Heads up, cycling enthusiasts, there is now a centre in Singapore that is all about the humble bicycle.
In fact, Shimano Cycling World is billed as the world's first experiential and interactive cycling gallery, and Japanese designer and manufacturer of bicycle components Shimano Inc is behind it.
Located next to the Singapore Sports Museum at the Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang, the 650 sq m centre opened yesterday.
With 20 bicycles on display, the gallery also houses eight exhibits that visitors can not only view, but also listen to and touch some of them.
The centre is not just for cycling aficionados but also for those who are interested in finding out more about one of the world's oldest modes of transport.
You can see the world's first type of bicycle, the Draisienne, at the gallery. Built by German inventor Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun in the early 1800s, it is made entirely of wood.
Shimano Inc also brought in 11 bicycles from the Bicycle Museum in Sakai City, Japan, where the company was first established. The rest of the bikes on display were assembled at Shimano Inc.
Fourteen of the bicycles, which range from the Michaux type to the cross-country trail bicycle, are placed in pull-out glass displays so visitors can get a closer look at the various parts.
Visitors can also trace the history of bicycles and Shimano alongside major world events on an interactive video wall.
There is also a pictorial wall of the different types of bicycles, from the earliest push bikes to present-day models.
One highlight is the Dream Machine, a 15m-long art installation made up of more than 200 interconnected sprockets, wheels and chains in motion. Below the installation is a row of interactive screens where visitors can watch videos of cycling activities and terrains around the world.
Those who want to find out more about bicycle routes and shops here can use Cycling Singapore, an 84-inch LCD touchscreen platform that shows live weather conditions, air quality and road traffic situations.
Users can e-mail the information to themselves or friends who may benefit from it.
There is also a display of cycling components such as gears, showing how bicycle technology has evolved. For instance, the latest technology requires cyclists to just press a button on their bikes to shift gears. A stage area allows industry experts and the public to conduct or participate in workshops and talks.
Shimano Inc built its first factory outside of Japan in Singapore in 1973 and this was one key reason why the company decided to open the gallery here, said Mr Eugene Koh, assistant director of marketing and customer service at Shimano Singapore.
"We want to develop cycling in this region and as Singapore is the hub for many new businesses, we believe in the Singapore Government, what it can do and what it can support," he added.
Mr Matsui Hiroshi, the director and senior vice-president of Shimano Inc, said at yesterday's opening: "With Shimano Cycling World, we hope to contribute towards a sustainable cycling culture in Singapore. And as we see the possibilities that bicycles bring, hopefully, we can take bigger, braver steps together to welcome and willingly incorporate cycling into our daily lives."
Cycling enthusiast Amreet Singh, 28, is thrilled about Shimano Cycling World.
"The cycling scene in Singapore has grown rapidly over the last decade and more attention is being paid to the possibilities of bike commuting," said the founder of cycling apparel brand RedWhite Apparel.
The gallery is open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 8pm and on weekends from 10am to 9pm. Admission is free.
This article was first published on Sep 26, 2014.
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