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Monday, June 9, 2008

Who Wears Jeans and a Polo on a Bicycle?

posted by on June 9 at 9:45 AM

Why that would be the new Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, biking in Chicago over the weekend:


Via everywhere, including Wonkette, which sees this as “grim evidence that Barack really is half whitey.”

Mike Allen points out, in Obama’s defense, that the current president has been known to wear socks and Crocs. True enough.

Myself, I can’t get over that rear fender—that’s not the “dirt off your shoulders” Obama we once knew! FENDER UPDATE: Some commenters and Slog tippers believe it’s not a fender, but rather a hitch for pulling one of his daughters’ bikes. In which case: Awww.

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Just look at that fucking douchebag.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 9, 2008 9:48 AM

That bike doesn't fit him. Seat's way too low, and he can barely reach the bars.

Posted by Fnarf | June 9, 2008 9:50 AM

"...And your little dog, too!"

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 9, 2008 9:50 AM

High-waisted Mom jeans? Oh, 'Bama, don't!

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | June 9, 2008 9:51 AM

Actually, I believe that is an extension for a trailer or seat for his daughter. And wonkette is an asshole, I wouldn't read her if you paid me. Please don't pay attention to her.

Posted by P to the J | June 9, 2008 9:51 AM

Let's all make fun of his pants!

Posted by Porkchop Sandwiches! | June 9, 2008 9:52 AM

Most Idiotic Post of the Week comes pretty early this time around.

Posted by levide | June 9, 2008 9:53 AM

That bike looks very comfy; most dirt bikes and racing bikes you see around Seattle cause elbow and back problems over time. Touring style, with mud fender, is the way to go--it's the kind of bike people who live in sensible bike cultures like the Netherlands and Denmark use.

Posted by Simac | June 9, 2008 9:54 AM

And yes, Obama is half Caucasian, and guess what? It's not a big deal. wonkette is still an asshole.

Posted by P to the J | June 9, 2008 9:54 AM

That's pretty adorably dorky, really.

Posted by Doctor Memory | June 9, 2008 9:56 AM

Obama, like everyone else, contains multitudes. Given his ethnic background, perhaps even more than most. Besides, isn't the conventional wisdom that Obama's success depends on him not coming off too black (whatever the hell that means)?

Posted by shub-negrorath | June 9, 2008 9:56 AM

Thank God we have this instead of photos of Hillary in jeans.

Posted by elenchos | June 9, 2008 9:58 AM

It looks from the shadow like he's got a daughter in a trailer behind him. It's a bit dishonest to crop off that part of the picture... changes a "devoted dad" photo into a "dorky guy out for bike ride" photo.

Posted by giantladysquirrels | June 9, 2008 9:59 AM

...And the endless dissection of minutiae continues. I wonder what his choice of pants says about his foreign policy priorities? Maybe they have an analysis posted on gofugyourself. If not, I'm sure they will by noon.

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 9, 2008 9:59 AM

Is he crashing and busting his face? No.

Is he choking on a pretzel? No.

End of story.

Posted by w7ngman | June 9, 2008 9:59 AM

"Who Wears Jeans and a Polo on a Bicycle?"

Any bike rider in any country where riding a bike is considered a normal mode of transportation.

The American (Seattle?) obsession with dressing up like your going to be riding in the Tour de France for a trip to the corner store is hilarious.

Posted by deeplennon | June 9, 2008 10:01 AM

Kay, what exactly is wrong with jeans and a polo shirt? Even one with the little alligator on it?

Posted by Greg | June 9, 2008 10:02 AM

@5 is right, that "rear fender" is the front pole of a bicycle trailer.

And in answer to the headline question: People bound for destinations where jeans are acceptable but shorts or more athletic attire would be inappropriate.  You know, people who use bicycles for transportation.

Posted by lostboy | June 9, 2008 10:02 AM

That's seriously unsexy...

