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Bush rides a 29er

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In what had to be the most surreal mountain bike sales experience of their careers, Niner Bikes’ co-founders Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy spent this morning fitting a full-suspension bike for Former President George W. Bush. In a press release headlined “Niner Bikes Go Presidential,” the company announced it was offered the opportunity via a local Niner dealer, Kennebunkport Bicycle Company, in Kennebunkport, Maine. “Most of Peloton 1, Mr. Bush’s regular mountain bike crew, is on 29-inch wheels,” said Brandon Gillard, owner of the bike shop. “He asked if he could try a Niner.”

Bush, Sugai, Domahidy and the rest of the Peloton 1 crew — as well as a full complement of Secret Service people — went for a ride on the crew’s usual morning loop. “Mr. Bush is really fast,” said Domahidy, ”and a very good technical rider, too.”

Bush talking bikes with the Niner crew

The presidential uptake? Domahidy said Bush noted that on the 29er he had dropped a full three minutes off of his fastest lap time.

Said Sugai: “It is really hard to believe that just a few years ago we were showing our first frame at Sea Otter and now we are riding with a former President of the United States.”

The press release does not say if Bush bought the bike, Niner’s Jet 9 model, which is touted as a “race-ready” bike with three inches of travel. It costs $1,749. One thought: If Bush drops part of his presidential pension for the ride, is that pork or is it taxpayer dollars well spent?

—Stephen Regenold

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