A hand cyclist, 12-year-old Zach Legward, will this year be honoured during the 17th Outeniqua Cycle Challenge, a wheelchair race that takes place in George and attracts athletes from all over the world, for the many milestones he has reached during his short career.

The race is due to take place on September 14. Organised by the Disabled Road Race Foundation and entrepreneur Alewijn Dippenaar, the challenge will see athletes compete in racing wheelchairs, adapted bicycles, hand cycles, basketball chairs, and wheelchairs.

Zach has won gold in the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge three times and participated in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Junior.

He wrote himself into the record books when he rode the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour 50km in 2018, and he also participated in the 94.7 race.

Born with gastroschisis, a condition where the bowels develop outside the body, Zach had corrective surgery shortly after birth which had complications, which then left him paralysed from the waist down.

Although he was confined to a wheelchair, he wanted a bicycle.

His father Geoff said: “Unfortunately, you can’t just walk into a shop and buy one, so, four years ago, we made him his first one out of two steel BMX bikes.

"Two years later, we made him a proper race bike. It took us five months of late nights and hard work to finish his bike, using pictures and dimensions downloaded from the internet, but now he is flying.”

He added that Zach enjoyed cycling because it gave him freedom.

Over the years, Zach became a firm favourite at competitions, astounding crowds with his ability.

More information and entry forms can be found at www.georgeocc.co.za