These bicycles were found in Founder Liem Seeng Tee’s mountain
home in Prigen, an hour from Surabaya. It is believed that they were
precious assets of his, most probably used by himself during his early life.
Sampoerna’s founder Liem Seeng Tee became independent at the age
of 11. Leaving his foster family in Bojonegoro, the orphan began working
on the railroad. Effectively homeless, he started out hawking food carried in
a sarong to travelers in the lower class compartments journeying between
Jakarta and Surabaya.
Young Seeng Tee spent 18 months jumping onto moving rail cars in the
middle of the night, with all possession strapped to his back in a canvass
bedroll. When his savings was enough to buy a second hand bicycle, he
started a new business plying charcoal up and down the streets of Surabaya.