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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Bush wowed by mountain landscape
President Bush and Tony Blair at news conference
The president's injuries are evident on his left hand
US president George Bush has urged people to get on their bikes and tour Scotland's "beautiful" countryside.

He was speaking after crashing into a Strathclyde Police officer while riding his mountain bike on the Gleneagles Estate in Perthshire.

Mr Bush told journalists it was a "spectacular part of the world".

A spokesman for VisitScotland described it as "an impressive endorsement" and added: "It's something we would certainly echo."

The president suffered scrapes on his hands and arms and was treated by a White House doctor after the accident on Wednesday night.

The police officer, on security duty, was sent to hospital to be treated for a minor ankle injury. He is back on duty but is not available for comment.

For those of you who like to mountain bike, I would strongly suggest getting out in this beautiful countryside
George Bush

Mr Bush was said to be "flying" when the accident happened.

At the end of a news conference with Tony Blair ahead of the first G8 session at Gleneagles, Mr Bush was asked how he felt.

He replied: "Great, ready to go for another ride. I talked to the policeman last night. He's doing fine. Less worried about myself and more worried about him.

"It just goes to show that I should act my age. By the way, when you ride hard on a mountain bike, sometimes you fall. Otherwise you're not riding hard.

'Slick pavement'

"The pavement was slick and the bike came out from underneath me just like that person on the Tour de France the other day. I think I've found my limitations."

The American cyclist David Zabriskie crashed while wearing the Tour leader's yellow jersey on Tuesday. "He's a lot better bike rider than I am," Mr Bush quipped.

Then he urged the media: "For those of you who like to mountain bike, I would strongly suggest getting out in this beautiful countryside. It's a spectacular part of the world... just be careful on the finish line."

'Fantastic facilities'

A VisitScotland spokesman said: "It's quite an impressive endorsement from one of the most powerful men in the world.

"Scotland has fantastic facilities for mountain bikers from the Borders to the Highlands."

The president Bush began cycling seriously a couple of years ago when a knee injury forced him to give up running.

His usual trails are near his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and near a Secret Service training facility at Beltsville, Maryland.




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