Congressman Charlie Rangel visited Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School on Wednesday, where he ended up taking a spin class. The 84-year-old, who represents upper Manhattan and the Bronx, might have been wearing a suit while exercising, but all the thumb-ups and winks he gave the camera while bopping to “Happy” make it clear that this might have been the best thing he did all week. Michelle Obama visited the same high school last month to announce a new, well-financed effort to prevent childhood obesity, and also stopped by the school’s spin room.
The event was part of the lawmaker’s Rangel Resolution tour, which, Rangel tells us, “encourages people like me to get healthy and eat a nutritious breakfast” during the month of March. People can sign up online for a daily newsletter that has updates on Rangel’s progress in the quest to stave off soda cravings and drink more water for 30 days, and the congressman has been pleased with the response so far. “Oh my God,” he says, “people are Twittering and getting in touch.”
This spin class was not the first time Rangel has had to exercise in a suit. In 2013, he tried out the new rowing machines at the grand opening ceremony for Blink Fitness in Harlem while wearing a bow tie. He didn’t expect that he would have to try out the new equipment during the visit, and says that he “certainly was in no shape to exercise or advocate for it.” As for getting on the bike yesterday, he says, “you don’t go into a room with a bunch of people on a bike and not try it.”