe they’ll convince him. Mrs. O might have to try it too. Barak’s lack of riding experience is akin to his lack of governing experience. He hopes for change, or something like that, and he definitely wants to be different. If you don’t agree with him, you might be a racist. Recumbent riders are a lot like that. They fanatically claim their hands shoulders and butts never hurt, and they can pedal forever. If you talk about how much better diamond frames climb and handle corners, they get super defensive. When they come to a hill which is to be climbed, the world isn’t fair. Neither is politics. We’ll put Sen. Obama on a Sun EZ-1 SX recumbent About $700.00 Made in, anyone, anyone? China.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see Hillary on a tandem bike. Give you a nickel if you can tell me who I see in the other seat (and which one of 'em would be driving!).

Obama would be on a franken-bike. He would choose a stupid-looking purple color because he would think that would help "bring people together" (you know -- a blend of red and blue). His biggest problem is that he needs training wheels.

McCain's bike would have baseball cards clothespinned to the spokes. I'm not sure why -- I just see it. He also supports unconstitutional legislation about what decals you can display on your bike.

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