Necessity is the mother of invention. And the busy mother of this invention, Michele Mehl of Seattle, needed a workout she could take out. A park bench provided the inspiration.
'I just had the idea,' Michele said. 'I want to turn this bench into a cycling experience.'
She came up with a portable exercise cycle, or Excy, for short.
'How do I turn any chair into a recumbent exercise bike?' Mehl wondered. 'On the sideline of the kids' sports, while you're watching your favorite TV show at home, at work while you're at your desk. Everything.'
The Excy is stabilized by a durable mat called the keeper. It holds the machine in place under the weight of the user's own body.
'So as soon as we figured this out, we could really tackle resistance and get it high,' Mehl said.
The result is a machine that can provide a strenuous workout without scooting across the floor.
'This allows you to double-dip on cardio and strength training at the same time,' Mehl said.
After she broke her leg, Mehl discovered that her invention could also work wonders above the waist.
'I started using our prototype for upper body workouts,' she said.
The sturdy little machine has now been on the market for a year, and Mehl is working hard to keep up with demand. Not just for the Excy, but for her online exercise videos, too. It's all part of the Excy app, which provides guided workouts, tips and tracking for individual results.
Creating her dream invention has been a challenging exercise all its own.
'I think you have to be a little off your rocker,' she said.
But seeing the results, for herself and for her customers has Mehl happily peddling her product.
'I want to show people what's possible,' she said.
This story produced in collaboration with Start It Seattle.