Penny-Farthing rider Arie Liefhebber
The world from a different perspective
Back then, it was the status symbol of wealthy English men to be on an equal standing with aristocratic riders. Invented in Great Britain in 1870, the penny-farthing still attracts all the attention today. In particular when Arie Liefhebber dressed in historical clothing, is riding it and is looking at the world from a different perspective.
The reigning European and world champion in penny-farthing racing appears to glide effortlessly through the countryside on an antiquated vehicle. Pedalling on the penny-farthing is not without danger: it had just been invented when it was banned again in many cities back then. It had no real brake and a fall from a lofty height often ended in death, which gave the penny-farthing the name “widow maker”. Arie Liefhebber also had his problems at first: “At a height of two and a half metres you are unstable and your body is directly above the shaft of the front wheel. You feel every bump on the ground and always run the risk of rolling forwards.”
At the very top of the penny-farthing
The bicycle dealer from Utrecht discovered his unusual hobby in 2013. When he learned that the Tour de France would start in his home town in 2015, he sought an idea to literally stand out from the crowd as a local dealer – and learned to ride a penny-farthing. At the events related to the Tour de France, Liefhebber became a nostalgic attention-grabber and even featured on the 8 o’clock evening news on television. He acquired a taste for it and signed up for international races. He finished in third place in his first race in Bruges, one year later he became European champion and in 2018 he won the World championship “to his own surprise”.
Equipped with SKS products
Tradition and innovation complement each other perfectly, as demonstrated on the world champion’s penny-farthing: besides an SKS bottle holder, the COMPIT smartphone holder is also mounted on the handlebars. Arie Liefhebber uses the SKS MYBIKE app for navigation and likes to use the digital bell. “Without history, there is no progress. Today’s modern technology always has to start somewhere,” he points out. “The penny-farthing was reinvented after only twenty years and replaced with chain-driven models. The same applies to SKS GERMANY, which has been producing better and better products over time – and therefore reinventing the wheel for 100 years.”