Dubbed 'JFK the Second', Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has claimed victory in the latest US state caucus to choose a Democratic challenger to President George W Bush. Kerry is pro-Green and is now far ahead of the other five candidates and could sweep Bush from office in November's presidential election. The ultra-fit Kerry takes part in lots of sports but has impressed many with his marathon bicycle rides in tough conditions.

The next president of the United States is a…cyclist

Kerry isn’t just a 12-mile RAGBRAI rider (fellow democratic contender Howard Dean pedalled just a short distance in the famous US ride, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) he’s a long-distance specialist.

The 60-year old senator from Boston rides many charity events. In August, he finished the 110-mile Pan-Massachusetts Challenge as 37th of 3000 riders.

Senator Edward Kennedy was amazed when on one freezing winter day his friend turned up at Chez Kennedy, blue from the cold.

"It was the end of the coldest ride I have ever had," Kerry told Sports Illustrated magazine.

"It was a [charity] ride from Boston to the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport — about 80 miles or so. [Three-time Tour de France winner] Greg Lemond was riding [with us] and he said it was the worst conditions he’d seen for bicycling. But, you know, it was a challenge. I liked that. There was no way I was going to quit."

Burley’s international sales manager Val Hoyle witnessed Kerry’s stamina and doggedness at first hand:

"That day was the coldest for a charity bike ride I can remember. We were all freezing and most people, even experienced riders, didn’t finish the ride. But John Kerry was adamant he would finish, and he did. I was really impressed by that."

A soccer player (he learned of the JFK assassination whilst playing a game) and endurance windsurfer, Kerry had an operation for prostate cancer last year and his doctors put his rapid recovery down to his strength and fitness.

Kerry has cycled in the oddest of places, including down Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm during the Cold War in the 1950s, where his foreign service officer father was stationed.

Kerry’s bikes have also been sold at charity auctions, along with bikes from Greg LeMond, Michael Jordan and Robin Williams. If Kerry becomes president, the bike sold at the Celebrity Bicycle Auction in Washington D.C. last year to benefit World T.E.A.M Sports could become a valuable collector’s piece.

Kerry has been endorsed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the "Congressman on the bicycle", a noted environmentalist.

In the first 100 days of a Kerry Administration, the cycling senator will rollback President Bush’s "assault on clean air and clean water and work to strengthen our nation’s environmental laws," said Blumenauer.

“As a member of Congress dealing with the consequences of the Bush Administration everyday, the choice of a candidate for president was simple. John Kerry is one person running who is best qualified to be our President…[He] has the best record of environmental leadership, period."

Kerry has strong Green credentials. He wants to create a cleaner and greener America. In a speech given at the University of New Hampshire in October 2003, Kerry said:

"Protecting the environment isn’t just the cause of a campaign. It’s been the commitment of a lifetime.

"George W. Bush is … the kind of politician who would cut down a tree and then climb on its stump to give a speech about conservation. The difference between us and George Bush is one of vision. Where we see a pristine wilderness or a scenic coast, George Bush sees an oil field. Where we see a beautiful mountaintop, George Bush sees a strip mine. Where we see a pristine old growth forest, George Bush sees toothpicks. And where we see an opportunity to join the global community to fight global warming, George Bush sees a chance to curry favor with his buddies in the oil business.

"Under President Bush, America’s environment has become threatened, endangered, and imperiled. I’m running to keep clean the water we drink, the air we breathe, the yards and parks in which children play and laugh, and the communities in which we live. This is our commitment – and we won’t back down.

"I will be “the true environmental President,” but when I say it, its not just rhetoric – I have the record to back it up.

"As soon as I step into the Oval Office, I will transform the White House into a hub of inspiration and innovation and lead America on the great endeavor of creating a cleaner and greener nation."


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