Update #3: FROM CHINA WITH LOVE
Agustin Augustinoy here–also known as Agus and “The Ninja” – CTO, co-founder and chief engineer of Gi FlyBike.
I’m writing to you now from Shanghai and I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about my work here handling the production of Gi FlyBike with our partner Yadea. The best way to dig into life and work in China is to take you through my typical day.
6:00 AM: Wake up call. Breakfast: fried fish, rice, omelets, lots of spicy food. Different from what I am used to in Argentina, but tasty nonetheless.
7:00 AM: Onto my electric bike that Yadea gave me. Yes. Yadea loaned me an electric bicycle for personal use and for my daily commute. The bike is no Gi FlyBike, but it does the trick. China’s bike infrastructure is incredible. They literally have bike highways and everybody uses them.
7:30 AM: Five miles (10 km) later and I am at the Yadea factory. It is visually stunning. Designed by a German architect, Yadea is an enormous structure made of thick glass and stone. As one of the largest e-vehicle facilities in the world, Yadea boasts massive storage areas with thousands of units as well as testing facilities filled with impressive equipment.
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM: In the office. People greet me kindly, with a smile and a good morning in Chinese. I smile back and greet them in English. The people that I am working with are intelligent, creative and honest. I am not only learning a lot about bicycle engineering and design, but I am also learning a lot about the culture of their workplace. Their cultural workplace is not so different from that of our own -- Yadea, like Gi FlyBike, prides itself on hard work, happiness and quality. People walk around with smiles on their faces, proud of what they are doing. I enjoy waking up for work in the morning knowing that I will be with people who can make Gi FlyBike the best it can possible be.
12:00 PM: Free lunch! Sometimes I don’t know what I am eating but everything tastes really good. I spend lunch talking with my coworkers. We laugh at the language barrier.
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM: So what are we doing exactly to make Gi FlyBike the best that it can possibly be? Yesterday, for example, we reviewed and tested the aluminum alloy we will be using. The material is great. I am happy with its levity and strength. The day before we sampled 800 different colors of paint. Right now we are deciding which shade of white will look best on the frame. The paint sampling room is very cool -- it has special lights that recreate the lighting and temperature of a sunny day so as to know exactly how the paint will appear on the bike. Each day brings a new challenge, a new objective.
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Spend my afternoons traveling to different providers of standard parts. I have visited dozens of factories: from Zoom to Shimano to Bosh and Bafang. The very best bicycle brands have factories and warehouses in China. My counterparts at Yadea advise me on each and every decision I make. Ultimately, I get to choose the very best for Gi FlyBike. I’m enjoying the process because it is fun and collaborative.
6:00 PM: At sunset I ride my electric bike home. While it is bedtime here, the rest of the FlyBike team is waking up in Argentina and New York... Which means that I stay up late to update and support them. I remind them that I need to sleep, and they let me go. I crash and wake up amped and thankful that I have the opportunity to work another day in Shanghai.