Side-car man

Chris Canterbury

Photo courtesy of Chris Canterbury

For the person who has always dreamed of riding in a motorcycle side car, Chico resident Chris Canterbury can make it happen. He builds them for people all over the world. He also uses his mechanical and welding skills to do BMW motorcycle restoration, build overland vehicles, and create (weld) metal art, such as gates and water features. He puts about 90 hours a week into his business, Boxer Metal. In his leisure time, Canterbury camps with his wife and two daughters in their Volkswagen Bus. Contact Canterbury at or

How did you get into welding and mechanics?

I was born and raised around it [in the Monterey area]. My dad always had hot rods and race cars and motorcycles, so he and his friends were my influence my whole life. My dad took me everywhere when I was a kid. We were always at the races or at a friend’s shop. I grew up in a VW car dealership. My first business was detailing cars.

Why did you gravitate toward BMWs?

German engineering. Over-built and understated.

How did you end up building side cars?

Somebody offered me a really inexpensive side car. I had never thought in my life before that I’d ever want to ride with a sidecar, but I figured, why not, so I bought it. My first attempt failed—I tried to put it on an old Triumph motorcycle. I did some research, and I took a BMW motorcycle and attached the sidecar to that. I put about 30,000 miles on it the first year I had it, and I fell in love with it and decided it was time to build something on my own from scratch for the first time. Then my friends wanted side cars, so I built more.

What’s ahead?

I want to continue building fun vehicles for people, manufacturing my own parts and building my [company’s] name, Boxer Metal. And I want to keep traveling. We love traveling.

Have advice for others who want to start their own business?

Do something you’re passionate about!

What do you like about owning your own business?

The stress of making a living—I love that. It’s motivating to me. Calling the shots on my own creativity. And the freedom to come and go when I want.