Throwback – Political Encounters


On Monday I hinted that there were further stories involving Secretary Kerry, the Secret Service and big name politicians.  Yes, there are.  First, a little background.

I live in New Hampshire.  Anyone who has paid attention to US presidential politics may know that this means that anyone hoping to become the President of the United States spends a lot of time in my state.  In various events, house parties, fund raisers, open speeches and rallies I have seen Congresspeople, sitting Senators, former Senators, future Senators, Governors (past present and future), cabinet members (past, present and future) and Presidents (former, present and future).  I’ve shaken many hands and have stood inches away from a Senator giving a speech (I tried to hide in a corner and he came and stood next to me; I’m not sure why…).  So seeing high level politicians and the Secret Service is a normal part of NH life.  I also once saw, during his brief retirement, Secretary Kerry speak  to a small gathering on Nantucket.  I think the topic was the environment.

But today’s story is a little different.

Years ago, back in 2004, I bought a tandem bicycle.  We went to Belmont Wheelworks, the best known and most respected bicycle shop in the Boston area.  Yeah, I traveled over an hour for a bicycle.  That’s the type of place Belmont Wheel works is – you go out of your way to shop there.

We were walking down the sidewalk heading to shop when two large, black Lincolns came at us, one from either direction.  The stopped right in front of us and a couple of men jumped out of each of them before, squealing rubber, they took off again.  The men were wearing dark suites and were wearing sunglasses.  I could tell by the way the held themselves that they were armed.  My first thought was that it was a mafia hit.  I was hoping it wasn’t against Belmont Wheelworks!  We ducked into the shop only to have a few armed men follow us.

Inside it was all calm.  We talked to the salesman who sold us the bike and he went to get it ready for us.  The stairs to the basement were shut down as he went down.  When he came back up we asked what was going on.  He shrugged.

“John Kerry is here today,” he said.  “He shops here all of the time but since he has become the Democrat nominee it has become a little more disruptive.  Of course he doesn’t want to disrupt business as usual, so we just shut down the basement while he is here and most of the customers don’t notice the difference.”

OK, sounds cool.

After we got the bike we were wheeling it down the road towards the car.  A Secret Service man came out of the shadows, said, “Cool bike!” and then asked if we had a minute.  Sure, we’ll stop for an armed man. He admired the bike, naming all of the components and was really geeking out over our new machine.  He said he rode a tandem as part of his job.  It seems Senator (at the time) Kerry rode a lot and was very fast, a great biker.  Even the tandems had a hard time keeping up so they had the best cyclists in the Secret Service assigned to the Senator.  He said he was the stoker (sat in the back seat) of his tandem team.  We talked for a few minutes about bikes and tandems and then, after wishing us well with out new machine, he went back into the shadows where he once more looked ultra-intimidating.  Seeing him there I realized that as the stoker he was “riding shotgun”, ie, if a “bad guy” came up, he would be the one responsible for shooting said bad guy….

Although we didn’t see the (at the time) Senator/Presidential candidate, it was an experience to remember.

And the photo at the top of the page of Air Force One Landing?  That’s a story for another day…..

3 thoughts on “Throwback – Political Encounters

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the First of October | Trent's World (the Blog)

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