President Joe Biden gifts Boris Johnson US-built bike
The two leaders exchanged gifts in Cornwall for the G7 summit
The US president Joe Biden has gifted Boris Johnson a hand-built bike, as the leaders met in Cornwall for the G7 summit.
As the heads of the seven largest global economies gathered in the south west of England this week, the leaders of the US and the UK exchanged symbolic gifts as is traditional when politicians travel to another nation.
UK Prime Minister Johnson is famed for being a keen cyclist and has routinely been spotted riding his bike around London.
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Biden, who became US president in January 2021 after beating Donald Trump in the November election, is also a regular cyclist and was revealed to be a fan of indoor cycling with Peloton.
During their meeting in Cornwall, Biden handed Johnson a hand-built, US-made bike and helmet.
The machine was constructed by Stephen Bilenky, an award-winning bike builder based in Philadelphia, who said he was contacted by the US Department of State with a request to build a custom bike in a red, white and blue colourway, The Times newspaper reports.
Bilenky said: “It is a very modern version of an upright British roadster with a custom paint scheme with the Union Jack flag and a matching helmet.”
The bike was built by Bilenky Cycle Works, which was founded in 1983 and specialises in steel and titanium bikes.
During the exchange of gifts, Johnson gave Biden a framed photograph of an Edinburgh mural, which depicts the anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglas.
US first lady Jill Biden was given a first edition of The Apple Tree by Daphne du Maurier, while Carrie Johnson was given a leather tote bag made by military wives and a presidential silk scarf.
Earlier this year, Boris Johnson sparked a lockdown cycling debate after he was seen riding his bike seven miles away from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The Prime Minister went on a cycle in east London's Olympic Park in January, seven miles from Downing Street, with his government's rules saying exercise should only be done locally.
Johnson’s ride led to confusion as many people were unclear about exactly what “stay local” meant when it came to riding their bike, which eventually resulted in government and police issuing further clarification.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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