Once a temperamental teenager, this uncle from the bike shop changed his life. Now he pays forward
SINGAPORE: For Chen Jun Wei, 18, what made him love cycling was the wind in his hair and the euphoria of riding fast on deserted roads at night.
But it is also an escape. He doesn’t see many of his parents – a truck driver and a convenience store assistant. âI do my best to spend time with them, but I think they are very busy,â he said.
Almost every night he got on his bike – a gift from his parents to keep him out of trouble – and explored the roads of Singapore. He remembers an âepicâ island tour, when he cycled from 5 pm to 6 am.
He had friends who liked to ride a bike, but he usually rode alone. Also, he said, his friends mostly rode road bikes – faster and easier to pedal on roads and sidewalks – and his mountain bike couldn’t keep up with them.
In July, one of them, Shaun, told him about Team Garcia, young cyclists who took part in local competitions. It piqued his interest: maybe he would find new buddies to ride with – after all, it turned out to be lonely to ride alone.
He asked Shaun if he could join the team.
This is how he walked into a neighborhood bike shop in Bishan and met the man who changed not only his life, but the lives of others like him through a combination of loving care and of an opportunity.
FROM GANG MEMBER TO ENGINEER
The owner of RNE Bike Shop and founder of the Garcia team is Melvin Lee, 54 years old. He too was once a teenager who lacked the care he now so willingly offers.