• Lachlan Morton's Alt Tour raised funds for World Bicycle Relief, a program that aims to moblise communities. (World Bicycle Relief)Source: World Bicycle Relief
The AU$1 million raised globally through Lachlan Morton's solo ride of the Tour de France, the Alt Tour, will be used to support a three-year moblised communities program in Malawi, focused on creating a sustainable bicycle ecosystem in Kasungu.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

4 Dec 2021 - 8:49 AM 

In July, Port Macquarie local Lachlan Morton undertook one of the most ambitious challenges of his endurance riding career. He set out to ride the entire route of the 2021 Tour de France, including all the transfers - some 5,510 kilometres covered, 65,500 metres of elevation - and beat the peloton to Paris.

Lachlan Morton reflects upon his epic Alt Tour journey.

This he accomplished with flying colours, though in the typical, laidback style of the Australian professional cyclist, there wasn’t much pomp or circumstance about the low-key arrival in Paris. This also belied the fact that Morton, in conjunction with clothing sponsor Rapha and team EF-Education Nippo, raised over AU$1million for World Bicycle Relief, an organisation that provides sturdy bikes to disadvantaged communities where increasing mobility improves people’s lives.

In addition to the Alt Tour, Rapha’s recent Black Friday Ride garnered 138,000 participants, raising AU$248,000.

The funds will be used to support a three-year Mobilised Communities program in Malawi, focused on creating a sustainable bicycle ecosystem in Kasungu. In addition to the distribution of almost 1,400 Buffalo Bicycles, the fundraising support will ensure World Bicycle Relief can help train local mechanics, establish a market-based spare parts supply chain, set up social enterprise retail shops, and ensure community ownership of the program.

The Malawi project will not launch until 2022, but the program is similar to World Bicycle Relief’s work in neighbouring country Zambia. There, a multi-phase program saw Kasungu identified as a community that would benefit from increased mobility, partnerships were made, bikes delivered to needy people and an ongoing legacy of a moblised community is still being supported.

Since 2006, World Bicycle Relief has distributed more than 560,000 bicycles and trained over 2,500 bicycle mechanics in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Evidence that their programs are having an impact include a 28% reduction in absenteeism for female students (based on a randomised control trial in Zambia), an 88% increase in patient visits by community healthcare workers (based on a USAID-funded activity with PATH in Kenya), and a 23% increase in farmer monthly income (based on a partnership with the Palabana Dairy Cooperative in Zambia).

The overall goal of World Bicycle Relief is to distribute 1 million bicycles and empower 5 million people by 2025. You can find out more about the charitable organisation here, with links to donate here.