SINGAPORE - When Mr Simon Peter cycles down the streets of Chinatown and Clark Quay on weekend evenings, he can't help but become the focus of attention.
Motorists slow down to gawk at his ride, pedestrians stop to peer at the colourful moving light-show.
That's because Mr Peter's trippy bicycle is festooned with so many LED lights that it looks like a Chingay Parade float.
Indeed, Mr Peter, 59, a hardware store assistant, and his friends will be taking part in this year's Chingay Parade, after being spotted cruising around Chinatown by one of the organisers.
The man followed them in a car and stopped the group to invite them to take part in this year's Chingay, which is on Friday and Saturday. Mr Peter told The New Paper: "I'm very happy and excited. This is my first time taking part in Chingay."
It has been a long ride to the parade.
Mr Peter bought his present electric bicycle shortly after selling an older model to a German man for $2,000 in 2012.
Feeling that his new bicycle was too plain, Mr Peter initially spruced it up with a few LED lights.
Over time, the electric bicycle was transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour with a multitude of LED lights and stickers.
Now it even has a modified car alarm and a DVD karaoke system, with amplifier.
Four 12-volt batteries power the added accessories, which has the bike weighing in at about 15kg, said Mr Peter.
He spent around $6,000 buying and doing up his bicycle.
It took him about three weeks to do it up, a job which he undertook by himself with the exception of soldering, which his godson helped him with.
Mr Peter says his wife and two children, a son and daughter, are supportive of his hobby and find it interesting.
Mr Peter's friends also soon noticed what he was doing and were inspired to follow suit.
They too began to brighthen up their bicycles, turning them into moving light shows.
Some who did not own electric bicycles even bought their own for customisation.
One of them, Mr Steven Law, 46, says that his family is surprised by his hobby because it's unusual.
"I feel very proud and happy when people ask to take photos with us," said Mr Law, a restaurant assistant chef.
The group of about seven friends now go cycling every weekend, usually around Chinatown and Clark Quay.
They cycle at night for about three hours, returning home around 10pm.
While cycling through Chinatown, the men are often stopped by passer-bys asking to take pictures.
Drivers often wind down their windows at traffic lights to take pictures of the bicycles.
Some even honk at the cyclists to get their attention and compliment them on their rides.
"I always feel happy to talk about my bike with them and let them take pictures of it," said Mr Peter.
The group usually park their bicycles somewhere in Clark Quay and turn on their sound systems, filling the air with the melodious sound of Chinese music and xinyao.
The effect is akin to a mobile disco as people nearby start dancing when that happens.
Besides adding colour to other peoples' lives, Mr Peters also gets a good workout from his weekly displays as he lives in a three-room HDB flat in Boon Keng, a good 5km away from Chinatown.
I'm very happy and excited. This is my first time taking part in Chingay.
- Mr Simon Peter on being invited to take part in this year's Chingay Parade
This article was first published on February 23, 2015.
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