(Beijing, November 20) - Taking a break from his 40-hour whirlwind visit to China, US President George W. Bush rode his mountain bike at one of the Beijing's Olympic sites for about an hour this afternoon.
Wearing a black windbreaker and a pair of purple shorts, Bush, 59, appeared in high spirits. He concluded a course of some 16 kilometers long, including 6 kilometers of mountain path.
He was accompanied by six young Chinese cyclists who are hopeful to take part in the 2008 Olympic Games. Ma Yanping, twice Asian champion, presented to Bush a sweater with characters of Beijing 2008, and the president presented souvenirs to the accompanying Chinese riders.
Beijing organizers are preparing to build in Beijing's western suburbs the Laoshan Velodrome, a modern Olympic cycling venue which is due for completion in 2007. Cyclists will vie for 12 gold medals here in the XXIX Olympiad in August 2008.
Bush told the Chinese sportsmen that in 2008, he will come to Beijing to watch the Olympic Games. "The president wishes us excellent achievements in the Games," recalled Ma Yanping.
Bush first cycled in Beijing in 1975, when his father headed the US liaison office in the Chinese capital. He called the ride a fantastic experience.