What’s it like? What does it feel like? To be free, to feel the wind on your face, under the wide open African sky, rolling fields around you, the Magaliesberg lying about in the distance. Maybe under the tree lined streets of Joburg with a canopy of jacaranda blossoms making a purple arcade. No noise, no pollution, just your own energy making it happen. Escaping from it all, focussing on the road ahead while the you park the rest of life’s stresses. A bicycle makes that possible.
We ride bikes as often as we can in and around Joburg. Summer or winter you will find us out there, stretching our legs and getting away from it all. We are Alchemy Cycling Club. A bunch of guys started New Horizons Cycling Club and Esmero Cycling Club ages ago and always rode around in the same neighbourhood. It made sense that someday we would get together and form one club.
Out of that reaction, Alchemy was born
What will you find at Alchemy? We love riding our bikes and do so as often as we possibly can, sharing our knowledge and having fun while we're at it. You may ask what is "The Difference"? Every member at our club is welcomed and made to feel at home. At first we may only recognise your bike, but soon enough we will know your name and you may even end up with a nickname. Whether you are a weekend warrior or elite racer, there is a place for you at ACC.
Club rides are scheduled every weekend, where we do our best to bring every rider home safely. Time has proven to us the importance of consistency, so we make sure there is a ride every week (except when there are races). Training rides are planned, mapped, and communicated so every Alchemist knows what to expect on a ride. There is a method to the madness, and we intend to get as many Alchemists as we can, to elevate their ability and achieve their aspirations.
In addition to training rides, the club organises time trials, tours, and training camps.
Try it out before you sign up
Guest riders are more than welcome to ride with us under the direction of our Ride Captain and Marshalls to experience "The Difference" for 3 rides, and thereafter we anticipate that you will join the club.
Alchemy itself is a new presence in the cycling fraternity. It is a rather different story, when it comes to the dissolved clubs that make up Alchemy. Between the two clubs, there is a combined 28 years of history and countless kilometres of cycling mileage.
In apartheid South Africa, cycling was the domain of predominantly white people, and riders of colour found it extremely difficult to train or participate in events. There were no friendly smiles, nor coffee invites and a rider of colour was treated as an outcast. Even post apartheid, arriving at an event one was met with hard stares in the start pen.
In the early 2000’s a group of riders on Joburg’s West Rand decided that things had to change. Led by Malcolm Hassen, Shahad Khan, Dawood Davids and Zunaid Receit, New Horizons Cycling Club was formed. [Click here to access New Horizons old club archives of personal diaries and race reports] Riders who previously rode on their own now had a home of their own and the club grew. It was a place where your age, colour, creed, religion, or orientation did not matter. Everyone was greeted and welcomed to their new home, soon earning a nickname and as the years progressed rider numbers increased.
A riding culture was developed based on sharing knowledge and skills. At every ride there was a laugh and a lesson shared, all with the intention of developing camaraderie and riding skill.
Out of New Horizons, another club formed – Esmero Cycling Club, initially started by Zunaid Receit, Pieter Avenant, Rowan Thatchell, Kurt Geneapril and Julian de Saldanha. Both clubs shared the same passion and love for cycling, which became a rivalry of note. As our rides tended to cover similar routes, we would often find ourselves together on the home stretch resulting an intense sprint up Ontdekkers Road.
It was not all training though, and at events our jerseys were often side by side in the races that we contested pitting the rivalry to play out fully. Over the years both our kits would come to be well recognised in the cycling fraternity.
With the sponsorship of Inter-active Technologies, New Horizons fielded a men’s racing team which competed with much larger and well-established racing teams, holding our own within the racing elites. At the same time Esmero partnered with Demacon to create an elite ladies racing team who dominated the scene scoring a number of podia while they competed.
As time passed, we soon realised the value of riding as one team instead of riding side by side in the same neighbourhood. We started off with joint rides to establish closer links with each other, for members to form new friendships and to appreciate the different riding cultures that existed in each team. Soon enough our members signalled that they were ready to join up, which resulted in the formation of Alchemy and the dissolution of Esmero and New Horizons.
Chairman — Owen Coetzee
Vice Chair — Imran Abbas
Treasurer — Yumna Emeran
Secretary — Kurt Geneapril
PRO and Marketing — Zak Adams
Events Co-ordinator — Dawood Davids