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Bidens mark first lady's 70th birthday with bike ride near beach home

ABC News logo ABC News 6/4/2021
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A quiet day at the beach for a big birthday.

President Joe Biden, in rare midweek move, had whisked his wife, first lady Jill Biden, away from Washington to her favorite place -- their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to celebrate her 70th birthday on Thursday.

a man riding on the back of a bicycle © Susan Walsh/AP

The couple marked the occasion with a quiet bike ride down Gordon's Pond Trail, which was not closed to the public, according to the Secret Service, so onlookers who passed the Bidens by wished her well.

When the Bidens returned, a rendition of "Happy Birthday" broke out, drawing a laugh and a "Thank you!" from the first lady.

a group of people riding on the back of a bicycle: President Joe Biden acknowledges the news media as he follows first lady Jill Biden while biking at Cape Henlopen State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021. © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters President Joe Biden acknowledges the news media as he follows first lady Jill Biden while biking at Cape Henlopen State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021.

Jill Biden is the oldest sitting first lady in modern history but remains an active senior citizen.

She is also the first first lady to hold a paid job outside of the White House, continuing her longtime career as a community college English teacher. She's currently off for summer break.

a group of people riding on the back of a bicycle: First lady Jill Biden waves as she rides her bike with President Joe Biden in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021. © Susan Walsh/AP First lady Jill Biden waves as she rides her bike with President Joe Biden in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021.

Earlier, the president, 78, at multiple points, took a hand off the handlebars to salute, wave and point to those gathered.


Video: Bidens mark first lady's birthday with leisurely bike ride (Associated Press)

One reporter shouted, "Did you enjoy your bike ride Mister President?" to which he simply responded, "Yes," with a slight smile.

MORE: Jill Biden could make history as 1st first lady to hold paid job outside White House

The pair was surrounded by Secret Service agents, on and off bikes.

a group of people riding on the back of a bicycle: First lady Jill Biden waves as she rides her bike with President Joe Biden in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021. © Susan Walsh/AP First lady Jill Biden waves as she rides her bike with President Joe Biden in Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 3, 2021.

The president ignored shouted questions about what he got his wife for her birthday. She at least got decent -- if not perfect -- birthday weather, with temperatures in the 70s and partly cloudy skies in the beach town, still suitable for a bike ride in short sleeve shirts.

a man and woman riding on the back of a bicycle: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden ride bicycles in Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Del., JUne 3, 2021. © Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden ride bicycles in Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Del., JUne 3, 2021. MORE: Biden announces first 25 million vaccine doses going to India, others facing 'surges'

Michael LaRosa, a spokesperson for the first lady, said no family or friends were joining the Bidens on Thursday.

It's their first trip back to Rehoboth Beach since moving into the White House -- and the town seemed ready to welcome them back. A sign outside a local store wished her a "Happy Birthday" and a boardwalk ice cream shop named a flavor in honor of "Biden's Summer White House Cherry."

text: Local businesses in Rehoboth Beach, Del., welcomed the Bidens back for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday on June 3, 2021. © Molly Nagle/ABC Local businesses in Rehoboth Beach, Del., welcomed the Bidens back for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday on June 3, 2021.

It's no surprise that the first lady would choose Rehoboth to spend her birthday. She's been candid that she pushed Biden to buy the $2.7 million home in 2017, after leaving the vice presidency and their signing an $8 million book deal.

She told Vogue magazine last year that Biden promised her, "when I write my book, I’ll buy you a beach house."

"I wanted it to be the kind of place where you can come in in your wet bathing suit and bare feet and I can just take the broom and brush out the sand," she said in the March 2020 article. "And that’s what this is. Everything’s easy."

Above the front door, the article said, is a plaque reading, "PROMISE KEPT."

a sign on a newspaper: Local businesses in Rehoboth Beach, Del., welcomed the Bidens back for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday on June 3, 2021. © Molly Nagle/ABC Local businesses in Rehoboth Beach, Del., welcomed the Bidens back for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday on June 3, 2021.

Their vacation home is just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and comes with a swimming pool overlooking Cape Henlopen State Park, where Biden's helicopter landed on Wednesday evening so he could join his wife for her birthday getaway.

MORE: Biden to meet with Queen Elizabeth on 1st trip overseas as president

But since all good things must come to an end, the Bidens are scheduled to return to Washington on Friday.

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