Posted by michael strangeways | June 9, 2008 10:05 AM

I agree with the above suggestion that his bike is not fitted properly. Regardless of your preference for drop handlebars or flat handlebars; a good fit is important.

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | June 9, 2008 10:05 AM

@12 What a sexist and ageist and sizist thing for me to say. I couldn't help myself. I should be ashamed.

@16 Is right. I hate bikewear. Marble bags are the worst. I always ride in normal clothes.

Posted by elenchos | June 9, 2008 10:08 AM

dirt of your shoulder? dirt OF your shoulder?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 9, 2008 10:10 AM

What an elitist! He should be paying $4.50 a gallon like the rest of us!

And yeah, doesn't he know his knee should be almost fully extended when the pedal is at the bottom? For someone so high on his horse, he should know how to raise the seat a few inches!

Posted by Ziggity | June 9, 2008 10:11 AM

Maybe it was laundry day? Please god let it be laundry day....

Posted by catnextdoor | June 9, 2008 10:11 AM

Awwww. So cute!

Posted by tiffany | June 9, 2008 10:12 AM

@16 - Hahaha! Absolutely right! I have a co-worker who rides to work every day dressed head to toe in so much "authentic" pro cycling gear that it makes him look like an anorexic clown.

Posted by Hernandez | June 9, 2008 10:15 AM

It's so much better when our presidential hopefuls drive around in large SUV motorcades to show the world that terrorists can't scare us away from using oil as we see fit.

Posted by Jesse | June 9, 2008 10:16 AM

If gas keeps going up in price, we'll all be riding bikes by election time.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | June 9, 2008 10:16 AM

Michelle and the two girls are seriously embarassed by this....seriously...

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | June 9, 2008 10:21 AM

I wonder what Mccain wears when he goes out with his walker? or does he tool around on one of those motorized scooters? beep beep, out of the way of the presumptive nominee!

Posted by Sad Comment | June 9, 2008 10:22 AM

Fred 08!

+1 on bad bike fit, but wearing regular clothes on a bike is a good thing. Spandex is for racing.

Posted by pox | June 9, 2008 10:32 AM

You'd almost think he was a dad who had two girls and a wife ...

Oh, wait, he does.

No fake mountain biking for Obama. This ain't Bush III ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 9, 2008 10:33 AM

@16 correct.

Most Americans wear jeans and a polo frequently. Not spandex, goretex, funny looking rain hats and "hiking shorts" and sunglasses, just to tool around town or take a walk or ride a bike. Unlike us in Seattle.

Meanwhile.....Barry's on TV right now showing more of the more-than-normal multitudes that he contains by virtue of his racial makeup.......talking about his new stimulus package.

Hmmm, when he gets wonky there isn't the usual soaring oratory.....he's pretty good but hard to make any list of policy proposals soar. Good for him he's campaigning in NC.

Posted by PC | June 9, 2008 10:39 AM

The man is leading by example. It's a sensible city bike with an upright riding position suitable for a middle-aged dude, clearly trailing a child behind. Burns no gas and keeps him looking trim and fit at 46 years old. We should all be so "uncool." (And it's okay with me if he uses some of my money to get a proper bike fitting.)

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 9, 2008 10:41 AM

He's going to get his pants caught in his chain. Where are his advisers with a pant leg cuff?

Posted by the man who couldn't blog | June 9, 2008 10:43 AM

To understand why Obama would wear such a thing, you have to understand the neighborhood where he lives, where I live right now.

Hyde Park is the home of THE dorkiest (and most beautiful) University I've ever had the pleasure of walking through. The University of Chicago is the depository of every kid who spent their childhood reading math books for fun, playing D&D (and Magic, and video games), watching the History Channel, got poked fun of for wearing glasses. One roommate plays showtunes (rather brilliantly) on the keyboard in our living room. The other roommate draws rather funny comics and hosts weekly games of D&D that last for no less than six hours a session. Since I've lived here, I've dated a crossword puzzle champion, a writer, a computer science geek, and an actor.

