Lazarus 'Laz' Muchemwa is a Zimbabwean born cyclist who came to South Africa looking for opportunity, but found a love of two wheels along the way.
"I have been riding bikes since I was five years old, but as I got bigger, I outgrew my bike and my Dad couldn't afford to replace my bikes. I used to bully the other kids in letting me ride their bikes," says Laz.
His early years were challenging. Laz's dad died when he was young and for many years, he lived on the charitable couches of friends. Thanks to cycling Laz has found purpose and has an even larger group of friends.
"I came from Zimbabwe looking for opportunity. I found opportunity and bicycles have been a way for me to be part of a scene," says Laz.
Due to Covid-19 Laz got retrenched, but instead of just sitting around at home waiting for better times, he went riding. Getting out of the house, with no real plan in mind, Laz fell in love with the experience of getting 'lost' on his bike and just riding for fun.
"I started riding with the guys from Ciovita, East City Cycles and Killat. I have gotten a lot of support from this group that comprises creatives, designers, people from all walks of life. Riding bicycles has allowed me to meet people who I wouldn't be able to meet if I had R1m in my bank account. We ride along and chat about all different things," says Laz.
Now employed in the telecommunications industry, Laz uses a Rook fixie to commute into the city and enjoys cruising through the streets of Cape Town.
"You see and experience things on a bike that you would never see from a car. I have recently started dabbling in gravel riding. Not competitively, but for the love of the sport. Rook Cycles have given me a Rook Scout to ride and I have enjoyed this journey as gravel riding is so similar yet so different to inner-city commuting."
"I have done several Gravel rides. With Ciovita we rode from Theewaterskloof to Greyton over a weekend. In comparison to urban riding, gravel riding is more like therapy, it allows me to test myself. This is not something I did when growing up. It allows me to experience something extraordinary. A 150km gravel bike ride is an opportunity to experience the outdoors and just like in other aspects of life, to find comfort in the discomfort," quips Laz.