CYCLING PRO RIDES TOUR DE FRANCE IN BIRKENSTOCKS
The Tour de France! Since 1903 the biggest bicycle race in the world. Every year, the best riders of the world push themselves beyond their limits and cycle more than 3,300 kilometers through France. They have to tackle more than 42,000 meters of elevation – up and down and up and down. Three weeks full of exertions and falls, victories and losses.
A lot has changed since the early days of the Tour. These days, team buses, physicians, supply vans with replacement bikes, food and drinks and team managers accompany the cyclists. Sometimes the teams even charter their own planes to get from the end of one stage to the start of the next.
But before all that, the Tour was something else entirely: every cyclist was on his own. The cyclists ate their meals in roadside cafés and had to fix their bikes themselves. The stages began before sunrise and were up to 450 kilometers long. Only a few cyclists actually managed to cross the finish line. And only the toughest of them all could win – and thus became a national hero.
This year, there was a revival of this original spirit of the Tour: a few hours before the peloton started this year’s Tour de France, the Australian rider Lachlan Morton (Team EF Education – NIPPO) set out on his own Tour (or torture?) de France. Without a team, without hotels, without massage therapists, without much of anything. He carried his luggage on his bike, spent the nights in the open air and even cycled the transfer routes from one stage to the next. Lachlan Morton: “That is just the purest form of cycling. It’s an adventure and it’s absolutely amazing.”
Morton raced through France – alone, but happy. Uphill, downhill. Since he didn’t make use of any shuttles from stage to stage, he even cycled 5,500 kilometers in 220 hours. What’s more, he also raised an amount of 420,000 € for World Bicycle Relief. His sponsor EF Education First (language schools) donated an additional 500 bikes for the kilometers he cycled.
Sometime in the middle of the Tour, however, circumstances almost put an abrupt end to Morton’s solo tour: his knees and feet caused him some trouble. To be able to continue his tour, he grabbed a pair of BIRKENSTOCK Arizona and kept going. Hundreds of miles – in comfortable EVA sandals. Lachlan Morton while cycling in sandals: “These sandals are amazing! I’m really enjoying them!”
After 18 days, he finally reached Paris. Five days before the peloton. Lachlan Morton completed a major part of the race in BIRKENSTOCK sandals instead of cycling shoes. As a happy finisher of the tour in the traditional way Morton says: “It was a completely different form of the sport. It was really inspiring. It’s a great feeling to see how little you actually need and to simply be happy with yourself.”