Man rides penny farthing during Car-Free Sunday 2024 in S’pore, complete with top hat & suit

Man with penny farthing seen during Car-Free Sunday 2024

A man was seen riding a penny farthing — an early form of the bicycle — at Car-Free Sunday, which took place yesterday (17 March).

He even completed the theme by sporting a top hat as well as a suit.

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

Many were amazed by the anachronistic sight and also took pictures with the man.

The penny farthing was a popular mode of transport and was an early form of the modern bicycle we know today before becoming obsolete in the 1880s.

Man rides penny farthing at Car-Free Sunday

The man, Rembrandt Struijk, shared a post about the event on the Love Cycling SG group on Sunday (17 March).

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

He also included many pictures of himself with his penning farthing at the event.

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

Unsurprisingly, his unconventional vehicle drew a lot of attention, with many members of the public stopping him for photos.

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

The eclectic ensemble was clearly a hit with event goers.

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

According to Mr Struijk, his penny farthing “held up well”, with “no loose bolts or accidents”.

He added that “the weather was good” and there were “beautiful blue skies”. However, it became “slightly hot after a while”.

We’re sure the suit must not have been the coolest on a Sunday morning.

Sight gains recognition online

It wasn’t only those at the event who were fascinated by Mr Struijk’s penny farthing.

When The Straits Times (ST) posted an image of Mr Struijk and his penny farthing, many on the r/singapore subreddit commented about how interesting it was.

They also acknowledged his commitment to sticking to the theme in full costume.

Source: Reddit

Another comment had just one word for the man: “Baller.”

Source: Reddit

Bicycle is more than 100 years old

Speaking to MS News, Mr Struijk said that he first learned how to ride the strange bicycle during a penny farthing tour through London in Aug 2023, which he joined with his wife when they were still living there.

After touring the city on it, they were inspired to get a penny farthing of their own. The idea struck at around the same time that they were moving to Singapore for his wife’s job as Head of Marketing APAC at Brompton.

Without much time to buy a new bike and ship it with their belongings, Mr Struijk found a 140-year-old one sold by bicycle enthusiast Colin at the Online Bicycle Museum.

The penny farthing finally arrived in Singapore in Jan 2024 via Kuala Lumpur, so he has only ever ridden it one other time before Car-Free Sunday.

Since the 45-year-old volunteer at Cycling Without Age Singapore lives in Newton with his wife, walking the bike all the way to the Civic District took some time. While he doesn’t ride it on the road for now as most road users aren’t used to the penny farthing, he welcomes the genuine reactions wholeheartedly:

It is so much fun to ride and see all the smiles from people when you pass. I am happy to answer their questions and let them take photos.

As the bicycle dates back to 1878, Mr Struijk said that it has fallen down quite a few times and is a bit wobbly, but this only adds to its charm.

Hopes to ride with friend who also owns a penny farthing

When asked why he decided to join Car-Free Sunday, Mr Struijk replied: “I thought the Car-Free Sunday was the perfect occasion to showcase this bike, which also serves as an art piece in our living room! I have added a Singapore Bicycle Registration plate (replica), a vintage Dutch bicycle registration plate and a Dutch head badge to the bike to make it a bit more personal.”

He had bought a top hat earlier to go with the bike, so he thought it was a good idea to dress up for the occasion despite the hot weather.

His friend, Mr James Killingsworth, also owns a penny farthing and was planning to attend Car-Free Sunday. Sadly, he had to be abroad that day and missed the event.

However, the pair hope to ride together during such an event next time.

Reflecting on his experience, Mr Struijk said:

Being Dutch, I am passionate about cycling. I hope that people saw how much fun I and all the other riders had last Sunday, and that they decide to either dust off their own bike or decide to buy one and just ride it!!

Car-Free Sunday held on 17 March

Car-Free Sunday took place on Sunday (17 March) and more than 1,000 showed up, according to ST.

2024 was the first time the event was taking place since October 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Car-Free Sunday 2024 “aims to create greater public awareness of the benefits of walking, cycling and taking public transport as sustainable ways to travel,” said the organisers, the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Without cars, cyclists could ride freely without cars on the streets in the city centre — a rare occurrence outside of the wee hours of the morning.

Source: Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook

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Featured image adapted from Rembrandt Struyk on Facebook.

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