This is the school of the socially awkward. The houses sell t-shirts that say things like "Where the squirrels are prettier than the girls", "Where the squirrels are more aggressive than the guys", "If I wanted an A, I would have gone to Harvard", and my favorite, "Pinch me, slap me, make me read the Odyssey". David Bevington, the world's foremost Shakespearian scholar, is teaching here right now. This is the school that is home to the World's Largest Scavenger Hunt (some of the highlights this year involved a working monowheel, forging a real sword, and a comic involving how Dagwood Splits the Atom). Unlike most college campuses, it's harder to find a guy who will sell you pot than it is to find anti-depressants. Don't get me wrong-the kids at the University of Chicago like to party, too. We just do it in dorkier ways than normal people-like drinking beer on the roof of a house that once belonged to a former professor who won the Nobel Prize for Physics. I've never felt more at home than I have living in Hyde Park.

Oh. Obama also taught at the University of Chicago, which for anyone who has spent ANY time on campus with the kids who go here, would know that explains everything.

In short:
Obama taught at a dorky university located in a dorky neighborhood, his wardrobe reflects that, and I love him even more for it. :)

Posted by Jennifer in Chicago | June 9, 2008 10:43 AM

This is way less disconcerting than that picture of John Kerry hunting.

Posted by Mahtli69 | June 9, 2008 10:45 AM

Tucked in or left out, there's no belly on that guy.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 9, 2008 10:50 AM

@ 30 ftw!

Posted by tiffany | June 9, 2008 10:56 AM

He has to dress like that. If he gets photographed wearing bike shorts and a jersey it'll get used to hammer him as a "wierdo" by the right wing press - just like that photo of Kerry windsurfing was used over and over as evidence that Kerry was strange.

From now until November 10th Obama must be seen to be completely normal, doing and wearing nothing even slightly out of the ordinary.

Posted by sdstarr | June 9, 2008 10:58 AM

Holy crap, this picture is so my dad. And I love my dad; he's aweseome. So yay Obama! Dork out with your...uh...polo shirt out...and by out I mean tucked in to your jeans.

Is this actually an issue on the interwebs? Because that would be doubleplus retarded.

Posted by bearseatbeats | June 9, 2008 11:01 AM

oh god, this is his windsurfing nation photo isn't it?

Posted by josh | June 9, 2008 11:17 AM

News for Dan Savages war: for more info see his Oct. 2002 article calling for war on Iraq.

Newsweek: Soldiers Turning To Self-Harm To Avoid Going Back To Iraq

Army suicides rose last year, Pentagon says
115 troops killed themselves in 2007, the most since at least 1980

Posted by Jingo Dan! He be bad! | June 9, 2008 11:25 AM

get off the sidewalk!

he does look really white, though. happy now, appalachians?

Posted by max solomon | June 9, 2008 11:44 AM

I had a dream where barack obama was my boyfriend, and we went to this cheesy community dance at a local gym. Neither of us had any idea how to dance, so we just sort of hobbled around the room. Afterwards, the town elders told us that if he is to be president we must really learn to dance.

Then we went and got a massive meal of shellfish in broth. mmm...

Posted by ams | June 9, 2008 11:47 AM

"I don't like what Obama's wearing in this photo. Therefore, I'm voting for McCain."

Posted by Bub | June 9, 2008 12:37 PM

@13- I don't think it's "dishonest" to crop his kid out of the photo- it's probably just respect for keeping his kids out of the media blitz as much as possible. I thought it was self-evident that he's pulling a kiddy tandem.

also, yeah, his bike doesn't fit.

and.... I am really curious about the legality of bikes on the sidewalk where Obama lives.

Posted by clausti | June 9, 2008 12:38 PM

Nr. 16 has it covered.

However, this has to look off to both Lycra-encased American cyclists and casual-Friday-attired European cyclists. People over here are so devil-may-care about their personal safety while biking that they never wear helmets while tooling around their neighborhood, and like to steer one-handed with a cigarette or cell phone in their other hand.

