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Ensuring bicycles are accessible to all
THERE are just nine days to go before Singapore's largest mass cycling event - OCBC Cycle 2019 - gets underway at the Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang, with thousands of cyclists set to take part in both competitive and non-competitive rides on the weekend of May 11 and 12.
The mission of the annual event - now in its 11th edition - is to encourage bonding among friends and families through cycling.
Helping the bank to do just that are 23 companies and brands, who are known as "Friends of OCBC Cycle".
One of these "Friends" is Aleoca Pro Singapore, a local bike manufacturer that provides affordable bicycles for cyclists across all age groups and proficiency levels.
Aleoca has been in the market for the past 23 years, and its bicycles are found at major retailers and department stores in Asia. Here in Singapore, they are sold at hypermarkets such as Giant and NTUC FairPrice.
The brand - built from scratch by its founder and managing director Alan Goh - is based in Singapore and has a presence in Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and China. There are about 40 employees in Singapore.
As part of its commitment to OCBC Cycle, Aleoca contributed a S$400 bicycle to the first five people who registered for the event, while the next five received a S$70 helmet.
Mr Goh, who runs the business together with his two children - project manager Say Eng and business manager Sophia - said he was more than happy to do his part to promote the sport of cycling in Singapore.
"I'm very supportive of this meaningful event. OCBC Cycle is the largest cycling event in Singapore, and not only does it encourage families to lead a healthy lifestyle, I see it as an excellent way for people to spend time outdoors and bond," said Mr Goh in a recent interview with BT at Aleoca's 20,000 square foot warehouse and office at Bedok South.
He admits that the bicycle business in Singapore is tough, given the relatively small market here and the ever rising costs of running a company.
Still, he is adamant that Aleoca bicycles should remain as cheap as possible, with many of the two-wheelers costing less than S$100 each. Back in 2015, as part of Singapore's Golden Jubilee celebrations, Aleoca sold a foldable bike named The Little Red Dot for a subsidised rate of just S$50.
"We believe that no one should be denied the opportunity to ride, and so we strive to keep our prices competitive to uphold our company's mission from day one - to build quality and affordable bicycles for all type of cyclists," he said.
The 58-year-old Mr Goh is an avid cyclist himself. He makes it a point to go for a long ride every Saturday and Sunday morning if he's not travelling. Often, he pedals together with his son Say Eng, and they see it as a chance to spend quality time together and get some exercise.
"Cycling is great to travel from place to place and there are opportunities to discover different parts of the city. If you drive, it's not easy to explore the smaller roads and see what's there, but you can do so on a bike," said the elder Mr Goh, who also rides in countries like Malaysia or Indonesia whenever he has the time.
Aleoca is one of six new "Friends of OCBC Cycle" partners this year. The other five are safety camera producer Cycliq, action camera brand GoPro, solar panel device manufacturer Goal Zero, reusable steel tumbler manufacturer Hydro Flask, and cycling accessories developer SP Connect.
Dominic Ying, the vice-president of group brand and communications at OCBC Bank, said the bank is continuously on the lookout for partners that can bring value to OCBC Cycle.
"We have brought on board Aleoca (and they have) availed their bicycles at special prices, and contributed bike accessories as prizes. They have also helped produce a video to highlight the importance of choosing the right type of bicycles. The synergy from this partnership has clearly produced tremendous benefits to participants," he said.
For more information on OCBC Cycle 2019, visit ocbccycle.com