Eyes on the Street, Presidential Campaign Edition


The Associated Press reports that Senator Barack Obama, taking a brief respite before launching his general election bid, enjoyed a bike ride with his family this weekend:

Illinois senator and his wife, Michelle, rode to a neighbor’s house
with their daughters, Malia and Sasha, on Sunday and the group then
headed out for the ride along the scenic lake shore. But the outing was
cut short by a downpour.

After the 2004 presidential campaign, in which both candidates attracted attention for riding bikes (and falling off them), it’s refreshing to see a nominee on two wheels who is neither A) biking in the woods, nor B) straddling an $8000 Serotta while clad in spandex. Obama stayed upright and apparently rode with one of his daughters in tow (none of the AP photos actually show who or what is attached to his trailer).

And who knows, a president familiar with what it’s like to ride in a city might indeed act on his pro-bike campaign rhetoric.

Photo: Associated Press

  • Great photo, but is that a crosswalk stripe and a curb? It kinda looks like he is riding on the sidewalk.

  • Trek 7000–the cheapest adult hybrid Trek makes. This morning, Chuck Schumer gave a TV interview in which he described getting a call from Obama while he [Chuck] was bicycling. Chuck said he discussed Obama’s family bike trip with him as well as other matters. So when is Hillary going to get a bike?

  • Josh

    I’m a little bit sad that Obama’s choice of bike is partially determined by the flak Kerry got for riding an expensive one. If people with a lot of money want to buy expensive bikes, good for them.

    Now, spandex, that’s unforgivable.

  • Hi Josh, where is it reported Obama’s choice of bike was partially determined by the flak over Kerry’s Serotta? I agree that it’s a free country and people should buy the bikes that most appeal to them. On the other hand, I do think it’s a nice message to send that anyone can enjoy cycling in normal clothes on an inexpensive “off-the-rack” bicycle, even a future president.

  • 987-6511

    Too bad the secret service is stuck in a Buick.

    But, after all, the great american road belongs to Buick.

  • bikenyc

    looks like back tire is flat

  • Eric

    I don’t mind Obama riding on the sidewalk between now and November if it means he’ll be a little safer.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I like that he is riding in normal cloths but was his bike (by this, I mean the frame) American made?

  • Mitch

    I like that he is riding in normal cloths but was his bike (by this, I mean the frame) American made?

    The bike comes from an American company (Trek — just up the road, in Waterloo, WI) and it was probably designed by Americans, but like most (probably all) mass-market bikes, it was built in Asia.

    If Obama insisted on riding an American frame, he’d have to ride something sleek and “elite,” like a Serrotta or the sort of Trek frame that Lance Armstrong rode. If he wants to look like an ordinary guy taking his family for a bike ride, he’s stuck with an imported model.

  • Josh

    Urbanis, I was speculating based on the way public perception influences political campaigns, not speaking based on any particular source.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    If Obama insisted on riding an American frame, he’d have to ride something sleek and “elite,” like a Serrotta or the sort of Trek frame that Lance Armstrong rode. If he wants to look like an ordinary guy taking his family for a bike ride, he’s stuck with an imported model.

    Not exactly:


    Hat tip to Andy B!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    In response to Eric Rogers’s question, what is legally acceptable for an adult with a four-year-old in a ride-on and a nine-year-old riding her own bike? What is the safest?

  • If you watch the CNN video you’ll see the little one was in a trailer while the 9 year old was on one of those trail a bike things.

  • Sorry I don’t quite know how to create a link.
    Here’s the CNN video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obeHJmmhLkc

  • Thanks for the link Stacy! Is that Michelle towing the trailer, I wonder? Or “the neighbor” we heard about?

    Angus, I don’t know about Chicago, but in NYC I think only a bicyclists

  • gecko

    bizarre dream, that obama was pulling an ice cream cart. it’s probably just a little too hot.

  • Josh

    If Obama brought me ice cream, I’d totally vote for him.

    Well, I’m going to vote for him anyway. Let me rephrase that. If McCain brought me ice cream, I’d totally vote for him. Yes, my vote is bought and sold that cheaply.

  • vnm

    Daily News sources and readers think he looked too dorky. Imagine what they’d think if he had bike shorts, bike shirt, and the full regalia.

    Obama gets a dressing down for dorkiness: Bike helmet, socks don’t go over well with fashionistas

  • Josh

    This country has way too much free time if that article got written and has already drawn 60 comments. We’re dissecting what color socks he was wearing? Seriously? Who the fuck cares?

  • ben

    a people’s leader?
    For a long time since we had a president leading the people.

    mainly they have nothing to follow.

  • dbs

    So, when is Obama coming to NYC to ride the 9th Avenue protected lane with JSK and Dr. Gehl?

    Jan Gehl for VP…
    (Hint, hint, wink, wink!)

  • dbs

    Speaking of Presidential Campaigns…can TOPP/SB start a non-partisan wiki to craft the ultimate JOB DESCRIPTION for our next USDOT secretary?

    Once we’ve all AGREED 🙂 on the attributes, we can present it to McCain and Nader and Obama, along with a short-list of folks who meet the specs.

    I’ve been working with the food policy folks to do the same: http://agriculturesecretary.pbwiki.com/
    On the Ag/Livable Cites front, I’d love to see a Secretary who believes we need more food grown locally (Zero Vehicle Miles Travelled from farm to table if possible) with petroleum-free fertilizers, and petroleum-free delivery (by shopping cart, bicycles, pedicabs.) Support for community gardens and support for the proliferation of bicycle-friendly farmers markets is key as well.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Thanks Angus (#11) for getting my back on that one. I owe you a quality American beverage.

    I think its so sad that people just accept that regular (less expensive) bikes have to be made over seas, mostly in Asia. I’m not against a global economy but the wholesale handing over our once proud manufacturing base over to Asia, is not in the longterm interest of America.

    I also find it funny that when I look at bikes or other products made by European companies, there is a very good chance that it is still made in the country where the company was founded.


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