A prized bi­cy­cle reap­pears to soothe a griev­ing fam­ily

Cy­cling en­thu­si­ast col­lapses and dies af­ter a ride on his favourite bi­cy­cle, which then goes miss­ing

The New Paper - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID SUN

It was his favourite bi­cy­cle, a moun­tain bike he would ride ei­ther with friends or alone.

Then he died. And the bike went miss­ing.

When the po­lice called af­ter more than two weeks and told the fam­ily that the pre­cious bi­cy­cle had been found, it was a hugely emo­tional mo­ment for them all, seek­ing clo­sure af­ter a death so sud­den it left ev­ery­one in shock.

On April 28 at about 6pm, Mr Louis Lai, 55, who worked in the ship­ping in­dus­try, de­cided to go on a ride be­fore din­ner and set off alone near the Bukit Ba­tok Na­ture Park.

There, he be­came breath­less and col­lapsed.

He tried call­ing fam­ily mem­bers on his mo­bile phone for help, but they could not find him due to con­fu­sion over his ex­act lo­ca­tion.

As Mr Lai lay on the ground, his pulse started to fade.

Sev­eral mem­bers of the public, who had spot­ted him ly­ing on the ground along­side his fallen bi­cy­cle, called for an am­bu­lance.

One per­son per­formed chest com­pres­sions on him.

Mr Lai, who was be­lieved to have suf­fered a heart at­tack, was rushed by am­bu­lance to Ng Teng Fong Gen­eral Hospi­tal, where he died be­fore his fam­ily could say their last good­byes.

His younger brother, Mr Ken Lai, 53, a photograph­er, told The New Pa­per yes­ter­day the fam­ily is still com­ing to terms with his death.

“He was some­one who loved the out­doors and sports like swim­ming and cy­cling, and didn’t have any complaints about heart prob­lems, so we’re still try­ing to un­der­stand how his heart just stopped,” he said.

The sud­den death shocked his fam­ily, es­pe­cially as he was gen­er­ally healthy and, save for oc­ca­sional bouts of gout, had no known health is­sues.

“Louis was the fifth of us six sib­lings, and was a fam­ily man who gath­ered all of us to­gether for a meal weekly,” said his younger brother.

“Be­fore his death and the whole pan­demic, we would all meet quite of­ten. The last time I spoke to him was over din­ner at Jack’s Place, and we were talk­ing about how he had gout but still in­sisted on hav­ing steak.”

Mr Lai has a wife and son, who wanted to re­trieve his fa­ther’s prized bike to re­mem­ber him by.

On the night of Mr Lai’s death, fam­ily mem­bers went to Bukit Ba­tok Av­enue 2, where the army green bike was last seen.

But they could not find it, and af­ter two weeks of search­ing, they put out an ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion on Face­book on May 14.

The bike, a 2014 Pivot Mach 6, is es­ti­mated to be worth $5,000.

GREAT DIF­FI­CULTY

Mr Ken Lai said the fam­ily had great dif­fi­culty griev­ing dur­ing the wake and search­ing for the bike with the cir­cuit breaker on.

“It was tough keep­ing to the small num­ber of peo­ple at the wake, and even as we kept a look­out for the bike, we could only go past the area alone,” he said.

“Louis also had a rac­ing bike, but the miss­ing bike was his prized one that he used most, so we couldn’t give up.”

More than two weeks af­ter the in­ci­dent, on May 18, of­fi­cers from the Cle­menti Po­lice Di­vi­sion called the fam­ily, telling them the bike had been found and they could re­trieve it that af­ter­noon.

“I was told of­fi­cers had to go to three dif­fer­ent places while tracking the bike, be­cause it had gone through three dif­fer­ent pairs of hands in 20 days,” said Mr Ken Lai.

“I’m not sure if it was stolen or traded or sold, or even who these three peo­ple are, be­cause when I tried to find out more, all the of­fi­cers could tell me was it is a clas­si­fied case now be­ing han­dled by in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Jurong Po­lice Di­vi­sion.”

TNP has reached out to the Public Affairs De­part­ment of the po­lice with queries on the in­ci­dent.

Speak­ing on be­half of the fam­ily, Mr Ken Lai said they are ex­tremely grate­ful to all who had stepped for­ward to help when the in­ci­dent hap­pened and for those who had kept a look­out for the bike.

“We want to thank mem­bers of the public who stepped for­ward to help, and es­pe­cially thank the po­lice of­fi­cers for helping us get my brother’s bike back,” he said.

“We’re glad it came back to us in good con­di­tion, even though a pouch seems to be miss­ing. But I guess that can’t be avoided con­sid­er­ing it had gone through so many peo­ple be­fore be­ing found.”

PHOTOS: TIFFANE GOH / FACE­BOOK

Mr Louis Lai (above) col­lapsed while rid­ing his 2014 Pivot Mach 6 bi­cy­cle (above right).

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