Entrepreneurship was something that was instilled in Zhenrong since he was a child. His father was in the oil and gas industry running his own business.
As with most entrepreneurial journeys, it’s evolved over time. The very first venture was with Kangoo Jumps at Big Splash in East Coast. When a lot next door opened up with some bikes from the previous owner, Zhenrong jumped at the opportunity to try out bike rentals.
That was over 8 years ago and the business has evolved immensely since then. Today 12Cycle is the premier bicycle shop in Katong where it offers a broad range of bicycles, accessories, trainers, and maintenance and repair services.
The pandemic has been an interesting time for the cycling industry in Singapore. Just like other retail businesses, the initial circuit breaker had a big impact on store sales. However, as Singapore was able to quickly get the pandemic under control, local residents began to look for new things to do in their neighborhoods. This led to a booming interest in cycling as locals spent their vacations exploring Singapore instead of traveling abroad.
“Last year was the best year in Singapore for the entire industry. It was crazy, like everyone suddenly discovered the wonders of cycling!” said Zhenrong
But there are signs that this isn’t just a short term pandemic trend. Singapore has been investing in its cycling infrastructure since 2005 and is set to double its network to more than 800km by 2023. This provides a lot of opportunities for local residents to explore various areas of Singapore.
The bicycle industry has been a major beneficiary of this trend, especially as riders are outfitting and customizing their rides. Zhenrong noted that many of his recent customers have also taken to cycling more seriously as a sport, typically with virtual bike trainers.
For the uninitiated, a bike trainer is a device that looks a little like a bike rack. You put the back wheel of your bicycle into the device and it will support you to ride it while stationary in your home. The advanced models will add virtual environments to ride through and allow you to compete with other riders online.
“It’s a very exciting new product category that combines elements of video games and cycling all into one. We’ve had great success with them over the past year” says Zhenrong.
The pandemic has changed the world in many ways, but for Singapore’s fast-growing cycling community it may just be a chance for us all to appreciate the fantastic resources we have here around our own home.
12Cycle is located at 326 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 437104 and open 10am to 7:00pm Monday to Friday; 10am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday. You can check out what they have in stock on their Fairmart page.