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Riding sideways to success
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-10 17:58

Riding sideways to success

Frenchman Thomas Chabrieres describes his life in Shanghai as "200km/h". Courtesy of Thomas Chabrieres

Just two years ago, Thomas Chabrieres was working as a marketing executive for an international advertising agency in Beijing and life was plodding along nicely. Then, something happened to catapult him into a brave new world.

His very demanding Paris boss was visiting Beijing and wanted a good time and it fell upon the young Frenchman's job to make that happen.

Chabrierers organized a ride to the Great Wall in a WWII-motorcycle sidecar followed by a picnic of red wine, cheese and baguette.

The Parisian big shot was absolutely delighted, especially with the Changjiang 750cc motorbike.

Chabrierers' sidecar bike is now parked in front of his office in the French concession where edgy restaurants and chic boutiques share space with traditional Shanghainese housing.

Soon after the boss' visit, the 30-year-old French expat trashed his office suit and went all out to make his passion his living.

"Forget about the money, forget about the career, and forget about the way people look at you" was his credo when founding his startup Shanghai Sideways.

"I love to ride my bike, I love to discover Shanghai, an amazing city that's always changing, and I love people. That's why I set up Shanghai Sideways."

Raised in the south of France and graduating from a business school in Paris, Chabrieres ended up to Beijing and then Shanghai to work in website production and advertising.

"My family has a quite long history with China. We first came here in the 19th century to do some trading in Guangzhou. Since then we have always had an interest in China but my sister and I are actually the first generation to live here," he says.

Shanghai Sideways is Chabrierers' very own and unique approach to tourism. For 1,000 yuan ($146), people can seat themselves in a 1930s sidecar and discover Shanghai in a four-hour tour.

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