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Gen Z Speaks: I hurt myself badly after a cycling accident, but the experience kickstarted my entrepreneurial journey

I have been an avid mountain biker for years, but up until 2021, I never experienced how painful a biking emergency could be.

There was a huge unmet demand for bicycle transport in Singapore, as it heads towards a car-lite future, says the author.

There was a huge unmet demand for bicycle transport in Singapore, as it heads towards a car-lite future, says the author.

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Laurent Misso

I have been an avid mountain biker for years, but up until 2021, I never experienced how painful a biking emergency could be.

But it wasn’t just the pain that I remember most. A year after the accident, I still recall the bitter frustration of being ripped off at a time when I needed help the most.

It all began during one of my regular cycling rides with a friend on a trail in the Bukit Timah area.

For some reason, I messed up a simple roll-down on some rocks, causing me to fall from my bicycle.

I dove headfirst into a rock and the resulting impact cracked my helmet and gave me what was arguably the worst headache of my life.

For a few seconds, I blacked out, not realising what had happened. I was bleeding profusely from a cut on my forehead, and also broke my left wrist while trying to cushion my fall.

My friend had the good sense to bring along a plaster, which helped staunch the bleeding to a certain extent. Together, he helped me hobble my way to a rest area along the trail and to call for an ambulance.

Both of us were well aware that we were in the middle of nowhere. Since the only way out was down the hill, my friend carried both our bikes while I called the ambulance and walked alongside him.

But as I arrived at the rest area and waited for the ambulance, a sudden realisation hit me.

Despite the size of an ambulance, I knew that I could not bring my bicycle on board with me.

If I left my bicycle without supervision, it may get stolen, and there were no bicycle racks in this wilderness for me to chain my bicycle to. My family was also overseas then and could not help me pick it up.

There was no way my friend could push two bicycles several kilometres back to his place in Yew Tee.

As such, I started searching online for a bicycle transportation service to courier it home.

With my head still aching from the collision, I managed to send 12 messages to 12 different accounts on Facebook and Carousell.

For an hour, I waited for someone to reply, deciding to hold off on calling for an ambulance until I could guarantee that my ride would be safe. Only one company replied.

The person from the transportation company quoted me S$35 to ferry my bicycle from Dairy Farm to my friend’s place in Yew Tee that was 7km away.

When I told him over the telephone that I was injured and waiting for the ambulance, he decided to charge me an extra S$20 for this urgent request.

This is despite the listing stating that he could come anytime and anywhere at short notice, 24 hours a day.

Given the state that I was in, I agreed, as I had little options if I wanted prompt medical treatment, as well as the assurance that my bicycle will be kept safely.

But less than five minutes later, I got another text from the company stating that they will further increase the rate by S$15, as my request was “super urgent”.

The total cost came to about S$70. For what would be a short 10-minute trip to transport a bicycle, I would be paying a premium.

I was seeing red, not because of the blood from my wounds, but because of the ridiculous price I was quoted.

Despite being in pain, I texted the driver who was assigned to my request. I argued that the rates were not transparent and unfair.

He replied curtly: “If you can do better, next time do (it) yourself.”


In some twisted way, his uncaring words served as an inspiration and continues to drive me towards doing things better.

I cancelled the pickup order with the transport company immediately.

When the ambulance arrived and the paramedics patched me up with a bandage around my forehead and a cast for my wrist, I declined their offer to be taken to the hospital.

I signed a form to indemnify the paramedics from any liability. Then, with my functioning right hand, I cycled to my friend’s home while he supported me with his hands on my back.

A doctor later said this was an ill-advised move as I had suffered internal bleeding, which was causing the headaches.

I was warded for three days at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, had to undergo multiple scans as well as an operation as apparently, I had a head injury and suffered from internal bleeding.

Despite not remembering much due to the medication, the driver’s text message kept ringing in my head.

Even as a full-time Republic Polytechnic student studying for a business diploma, I believed that I can do better than anything out there.

On my second night in hospital, I decided to create a bicycle transport service from scratch.

I created a Telegram group of cycling enthusiasts about my idea and my experiences, enlisting from among them a pool of drivers, including my friends.

Through word-of-mouth and sharing amongst cycling enthusiasts, I managed to gain more than 100 members within the first week. I pitched myself to new members as a transport service to connect drivers to cyclists-in-need via Telegram.

Earning a small commission for this service, I managed to rake in about S$1,200 in revenue in the first month, which was a morale-boosting sum of money for a polytechnic student like me at the time.

It was also where I first sensed there was a huge unmet demand for bicycle transport in Singapore, as it heads towards a car-lite future.

The sheer number of orders to fulfil meant many sleepless nights, and for months, I had been manually connecting drivers to cyclists and vice versa.

So, I learnt the Python programming language and created a Telegram bot called GoBot! to automate the work.

By August 2021, I was already running a bonafide start-up, which I named GoBike, that hired three part-timers to help out with my start-up.

I also joined the Alibaba Cloud–Singapore University of Social Sciences Entrepreneurship Programme, and also received a SG Founder Grant of S$50,000 to help jumpstart my fledgling business.

Through the programme, I learned how to overcome the complexities of bringing my start-up to the next level.

With the grant and working with my mentors from the entrepreneurship programme, I am able to use it for development and hiring of staff to bring my start-up to the next level and prepare it for funding in future.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t always an easy ride to start a business in Singapore, especially in the midst of my studies.

Like many young, budding entrepreneurs who started their businesses as a student, I had to split my attention between school and work, so learning how to manage my time to juggle both was critical.

The business world is also never idle, and I had to adapt to the needs of consumers whose behaviour and preferences are always changing.

But each time I hit a snag with the company, I would remember the frustration I felt on the fateful day that I took a tumble on the rocks.

British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who had his fair share of bicycle accidents over the years, once said: “You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

Perhaps that was the lesson which the driver was trying to teach me that day when he told me to “do it yourself”.



Laurent Misso, 21, is the founder and chief executive officer of GoBike, and a recent graduate from the Singapore University of Social Sciences’ Alibaba Cloud-SUSS entrepreneurship programme.

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