Marc Johnson is a smart, passionate, home-grown Irvine entrepreneur. At the threshold of his 30th birthday, he is the owner of rEcycles, a nearby start-up electric bike company.
A graduate of Woodbridge High School, Marc’s fondest memories of growing up in Irvine are all about the outdoors on his bike…exploring trail systems…racing… building BMX dirt jumps with his friends, usually on empty lots in Irvine.
Marc’s love of bikes included the mechanical side too. So, while working at various bike shops as a young man, he developed great expertise in their construction. At the same time, as he gained knowledge about computers and coding, he began to develop a keen appreciation of the complexity and sophistication of a new kind of bicycle — electric bikes.
The Great Equalizer
Marc was born with a congenital heart defect, which required open-heart surgery when he was just 18 months old. The successful surgery allowed him to grow up leading an active life. Then, at 19 years of age, Marc was diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse. After successful heart surgery, his symptoms of fatigue and weakness faded, but the kind of intense and extended bike riding he had previously enjoyed now left him utterly exhausted.
This was when Marc came to fully embrace electric bikes, professionally and personally. He now calls electric bikes “the great equalizer.” An electric bike allows you — even if you have health or fitness issues — to keep up the pace and go long distances, relying on the assistance that electric power provides.
Catching the Second Wave
As a follower of industry news, Marc knew that the second wave of electric bikes, with their lithium-ion batteries, would revolutionize electric biking. The first generation of high-weight and low-power bikes would be replaced with low-weight and high-power alternatives.
Jumping on the opportunity, Marc opened up his rEcycles workshop and business in October of 2015. Initially, he focused his business on converting Electra Townies — a popular, high-quality “beach cruiser” that is known for its patented technology, and enhanced comfort and stability — into an electric bike. Marc knew that many people in Orange County already had Electra Townies in their garages, so spending around $1,500 to convert the bike into a top-quality electric bike should be an easy sell. He proved to be right. According to Marc, the finished product is of a higher quality than the equivalent, more expensive Pedego bike.
Although he continues to offer an array of custom bike conversions (he has converted five tricycles so far, for clients with disabilities), Marc has transitioned to offering pre-assembled, purpose-built electric bikes. His main supplier is Easy Motion, the leader in the technology wave. Marc says, “Easy Motion bikes offer the finest biomechanical integration, which allows, for example, the maintenance of a specific heart rate throughout a ride.”
Whether alone, or with friends and family, drop by Marc Johnson’s rEcycles workshop, 16722 Hale Avenue #102 in the Irvine Business Complex, near Barranca and Jamboree. Marc will show you around and patiently match you to the e-bike that fits you best. He offers free test rides throughout the year, and a mobile rental program in the summertime.