BUSH: RIDE'EM, COWBOY!

During his monthlong departure from D.C., President Bush will cycle without the secrecy that normally surrounds his long weekend rides. The idea: to "demonstrate the importance of physical fitness," says White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

But friends who have joined the biker-in-chief say he's an aggressive cyclist. "That goddam bicycle riding he's doing is crazy stuff," says a family friend who asked not to be identified because he was discussing the president's private life. "He's got all this energy he's got to burn up." Judging by Bush's track record, that aggression borders on recklessness: last summer he flew over his handlebars, scraping his face and hands. Bush was so "fired up" about riding at the G8 summit in Gleneagles last month that he sought advice on how to handle the hilly Scottish terrain, says the family friend. (Bush crashed into a police officer.) "Got a little asphalt still embedded in my knuckles," Bush admitted last week.

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