US President Joe Biden gifted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson a custom-built bicycle as a special souvenir for the first meeting between the two heads of state in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. According to reports, the special hand-built bicycle was designed as a part of the customary exchange of gifts between the heads and was chosen keeping in mind Johnson’s regular cycling outings in London.
Biden gift to Johnson
The bike was custom-made by a Philadelphia firm in a record time and at a third of the price. The red and white bike, in the colours of the United Kingdom flag, would otherwise take months to construct. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, owner of Bilenky Cycle Works- Stephen Bilenky was contacted by the US State Department on May 23 with a request to design a custom-made bicycle and a matching helmet for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Operating on a staff of four persons only, Bilenky Cycle Works usually takes up to 18 months to make a custom-made bicycle, however, the order was expedited ahead of the President’s visit to the UK for the G7 summit on June 10.
‘Controlled chaos’ followed shortly after, as per the owner who began powering to meet the prestigious order. The price of the special hand-made bike stands at a whopping $6,000, however, the budget was only set to $1,500 (£1,060), a third of the minimum price the firm charges.
Apart from Biden’s gift to Johnson, US First Lady Jill Biden gave Carrie Johnson, UK PM’s newly-wedded wife a leather tote bag made by the wives of American troops, along with a presidential silk scarf.
UK gifts Biden a mural
In a nod to the Black Lives Matter protest, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the other hand gave US President Joe Biden a framed photograph of a British mural featuring 19th-century Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The gifted image is painted by Ross Blair and it is a part of a mural trail around Edinburgh, photographed by Melissa Highton, an American-British dual national.
Johnson also gave US First Lady Jill Biden the first edition copy of Daphne du Maurier’s The Apple Tree. Downing Street said in a statement that the choice of the book was to reflect Du Maurier’s Cornish links.
(Image- Bilenky Cycle Works)