Day 1: Reaching our destination

Today, we arrive in Wangqingtuo, the self-proclaimed China’s center of bicycle manufacturing. The saying goes, the world’s bikes are made in China, China’s bikes are made in Tianjin, and Tianjin’s bikes are made in Wangqingtuo. We leave Beijing eager to learn about how bicycles are made and designed in a rural Chinese enterprise, and how the close-knit family and friend networks in the town intersects with bicycles and business. Off we go!

On the 20-minute train from Beijing to Tianjin Wuqing Station
Such a quick ride! Only 30 minutes — we’re almost there! (Billboard says: Wangqingtuo, China’s bicycle manufacturing center, warmly welcomes you.)

Just kidding, the driver passes the highway exit — twice — and soon we find ourselves in another province altogether, 20km away.

Alice gives directions to a very lost driver who took us on an hour-long joyride of rural Hebei
The streets are alive with all types of vehicles big and small, carrying everything from logs to children.
Sanheshun’s front entrance

An hour later, we reach our destination Sanheshun Children’s Bicycles at last! It is a 19-year-old company on the edge of Wangqingtuo town. The development district that Wangqingtuo is in is filled with bicycle and electric bike factories.

The feast beginning

We happen to come on a day where the company is having a backyard barbeque! On the table is a 20kg fish and a freshly slaughtered lamb. We are warmly invited to join the feast.

Enjoying the feast are 30 employees who head various departments at Sanheshun.

This picture is unusually quiet — pretty soon everyone is standing and walking around and offering cheers to each other and to the Sanheshun family with copious amounts of Baijiu, beer and sour plum juice.

With a full belly and feeling like we’ve joined a big family, we return to our hotel for the night. We don’t quite know what is in store for the next few days, but fully look forward to learn and share more updates as we go!

This is part 1 of a 6-part series. See part 2: Factory, Taobao, Rain

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