Active Citizen #1 – Romain Rainaut
Active Citizens is a Journey City Guides series where we interview the people who participate in making their own city a vibrant and exciting place. With each new guide we ask questions to two personalities: an entrepreneur deeply rooted in its city and the owner of a business featured in our city guide.
For our very first Parisian guide and very first Active Citizen(!), we interviewed Romain Rainaut, founder of CYD.
Romain is a Parisian-born entrepreneur. He is the founder of CYD, a company promoting new ways to practice sport in the city that first started as a community of like-minded runners.
Romain has lived in Barcelona and London where he worked in finance for several years. It’s in London that he developed a strong taste in sport and athletic performance. He is an avid cyclist and an Ironman finisher.
Hi Romain, could you tell us more about yourself?
Hi, I was born and raised in Paris, but worked almost 9 years in London in asset management. I came back in Paris three years ago and rediscovered my hometown with great pleasure!
During the last two-three years of my stay in London I started to run and cycle a lot with my roommate Augustin. We liked it so much that we participated in triathlons. I even finished the Zurich Ironman in 2014. I got so hooked on running and cycling that when I came back in Paris I decided that I would launch a sports business.
What is CYD, and what led you to start this adventure?
Like I said, I was really into sports when I came back and at first I wanted to launch a sports clothing company. In parallel I was actively training in Paris but it was not as fun as before since Augustin had stayed in London for work. So I told a few friends that I had my own personal bootcamp each Wednesday in Le Jardin des Tuileries and that they could join me if they wanted to.
It was not the best timing because it was in January-February 2015, a particularly cold winter in Paris, but the group was growing anyway and I thought I could leverage this budding community of friends and friends of friends for my sports clothing brand. When summer arrived the community suddenly ballooned and I decided to focus on that instead as I knew then that something was happening. That’s how CYD started.
CYD is not a tech company but we use digital tools to challenge, motivate and gather all those peoples on all our playgrounds
Today we like to say that CYD is the anti sports club. A new and different way to practice sport: together, living experiences, in atypical places. What led us, my partner and I, to launch CYD was that people were increasingly engaging in sports activities but through structures of the past: the gyms for example, did not offer anything to match what people really wanted.
What we do is we use new playgrounds (streets, hotels, corporate offices) to promote our modern vision of sport / lifestyle, create communities in order to push people to live a different experience.
The “street-running” experience is entirely free. It’s a urban bootcamp supervised by people like you and me who are into sports and appreciate the social experience. We have now 4 sessions per week in Paris and one session per week in a few other cities throughout France. The other bootcamps are organized with our clients such as Facebook, Google, Fred & Farid…
We are not a tech company but we use digital tools to challenge, motivate and gather all those peoples on all our playgrounds. You can be disruptive in the experience you offer. Today with all our playgrounds combined we gather nearly 3,000 people per month and we hope that everybody has a unique experience. This is what makes us proud. And it’s already a success for me anyway because I met my soon-to-be wife thanks to ConquerYourDay!
What is next for you and CYD?
The future of CYD will be able to offer to all those people gathered, new playgrounds, in order for them to :
– Stop being a member of gym where they pay without going. ConquerYourDay is free
– Challenge themselves and meet new people. Our sports experience is also a social one
– Stop being harassed by the marketing of Nike and Adidas. ConquerYourDay is completely brand-free
– Live something different
Next September is a decisive step for CYD as we will have a few exciting announcement to make. CYD’s future is promising!
Getting back to your life in the city, how long have you been living in Paris?
I came back three years ago. Before that I was in London for nine years, and Barcelona for one year, for my studies.
Where do you live in Paris and what do you like about your neighborhood?
I live the in the Ninth arrondissement. Just below Montmartre – Pigalle. What some bearded men riding their fixies would call SOPI (South Pigalle). I like the liveliness, the mess, the smell, the crowd. Would I want to spend all my life here? Not sure. But I like it for the time being. I also love that so many new places are opening in the area. Do you remember my roommate Augustin? Well his sister just opened a restaurant – chez Prout. – that became my cantine.
Where do you go to escape the city for a weekend?
I just love going to the countryside and take the opportunity to hike and cycle. My family has a house in a very small village near Carcassonne. The perfect place to unwind! And great hilly roads for a cycle run. My fiancée loves Brittany too. We go out on runs together along the coast.
Otherwise I am always up for a quick city trip in Europe. I was in Milan and Amsterdam recently where I actually discovered some cool addresses thanks to Journey City Guides!
What’s your favorite city to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
My favorite city is definitely London. Even after 9 years there I am still rediscovering it every time I go, at every corner there is something attracting your eye, there are lots of opening, new trends. Might sound “cliché” but if you haven’t been there you can’t understand it !
My next trip is in Italy. My wife-to-be, Eleonore, is a big fan of the country so we are traveling along the Amalfi Coast in October. And I don’t really know Athens so I am planning a weekend there as well. Don’t say anything, she doesn’t know 😉
Have any tips for me?