Our Excy Story
We created Excy (short for Exercise Cycling) because we believe quality exercise is medicine for a higher quality of life and to help reduce the risk of injury and fight preventable diseases. Only 20 percent of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive. In addition, only 35 percent of physical therapy patients fully adhere to their course of care even thought there’s so much research showing that physical therapy works.
By opening up more time and places for anyone to conveniently connect exercise and physical therapy to everyday life at home, work, or on the go, we believe Excy will inspire people to exercise more and follow through on rehabilitation for healthier outcomes worldwide.
Neither of us are fitness gurus, but we both highly value our health, quality of life, relationships, and being strong. We posses no secret formula for a healthy lifestyle, no quick fitness fix to shed pounds, and we’ll make it very clear that we aren’t the ones who finally created a home exercise device that allows you to do nothing to get healthy. We’re simply average people with busy lives looking for a way to keep healthy as we face the inevitable physical and mental challenges of getting older.
If you’re up for the Excy lifestyle, you’ll get out of it, what you put into it and so much more, regardless if fitness beginner, rehabilitating an injury, powering through disease, or looking to improve sports performance.
Life is too short…Crank on!
—Michele Mehl and Mike Rector
Excy is a product of my own personal fitness woes over a 20-year career working with disruptive technology technology startups. A busy work schedule and family history of heart disease got me thinking about a better, more convenient way to exercise for a healthier quality of life. I recruited Mike to begin prototyping a portable stationary exercise bike, one that promoted the same quality of exercises offered at a gym or a spin class, but portable enough to use anywhere.
Just as we were in that phase, I broke my leg. Emergency surgery led to a rod, 10 screws, and a plate to hold it all together, as well as a blood clot. Two additional surgeries followed, leaving me in a boot for five months and with a crooked leg for life. To say my morale was low would be an understatement. Yet during the non-weight-bearing months, Mike and I both embraced the injury to rapidly innovate our design. I worked with my physical therapist in the clinic to recover, yet at home was able to keep my upper body strong and burn over 450 calories in an hour using Excy’s upper body ergometer features. When my insurance would no longer pay for PT, I continued to manage by leg’s rehab with Excy recumbent bike movements at home. I had an entire rehab facility at my disposal!
After months of physical therapy and relying on caretakers, I got just a small glimpse into the plight of those living with injury, disability, and disease. It was an eye-opening experience that led to a new dialog with potential customers, which inspired us to help those who fall outside of the traditional fitness mold gain unprecedented access to a new way of staying healthy and strong.
Today, I use Excy 5 to 6 days a week for 20 minute upper and lower body high intensity interval training and to keep my injured leg in motion to maintain strength and mobility.
Mike has spent over 30 years at the forefront of technology innovations, being part of the prototyping teams for now-ubiquitous products like tablets, simulators, and robotics. He even helped Johnny Carson, and a national TV audience, get their first glimpse of virtual reality. An early retired wiz kid with a lifelong passion for cycling, Mike’s career spans innovative hardware and software development at Perceptronics, Video Products Group and MRV. He brings tremendous manufacturing, operations, and product development knowledge to Excy.
Throughout his entire career, Mike road his bike to work almost every day, come rain or shine, as a way to deal with the stress and to stay healthy. Over the years, he has cycled over 150,000 miles. After retiring, Mike spent his free time doing backcountry adventures from hiking to skiing and long endurance bike rides. When he couldn’t find a product to solve a problem, he created it in his garage. These inventions ranged from a recumbent exercise bike, to an motorized touring bike, to trekking polls, to a ultra light backpacking equipment and more. Now 63, Mike has traded in the daily road bike commuting for long endurance tours and mountain biking, where he burns about 7,000 calories a week hammering on dirt roads and trails in the mountains of Southern California. Over the years, some joint aches and pains have caught up to Mike. Even though he dreaded doing it, weight training and isometric exercises has helped him work through injuries and maintain the necessary strength and endurance to enjoy his active lifestyle.
When approached with the idea of creating Excy, Mike immediately saw the opportunity to once again solve a problem: eliminate lack of time and space to help people quickly get the necessary cardio and strength training they need to fight preventable disease and be healthier. Mike has replaced the dreaded hours of weight lifting every week with Excy, which he uses for upper body and core exercises at high force twice a week for three minutes to keep his posture straight, back strong, and upper body toned. He has been able to correct a curvature in his spine with these exercises, helping increase his endurance and energy for daily living, but also the next big backcountry adventure.