I'd say Barack has the best of both worlds going, here.

Posted by k | June 9, 2008 12:41 PM

Why doesn't he ever ride by my house? It's only about 5 blocks away!!

Posted by UofC | June 9, 2008 12:46 PM

He's really also powering through that blind corner without so much as his hand on the brake. Clearly unfit to be president.

He has a chain guard though, so his pants shouldn't get caught.

His seat is maybe a little low, but how can you really tell since neither of his legs are fully extended? It looks like when the pedal reaches the bottom he would be pretty reasonably extended.

Posted by w7ngman | June 9, 2008 12:52 PM
Sec. 11-1512. Bicycles on sidewalks.

(a) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian. (b) A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices. (c) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

He appears to be OK there. Of course, riding on the sidewalk is for pansies and/or French people.

Posted by w7ngman | June 9, 2008 12:54 PM

I am someone who would rather be caught dead than ever voluntarily wear a polo shirt(they are the mullet of clothing, after all), I guess we should be relieved this is even an issue. While I'd like to create threads mocking the ridiculousness of G.W. Bush's aesthetic blunders like driving around with a Scottish Terrier in the back of a truck I was too busy paying attention to the monumental ruin he was bringing to the country, and the international community for that matter.

Moreover, I actually commute or run errands via bike sometimes, and quite often I'm wearing jeans. Not everyone needs to drop a grip at REI and dress like Lance fucking Armstrong to take a leisurely ride or run errands - that's akin to having to drive a 4x4 in the 'burbs for grocery runs.

Posted by Wackistan | June 9, 2008 1:10 PM

@49: I KNOW. I recognize some of the landmarks in the photos. Why can't he ride down my street? Where abouts do you live? I can almost see CVS from my building.

Posted by Jennifer in Chicago | June 9, 2008 1:12 PM

@50, you can see by simple geometry that when his foot is at the bottom of the cycle his leg is still going to be quite bent. You can also see that if his seat was high enough, he wouldn't be able to reach the bars without bending way over. This bike is simply too small for him; he's a tall man, and he needs a larger frame with a long seat post and handlebar post.

Posted by Fnarf | June 9, 2008 1:37 PM

@32 Will, I completely agree that Bush is a humongous puss-oozing asshole, but the mountain-biking thing is for real. The dude's apparently dropping his secret service detail all the time 'cause the 25-year-olds can't keep up with him. And while he clearly isn't on the ball enough to eat pretzels, any serious mountain-biker who hasn't smashed themselves up a couple of times is a pussy. We all would've been a lot better off if he'd been guiding at Moab as a career.

BTW, my other favorite closet athlete politico story -- Janet Reno. She was a kick-ass paddler who used to kayak the gnarl at Great Falls for fun. Her's was purportedly one of the *worst* security details in the Justice Dept unless you were competent in class 5 rapids. She helped save one of her own bodyguards from drowning at least once.

Posted by More Bikes, Less Bombs | June 9, 2008 1:49 PM

Fewer bombs. More bikes, fewer bombs.

Please make a note of it.

Posted by elenchos | June 9, 2008 2:09 PM


Who among us DIDN'T date a writer and an actor in college? You don't have to go to UofC to make those mistakes.

Posted by giantladysquirrels | June 9, 2008 2:20 PM

What to wear on a bike: WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY WEARING. Point, Obama.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | June 9, 2008 2:29 PM

I think it' just fine that he dresses that way. I typically wear jeans when I ride. Normal looking people on bikes is what we need to get used to seeing. The only thing I don't like is that he wore a helmet. Let's get away from people having to geek out just to ride from some place to another. Besides, we really don't want our presidents getting too carried away with their hobbies. Think Bush on his mountain bike with Secret Service riding along, multiple SUV's in pursuit, with helicopters overhead, just so he can go mountain biking. That to me is ridiculous. Some guy on a hybrid bike with jeans and a polo represents a bright future.

