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Paul on the (bike) trail

MANCHESTER, NH -- Ron Paul briefly traded the campaign trail for a bike trail on a beautiful sunny Friday here in Granite State. The congressman from Texas, who recently celebrated his 76th birthday, took reporters on a 6-mile bike ride through the woods and claimed his health is just fine.

Before shoving off with a couple of print reporters in tow, Paul tooled around on his bike and confidently chatted about his campaign prospects in New Hampshire.

"I have no reason to think the momentum won't continue, because each time I come up here, you know, we get new people, new support," he said behind dark sunglasses. "We always plan to have a little gathering have 50 people together. Sometimes we get hundreds of people together. So it is very reassuring."

Paul is not worried about Sarah Palin perhaps throwing her hat into the ring for 2012 either.

"The more the merrier," he said. "They don't take votes from me. But they divide up all the establishment vote, so I think it's always helpful for people to come into the race."

With that, Paul pedaled into the forest.

An hour later, he emerged from the woods with a wide smile, saying he didn't even break a sweat.

Cruising to a stop, the congressman revealed his resting heart rate is between 58 and 62 beats per minute. His daily exercise routine, if schedules permit, he begins his days with an early morning walk (3 to 4 miles) and caps it off with a 10- to 15-mile bike ride.

"You burn a lot more calories faster in the humidity," he said, referring to his usual routine in Houston.

Wondering about his blood pressure? "120 over 70 or 65 I think," he said.

When asked if his White House bid is analogous to his physical fitness, Paul replied: "Good shape, ready and raring to go!"

Paul will return to New Hampshire in a couple of weeks. Tonight, he will head home to Texas. Then goes to South Carolina for Jim DeMint's forum before traveling to the NBC-Politico debate next week.