Edward Rush is trying to get Harlemites on a new “cycle” when it comes to fitness. The personal trainer is on a mission to improve the health of Harlem by getting people to start moving.
Rush is the executive director of the Free Range Human Transportation Society, which promotes fitness through the use of human-powered means of transportation like bicycles, inline skating and skateboarding. Members primarily use bikes, and he wants to get Harlem moving and fit through cycling.
“I love Harlem and I want to have a positive impact on the health of my community,” he said. “It’s clear to me that from a fitness and health perspective, folks in our community need help.”
A native of Central New Jersey, Rush said he has been active in sports since he was a child playing basketball and later boxing while serving in the U.S. Army. He graduated from law school at Howard University but didn’t want to practice law. Instead, he opened his own gym in the Washington, D.C., area.
He later sold the gym and moved to New York City, settling in Harlem. He has verifications in various fitness activities, including personal training. While living in Harlem, he saw a dangerous trend among residents when it came to their health and wanted to improve things.
Rush got into cycling when he tore his meniscus a year and half ago, which prevented him from running. Cycling is now his means of getting his cardio workout and keeping fit.
“A lot of us are not taking care of our health,” he said. “It’s almost like a lack of hope. If you don’t really see a future for yourself, there is no reason to take care of yourself. A lot of what we see in the community stems from that.”
Since co-founding the Free Range Human Transportation Society, the organization was incorporated in January. He says the mission of the organization is simple: to get people moving. Rush leads weekly bike rides on Sundays at 10 a.m., which start at Central Park North and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard.
“As we get larger and keep recruiting folks, people can come and ride any kind of human-powered vehicle,” he said. “We want to get people in Harlem moving and active-making it a community of people working out together on a regular basis.”
Rush said that biking can be a great cardiovascular exercise for anyone who wants to get in shape. All you need is a good, inexpensive bike to start out.
“Even if you don’t like the gym or can’t afford a personal trainer,” Rush said, “you can do a lot as far as keeping yourself healthy. Buy an inexpensive bike and start riding most places you go.”
For those who want to start on the journey of losing weight, Rush recommends regular exercise, eating more whole foods and eating less processed foods.
For more information on the Free Range Human Transportation Society and bike riding, visit www.free-hu.org.