London, June 13: US President Joe Biden chose a custom-made, hand-built bicycle as his gift for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for their first in-person meeting ahead of the G7 Summit in Cornwall this weekend. The bike is made by a small company in the American city of Philadelphia that was reportedly given just a few days to build a red, white and blue bike that normally takes months to construct.
Johnson is a keen cyclist and is often pictured cycling on the streets of London, with his security detail in pursuit. Biden is also known as a regular cyclist and was revealed to be a fan of indoor cycling with Peloton.
The bike gifted by Biden was made by Bilenky Cycle Works, a business with a staff of four who usually take up to 18 months to make a machine. The owner, Stephen Bilenky, was contacted by the US State Department on May 23 about designing the bike and a matching helmet, the ‘Philadelphia Inquirer' reported. PM Narendra Modi Seeks Waiver of COVID-19 Vaccine Patents at G7 Summit 2021, Calls for ‘One Earth, One Health’ Approach To Fight the Pandemic.
It says the budget was just USD 1,500, a third of the minimum price the firm charges. Bilenky told the newspaper that he had accepted the order to raise the firm's profile and that "controlled chaos" followed.
"It is a very modern version of an upright British roadster with a custom paint scheme with the Union Jack flag and a matching helmet," he was quoted as saying.
Johnson's gift for the US President was a framed picture of a mural showing the American anti-slavery campaigner Fredrick Douglass. The image of the former slave, who became a leading figure in the 19th century slavery abolitionist movement, is part of Edinburgh's mural trail.
US First Lady Jill Biden was given a first edition of ‘The Apple Tree' by Daphne du Maurier, the English author who lived in Cornwall, while Carrie Johnson was presented with a leather tote bag made by military wives and a presidential silk scarf.
The leaders formally met at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, south-west England, just ahead of the G7 Summit launch on Friday. Johnson dubbed his meeting with Biden as " “breath of fresh air", leading many in the UK media to compare and contrast the somewhat erratic US-UK meetings with former president Donald Trump.