A chance encounter with two fellow cycling enthusiasts convinced Chris Robb that his vision for the Cycle Asia Singapore event could become a reality.
Robb, who is the chief executive officer of Cycle Asia organisers Spectrum Worldwide, met two men - a Singaporean-born Australian and another from Hong Kong - on a flight back here from Hong Kong, and they bonded over a similar passion for recreational cycling.
A day later, the man from Hong Kong messaged Robb to ask for a shop where he could get his bicycle tyres pumped. Robb recommended he check the Cycle Asia Facebook page and, lo and behold, he found the shop.
"That, to me, was a little anecdotal evidence that there is a market for what we're trying to achieve," said Robb, when he met the media to mark the opening for public registration for this year's Cycle Asia Singapore yesterday.
While he is "delighted" with the growth from one event six years ago to potentially 10 by the end of 2015, Robb wants Cycle Asia to become synonymous with recreational cycling in the region.
"In terms of where I see (Cycle Asia) going, I would like to see it as a resource for recreational cyclists," he explained.
"So it's not just the events, which are a key part of it, but it's also about the opportunity for people to go to Cycle Asia's digital assets and meet other cyclists online.
"The ultimate vision is... to build this opportunity for recreational cyclists to travel in the region, cycle safely with like-minded people, and exchange experiences."
Spectrum yesterday announced a slew of safety measures for this year's event, which will ensure the 10,500 cyclists taking part in the April 10 to 12 event will have a smooth experience.
These include compulsory qualification for the 59km Yakult Ace Super Light Challenge and longer intervals between waves of cyclists, as well as deploying "safety officers" along the route.
Robb is not worried about competing with August's OCBC Cycle event for participants, insisting that two mass participation cycling events were "great for the community".
Yesterday, Cycle Asia welcomed new sponsors Yakult and Spice Roads, promoters of cycling tours with a presence in 30 countries.
Cycle Asia also welcomed two key staff in operations director Lawrence Foo, the former Singapore Grand Prix assistant director of technical and race operations, and race director Thibaut Vellard, who has experience helping organise events like the Tour de France and the Dakar Rally.
Besides Cycle Asia Singapore, the other major mass cycling event is the OCBC Cycle, which will be launched on March 9 and takes place on Aug 29 and 30 at the Singapore Sports Hub.
● Details of the different categories, and how interested parties can register online, can be found at www.cycleasia.com.
This article was first published on January 16, 2015.
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