Beijing by sidecar

Attention: open in a new window.  E-mail| Print | Bookmark Added: 29.06.2010, 15:36

Looking for something more adventurous and personalised than a double-decker bus tour? Then head for Beijing and hop into a 1930s-style Chang Jiang 750 motorbike-with-sidecar.
 

London has the ubiquitous double-decker bus, Amsterdam its canal tours, and in Melbourne you hop on and off a tram. Beijing, though, does things differently. The Chang Jiang 750 sidecar-motorbike has been in production since the early 1950s, and while motorcycle enthusiasts have long had an affectionate place for it, its recent resurgence has spilt over to tourism.
 

Gael Thoreau of Beijing Sideways explains: “Roaring through the traffic – or along the country roads towards the Great Wall – really allows one to feel and smell and see the city, much more than from a chauffeured car or bus.”
 

Gael, who moved to Beijing from Brittany, France 10 years ago has a well-oiled team of trained drivers and guides, who organise a range of day, evening, or half-day inner city tours, and longer tours to lesser-visited areas of the Great Wall.
 

Up to 20 thrill-seekers at a time zoom along the busy roads, lanes, and byways of China’s capital in these renovated three-wheel antiques. With the wind in your hair (helmets are optional) and the smells of the city all around, the unique visual perspective coupled with the vicarious feeling of being part of a one-day motorcycle gang, are as much a part of the experience as the sights themselves.
 

As well as tackling Beijing ‘essentials’, such as the imposing Forbidden City, Ming Dynasty-era Tiananmen Square, and iconic ‘Bird’s NestOlympic stadium, the CJ750 is also able to negotiate the city’s bustling hutongs (lanes) – too narrow to visit by car – which offer a rich cameo of life in Beijing before the advent of skyscrapers and steel. And the mode of transport makes it easy to stop for any reason, such as enjoying a cup of tea at Gulou, or exploring the flea market at Panjiayuan.
 

Feel the need for the open road? Then take a one-day or overnight tour to the Great Wall. En route, you’ll stop at the astonishing Zhang-Laffitte, built by multi-millionaire real estate developer Zhang Yuchen as a copy of the 17th-century baroque Château de Maisons-Laffitte, to which he added two wings from the Palace of Fontaineb-leau. It includes a hotel, spa, and – fittingly – a wine museum.
 

Climbing out of the well-padded sidecars at the Great Wall, take a short hike through orchards of walnut, peach, and cherry trees, before traversing a more deserted portion of the Wall and settling down to a well-earned picnic with a Parisian flair. After another hike to take in the spectacular panoramic views of the countryside, your newly-formed ‘gang’ rejoins the vintage bikes in a different location, then rides back into town as the sun sets.



CJ750s Around The World

While tour companies like Beijing Sideways offer a thrilling three-wheel experience, the CJ750 has fans across the world, from rentals in the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (www.sidecars.co.za), to mechanics in Montreal – who all meet at the community web site www.cj750.org.
 

Danny ‘California’ Woody – whose machines can be seen on the second floor of the Shanghai Ritz Carlton – produces some of the finest CJ750 restorations. Danny’s sidecars include special details for the ultra-vintage look, such as a shower hose to cover cables, and feature flawless paint jobs.
?www.vsidecars.com



Beijing, China
Distance: 6,164 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: Daily

> Book Now
Write comment

Write the displayed characters:

security code
smaller | bigger

busy

Oryx Magazine December 2016

Oryx Cover December 2016


View the Oryx eMagazine archive

Oryx Premium December 2016

Oryx Premium Cover December 2016


View the Oryx Premium eMagazine archive

Oryx Updates

If you would like to be notified
when the magazine is updated,
please click below
 

Email updates

Latest Features

  • From the mountains... with love

    If you’re looking for inspiration for a romantic snow-filled getaway, then look no further. For many... 
  • A heart-warming winter in Denmark

    If you’re looking for cheer during dark December days, then Denmark provides plenty of hygge. Writer and... 
  • Qatar: Past and present

    Qatar celebrates its National Day on December 18, commemorating the birth of the modern state.  

Most read

Comments

Copyright © 2009 ORYX Digital Magazine. All rights reserved.

Powered by Agency Fish   |  Endorsed by Qatar Airways