What is tougher than the Tour de France (opens in new tab)? Lachlan Morton’s Alt Tour ride. The EF Education-Nippo rider is known for his daring and often off-the-wall cycling adventures, and his latest challenge represents a tortuously ambitious ride, inspired by the early additions of the Tour de France.
Morton will be on the road for 23 days, riding unsupported. He aims to beat the pro peloton to Paris, despite riding an additional 2,400km. The scale of Morton’s latest Alternative Calendar ride is staggering, with a route of 5,510km totalling 65,000m of elevation, in only 23 days. And no, he won’t be taking a single rest day.
Morton's route recreates much of the original 1903 Tour de France event. He will complete 21 stages, with much of the additional distance compounded by transfers, the longest of which will be a ride in excess of 700km to reach Paris.
That means riding with all his support gear and bikepacking essentials, which makes this arguably one of the toughest bikepacking routes in the world.
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A ride to get more bikes to those in need
The expected ride time is estimated to be 238 hours. Morton isn’t unfamiliar with epic rides - the Australian won the inaugural GBDURO in 2019 (a 2,000km self-supported bikepacking enduro from Land's End to John O'Groats) as well as setting an Everesting world record in June last year, just a week after his first attempt at the record fell short by an elevation discrepancy. But why is he attempting this frightful Alt Tour route? For a very worthy cycling welfare cause.
Rapha and EF Education-Nippo will each be donating 500 bikes to the World Bicycle Relief non-profit organization. That means that Morton’s suffering on his huge French ride will deliver 1,000 bikes to people who desperately need two-wheeled mobility. Not for sport or an outlet of activity, but as an enabler to access markets, employment, essential services or educational opportunities.
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Although the prospect of riding more than 5,000km in three and half weeks without any teammates to carry some of the burden is fearsome, Morton is motivated.
“I’m excited to explore the origins of cycling and see for myself just how different the experience is. It’s a challenge that in many ways combines the two elements of cycling I have pursued the most, exploration and competition.”
Morton's live progress can be dot-watched at Rapha (opens in new tab).