Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

19 February 2018

Just A Banana Peel Away...

Today is Presidents' Day in the US.

In past years, I've shown pictures of our leaders on bikes. Two years ago, I wrote about the origins of Presidents' Day automobile sales in the Washington's Birthday bicycle sales late in the 19th century.

Today I'm going to talk about one of the most maligned Presidents of our history.

To be fair, Gerald Ford ascended to the office under difficult circumstances:  His predecessor, Richard Nixon, had resigned because he was on the brink of impeachment.  

People might've cut Ford some slack had they elected him as Vice President.  The problem was, Ford became Nixon's second-in-command when his predecessor, Spiro Agnew, resigned his office as part of a deal to keep himself out of prison for, among other things, tax evasion.

Thus did Ford become the first unelected President in US history.  Some people felt resentful of this, which alone would have been enough to sully his reputation. Fair or not, it's not the only reason why, whether professional historians or laypeople are polled, he ranks low among Presidents.  

Aside from the way he came into the office, another thing some people hold against him was his pardoning of Nixon.  But, whatever people think of that, or any of his other actions, the only other thing people seem to remember about him is his clumsiness.  According to a popular joke of the time, Nelson Rockefeller, his vice-president, was just a banana peel away from the presidency.

From what I understand, though, "Gerry" wasn't always so cllumsy.  After all, he was an athlete in his youth.  And he managed to look pretty good on a bike:


Gerald Ford, surrounded by his cousins in front of his childhood home in Grand Rapids, Michigan

5 comments:

  1. i think the country could use a Gerald Ford right about now...

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  2. Your orange one has not really been voted in...

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  3. funny thing - I posted about presidents and bikes today, too. I also mentioned Ford's distinction of being the only president nobody ever voted for. I didn't use that picture of him as a little kid though. I used the only other picture I could find of him on a bike, or rather, a stationary "exercise" bike. Wasn't much of a rider, I guess.

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  4. Mike--How bad are things when we pine for Jerry Bimbo? Or Ronny Raygun? Or even one of the Bushes.

    Coline--He wasn't voted in by the people. He was, however, voted by the Electoral College. Ford didn't even have that.

    Brooks--I just saw your post and I love it. Thanks!

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    1. So bad that sometimes i almost miss Nixon... :-(

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