After 5,510 km, Lachlan Morton has finished his Alt Tour de France more than five days ahead of the peloton. The EF Education-Nippo rider arrived in Paris in the early hours of July 13, after riding the entire Tour de France route unsupported, including all transfers.
The challenge was inspired by the inaugural 1903 edition of the Tour de France. Along with every stage of the Tour, the Australian rode an additional 2,400 km and 15,000 m of elevation in 18 days. Morton camped, fixed a number of mechanicals and punctures and had to seek out his own food and water.
The ride was in support of World Bicycle Relief. To kick-start the effort, team sponsors EF Education and Rapha each donated 1,000 bikes to the organization. In total, £398,148 was raised to provide bikes to those who need them most.
“Everybody at World Bicycle Relief has been blown away at Lachlan’s mammoth effort on our behalf,” said Allison Dufosee, CEO of World Bicycle Relief UK. “We have many fundraisers who undertake challenges to raise funds for us, for which we are incredibly grateful. When considering a challenge, thoughts are usually about the distance and how long that will take. However, the thousands of recipients of the bicycles that Lachlan has raised through incredible global generosity have no choice about the time or distance of their challenge. They race from the moment the sun rises until sunset. The addition of a Buffalo Bicycle into the hands of a child will raise up that girl, boy, family, and community, giving mobility to those who have only ever walked.”
The final grind
Morton averaged close to 300km each day, with an average riding speed of 24km/h. On Monday morning, he set off on the final and longest stage to reach the French capital, riding through the night to cover a total distance of 579km in 19 hours.
His father surprised him before his last few stages, and was there to support him as he did his final laps around the Champs-Elysee as he marked an emotional end to a trying two weeks. A number of so-called “dot-watchers”, who followed Morton’s live tracking on the Alt Tour webpage, were there to cheer him on on his last few kilometres as well.