Where there's a wheel, there's a way

It took him $1,200 and 400 hours to build a bicycle.

But that's just the start for Mr Chua Sheng Chuan.

He told The New Paper that his biggest dream is to one day build and fly his own aircraft.

He is not worried about how much it will cost in terms of money and time.

The fourth- year student from the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore (NUS) said: "I'm going to move up the ranks.

"Now that I've built my bicycle, I might start working on building a boat, then a car and it's just going to get bigger and bigger."

He decided to build his own bicycle as a personal project.

Mr Chua, 24, said it wasn't easy to build the carbon fibre road bicycle.

He said: "There were failures along the way that got me feeling down, but it was going to take a lot more than that for me to give up on it."

He gave one example.

"The biggest problem I had was when carbon fibre epoxy composite would set before we finished wrapping the seat post (fitting the seat to the bicycle frame). Essentially, that meant that I had to re-do that part.

OBSTACLE

"That setback really got me feeling down (and) I abandoned working on that part for awhile.

"It wasn't until two months later that I went back to working on the seat post."

He spent 200 hours designing and figuring out the materials needed to build the bicycle and another 200 hours making and assembling the parts.

He crossed the finishing line about a year ago by riding his self-made bicycle for the first time.

He said: "When I pushed off and started cycling, the bicycle just felt like an extension of myself because I had designed every bit of the frame.

"I felt like I was flying."

Cycling enthusiasts like Miss Joyce Leong said she has not heard of anyone else building their own bicycle here.

The founder of Joyriders, a recreational cycling community, said that most people do not have time and skills to build one.

Mr Suwandi Tok, 46, who assembles bicycles as a hobby, said it is not an easy DIY project.

Mr Tok said: "Making the bicycle frame is the most difficult of tasks.

"Depending on what kind of frame one wants to make, it demands different skills.

"For example, welding steel parts together is different from welding aluminium. As for carbon fibre, it is a different technique all together."

Mr Chua uses his bicycle every day when he travels to school.

His passion for building is something he cannot see himself giving up.

"Building and innovating makes me feel more alive. It has become a part of me," he said.


This article was first published on November 16, 2015.
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