Brad Hawkins
avid cycler

Posted by brad | June 9, 2008 2:32 PM

Did you consider that perhaps he is wearing what is appropriate for where he is going, rather than for the bike ride itself? Perhaps he is not exercising, but rather saving gas.

Posted by Stella | June 9, 2008 2:34 PM

You're making fun of him for wearing a helmet? You consider wearing a helment "geeking out?" Are you one of those bike messenger posers who only carries around a messenger bag so you can take tall boys of PBR with you?

Posted by w7ngman | June 9, 2008 3:36 PM

Does this mean he's gonna lose the Lycrabutt vote?

I think it's OK to ride on the sidewalk when you're hauling your kids, or when you're riding along with your little kids. Now I wonder if the trailer is the kind where the kid can practice pedaling.

Posted by speed racer | June 9, 2008 3:59 PM

God. What a dork. It'll be like voting for the nerdy kid you used to knock off his nerdy bike and kick.

Posted by Bob | June 9, 2008 6:25 PM

At least he's smart enough to wear a helmet!

Posted by Joe | June 9, 2008 8:11 PM

At least he's smart enough to wear a helmet!

Posted by Joe | June 9, 2008 8:12 PM

Is America really ready for a president with such long femur bones?

@44, no, this will not satisfy Appalachians.

1) he's wearing a helmet, which they consider faggy

2) he's riding a bicycle, which they consider faggy. Bicycles are toys for children! And faggy guys. (Except W.)

3) they ride ATV's and other gas-powered devices, but heaven forbid they pedal

Hmmm... that could be the John-Kerry-hunting picture for Obama... him on an ATV flingin' mud, yelling yeehaw.

Maybe Jim Webb as VP candidate could take care of that photo op for him?

Posted by CP | June 9, 2008 10:43 PM

Aw. . . I heart dorks. I really do.

Is that a braided leather belt he's wearing with those jeans?

Awwwwww. . .

Posted by violet_dagrinder | June 10, 2008 10:26 AM

I guess people in the Midwest wear shit like that?! I doubt this man is black at all. He has no sense of style and he can't dance! What happened to my first Black candidate for president.

Posted by DanB | June 10, 2008 12:13 PM

This is right before he gets into the Urkel-mobile.

"Did I do that?"

Whatever. As long as it makes you other race-baiting sh*theads comfortable with voting for someone who reminds you more of Tiger Woods than Malcolm Shabazz.

- dB

Posted by dB | June 10, 2008 1:15 PM

I thought Obama was a cool black man. Now I'm not going to bother voting for him. It would be just like voting for another white nerdy old man.

Posted by John | June 10, 2008 4:35 PM

He Stole the Bike, thus, making him more black

Posted by Dennis | June 10, 2008 5:57 PM

He Stole the Bike, thus, making him more black

Posted by Dennis | June 10, 2008 5:57 PM

He Stole the Bike, thus, making him more black

Posted by Dennis | June 10, 2008 5:57 PM

Looks like a big dork

Posted by Dude | June 10, 2008 6:06 PM

White people are all trash

Posted by BigBlack | June 10, 2008 6:09 PM

this guy's supposed to run the country and what he wears when he rides his bike is what everyone's talking about? geeez we were are all gonna die

Posted by daniel walker | June 10, 2008 7:29 PM

The Anti-Christ riding a bike?

Posted by Truthsayer | June 10, 2008 8:38 PM

The rest of the world hates you people because you pay attention to stupid shit like this while they die at the hands of your govt IN YOUR NAME. Go ahead again and wonder why 911 would happen to you oblivious people. So oblivious, your own puppet govt (run by the worlds power elite) could kill its own people, live on tv, right in front of your eyes and you STILL believe what the media(owned by those same murdurers)tells you. You better wake your dumb asses up before it is too late for all of us.

Posted by US CITIZEN | June 10, 2008 8:41 PM

@78 - How's the weather in Kentucky?

Posted by howard | June 11, 2008 9:41 AM

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