Does the US businessman and White House-hopeful Donald Trump really hate bicycles?
As we reported at the weekend, website Newsy has compiled a video in which Trump criticises the fact that US Secretary of State John Kerry fell from his bike and broke his leg during Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland earlier in the year.
Footage shows Trump saying of Kerry, “He goes into a bicycle race at 73 or 74 years old. He falls, breaks his leg. I don’t want him on a bicycle during nuclear negotiations.”
John Kerry wasn’t actually in a race, and he’s aged 71.
Trump, who is currently seeking to become the Republican presidential candidate, seems to be saying that cycling at that age is too dangerous an activity for someone involved in international negotiations.
Trump also says, “I swear to you, I will never enter a bicycle race if I’m president.”
He is currently third favourite to be the next US president with William Hill (the bookies usually get it right!) behind Democrat Hillary Clinton and fellow Republican Marco Rubio.
Trump's comments have attracted much criticism from cyclists in social media, but Is it right to draw the conclusion that he hates bicycles? The issue provoked some lively debate on the road.cc forum.
“I'm a cyclist and a US citizen that votes, I don't believe he was insulting cyclists,” said velo-nh.
Jamminatrix said, “Trump was [implying] Kerry should not have been on a tax-payer funded cycling adventure in the middle of foreign negotiations. It was an example of the kind of nonchalant chronies that get appointed into office, who don't have USA interests at first priority, which is a huge running point of Trump’s campaign platform.”
On the other hand, ch replied, “Trump is appealing to a public who doesn't like bicycles or bicyclists. From Trump’s choice of derision butt here, we can extrapolate that if he becomes president, he will consider making a point of putting cyclists’ interests and safety last, all the while insulting and deriding cyclists, to gain a margin of popularity for himself.”
Back in 1989 and 1990, Donald Trump was backing bike racing as a business concern, sponsoring the Tour de Trump in the US.
“I really look to the future, I always do, with investments, with deals, with events, with anything, and I think this is an event that can be tremendous in the future, and it can really very much rival the Tour de France,” said Trump in an NBC interview at the time.
When asked why he didn’t drop the name Tour de Trump in favour of the Tour of the USA or the Tour of New England, Trump said, “I would have almost preferred if we could have done without [the Trump name] but somehow now it has been almost received beautifully, it has been so successful and so nice and the coverage of it has been so fantastic. A lot of the racers came actually because of the name.”
The interviewer asked Trump where he thought the Tour de Trump would be in 10 years.
“I think that with a little maturity, with a little time, with a little effort… we’ll make this the equivalent of the Tour de France.”
Clearly, that didn’t happen. Trump was also asked about the last time he rode a bike.
“That was many, many years ago,” he said. “The whole look of bikes are much different today. I looked at some of the racing bikes today and I said, ‘Is this a bike?’. It looked more like a rocket ship. I would say [I last rode a bicycle] when I was seven or eight years old.”
Of course, with this interview a quarter of a century ago, there’s a possibility that Trump might have ridden a bike since then, although it seems highly unlikely.
Interestingly, the NBC interviewer also asks whether Trump thinks he’ll be involved in politics in the future.
“I don’t see myself as a politician,” he says. “I like to tell the truth and I’m not sure that a great politician can always tell the truth.”
Should US presidents cycle?
Current US President Barack Obama has been photographed cycling with his family in the past and George W Bush regularly cycled while in office.
Bush actually came off his bike in the grounds of a Scottish hotel hosting the G8 summit back in 2005.
"The US president suffered scrapes on his hands and arms and was treated by a White House doctor, his spokesman said," according to a BBC report at the time (this was at a time before road.cc existed).
"The Scottish police officer, on security duty, was sent to hospital to be treated for a minor ankle injury.
"Mr Bush, celebrating his 59th birthday, was said to be going at a 'pretty good speed' when he fell from his bike."
Does Donald Trump have a point? Is there any reason why a major politician shouldn't cycle while in office? Let us know what you think.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.