Sembawang Biker’s Paradise
by |April 15, 2020 -- Updated 9:47

By Bervyn Lee and Batrisyia Johari

In business for over 50 years, bicycle chop Cheap John’s Enterprise remains an institution in Sembawang. Batrisyia Johari and Bervyn Lee capture the scenes from the family-run business.

A FAMILY TREASURE: Cheap John’s Enterprise was started by Mr Suresh Balani’s father in 1960s. The British called Mr Suresh’s father ‘John’, and that served as an inspiration behind the name of the business. (PHOTO: Bervyn Lee)
HOUSE OF MEMORIES: Photos adorned the walls of the shop, reminding visitors of the good old days. These photos date back to when Cheap John’s was at another location, and when Mr Suresh, 55, was an active cyclist. (PHOTO: Batrisyia Johari)
THIRD-GENERATION INVOLVEMENT: Ever since they were young, Ms Presha Balani (far left), 21, and her sister, Ms Tanisha Balani (not in photo), 24, helped out at the bike shop with customer queries. Now, Ms Tanisha manages another outlet at Upper Serangoon Road, continuing the legacy of their father and grandfather’s family business. (PHOTO: Batrisyia Johari)
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BICYCLE: Fixing bicycles has become a daily routine for Mr Suresh at the shop. Ever since he was seven, Mr Suresh was involved with the bicycle business after his father passed away. Today, Mr Suresh’s family helps run the business with him. (PHOTO:
Batrisyia Johari )
‘THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND’: Having worked as Cheap John’s mechanic for 14 years, Abang Man (Brother Man), 59, repairs and fix bikes alongside Mr Suresh outside the shop. (PHOTO: Bervyn Lee)
HIS HANDS LOOK LIKE THIS, SO THEIRS DON’T HAVE TO: The hands of Abang Man and Mr Suresh are often covered with lubricant and oil, but they will do anything to ensure their customers a smooth ride.
(PHOTO: Bervyn Lee)
BEFORE CAROUSELL: Mr Lee, 55, has been a regular customer for over 30 years. Besides new bicycles, Cheap John’s Enterprise also sells second-hand bike parts which are useful to bike owners. (PHOTO:
Batrisyia Johari )
BIKES OFF THE WALL: Stepping into Cheap John’s bike shop feels like walking into bike heaven. You would expect just bicycles lines up accordingly, and bike parts hung neatly on the wall. However, here at Cheap John’s, there are tyres on their ceiling, bikes standing vertically on bicycle racks and most importantly, bikes hanging off the wall. (PHOTO: Bervyn Lee)
A RAINBOW AMONG THE CLOUDS: Cheap John’s carries different brands and types of bicycles that bike lovers would know – they include Mongoose and cute, pastel-coloured ones like these Schwinn Cruiser Bikes. (PHOTO: Bervyn Lee)

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