Shortly after her fortieth birthday, Bothell resident
Michele Mehl took some time to re-evaluate. She was
concerned about her health and felt frustrated by
a gym membership she paid for but wasn’t using. She
struggled to achieve her fitness goals because of
her busy schedule and a commitment to spending
quality time with family and friends.

Inspiration came during a visit to the skate park with
her nine-year-old son. In an attempt to fit in a workout while
watching her son play, Mehl performed step-ups on a park
bench. She found herself wishing for a lightweight, portable
exercise bike she could take with her to the park. “I thought
to myself, ‘What if I could actually just turn this bench into
a portable cycle,’” Mehl recalled. “Then I could be active
wherever I am, even on the sidelines of my kid’s life.”

When she couldn’t find an existing exercise product
that would meet her needs, she set out to create it. Mehl
partnered with her uncle Mike Rector, who is a retired
engineer and avid cyclist, and the two dreamed up a
solution: Excy.

Mehl said, “If we could eliminate time and space as
obstacles to exercise, we wondered, would people
do it more?”

Together, they developed and tested prototypes for a
portable cycle. Once they were satisfied with the product and
had committed 1,000 hours to testing it, they launched a
Kickstarter campaign. Mehl, whose background is in public
relations and technology start-ups, led the marketing efforts.
After the campaign ended successfully, raising nearly $23,000,
they were able to ship Excy to their first customers within six
weeks. These beta testers offered feedback and enthusiasm
that shaped the second round of production.

Excy weighs just ten pounds and can be used to work both
your legs and arms, and certain positions can also work your
core. It differs from other portable, under-desk cycles in that
it is designed for serious, high-intensity workouts, offering
up to 30 pounds of resistance. At a suggested retail price of
$657, it is comparable in price to both full-sized and folding
fitness bikes.

When used with a chair, it functions as a recumbent
bicycle. When placed on the floor or a tabletop, it can be
used as an upper body ergometer, which tones upper arms
and shoulders while offering an intense cardio workout. An
attached mat, called the Keeper, prevents the bike from
sliding away during high intensity pedaling.

Mehl says that many Excy customers report they use
the portable exercise bike most frequently while watching
television with their family. Unlike other home exercise
equipment, Excy isn’t relegated to a spare bedroom or
basement laundry room, which makes it possible to pursue
physical fitness without isolating yourself from your family
after a busy day at work.

“Excy is super quiet and you can make it as easy or as
hard as you want it to be,” Mehl said. “Even during high
intensity interval training workout, Excy is quiet. The only
thing you can hear is the sound of breathing hard.”

Customers report using Excy in their backyard while
watching their children play on the trampoline or transporting
it to their children’s ball games. Other customers
whose work causes them to travel frequently say they enjoy
bringing Excy on the road with them to exercise from their
hotel room or at a scenic lake or park.

The equipment has also proven useful for people
recovering from an injury. In fact, Mehl broke her leg while
Excy was in development. Thanks to the option of using Excy
as an upper body ergometer, she was able to keep up with
cardio training, burn calories, and gain upper body muscle
strength while rehabilitating her leg.

Mehl made instructional videos for quick workouts that
come with the Excy mobile app, which includes videos, tracks
workout time and calories burned, and allows you to set and
remind yourself of goals. The Android version of the app is
currently in development, as are plans to make Excy available
at retail stores. Currently you can purchase Excy online.

“I know that exercise is medicine and that is my whole
motivation in doing this,” said Mehl, whose family history
of heart disease drives her concern for cardiovascular health,
“Exercise is medicine for a higher quality of life. It helps
reduce the risk of preventable diseases. Mike and I want to
deliver exercise to people where they spend the most time, at
home or at work.”

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"Excy is super quiet and you can make it as easy or as hard as you want it to be."