Thoughts from Colombia with Lachlan Morton
Follow Lachlan and World Bicycle Relief on their journey in Colombia
While Lachlan crossed the Tour de France finish line nearly a year ago, the Alt Tour road keeps going, as many of the bikes made possible by last summer’s donations will be distributed to young women in hopes of easing travel to schools in rural areas.
World Bicycle Relief is already hard at work in Colombia assembling bikes, training field mechanics and delivering the finished Buffalo bikes to students in rural parts of the country. Lachlan will spend a few days seeing first hand the impact the bikes are having in their local communities. Follow his journey through Colombia in his words here.
Day 1 - May 19, 2022 - Barranquilla, Colombia
Waking up in Barranquilla I was keen to get out and explore the surroundings the best way I know, by bike. Only problem was my bike was still stuck in Miami, Florida. Luckily for me some friends at World Bicycle Relief had a buffalo bike I could borrow for the day. The moment I swung my leg over and began pedaling I was transported to my own childhood. The simplicity of the bike and the basic agenda of taking in my surroundings filled me with an excitement that carried me through an ambitious 80km ride. We headed down the coast and back over a climb that had my legs trembling with fatigue. I barely noticed the extreme humidity as I enjoyed the simple pleasure that is riding a bike. It was a fantastic reminder of the reason I came down here. To witness the work World Bicycle Relief is doing to transform lives and communities with the humble bicycle.
After lunch we headed down to the assembly plant in town. We got to see the process by which the buffalo bikes are made ready for the recipients. The skill and efficiency of the local mechanics lacing wheels was humbling. Tomorrow I will have the chance to distribute some bikes and see their impact first hand. I can’t wait.
Day 2 - May 20, 2022 - Monteria, Colombia
The Alarm woke me up at 4:10am. We piled into the cars and headed out of Monteria towards a rural area beyond San Pelayo. There we met Velara, a young girl who was to receive a bike when she arrived at school. Her mother ran the small farm she lived on and the breakfast of fresh fruit , fried plantain and sweet coffee she prepared for us was above and beyond.
From there we walked the 4.5km she regularly walks to school. It was a beautiful but long walk. My cyclist legs were silenced only by my anticipation for the bike hand out that waited ahead. We received a festive reception upon our arrival to the school and the excitement amongst the kids was evident. After some speeches, local dancing and music the time do hand over bikes came. The joy on all the recipients faces was something truly magic. Only upon witnessing this joy first hand did I truly understand the importance of the work world bicycle relief is doing.Instantaneous independence and empowerment. Truly a beautiful thing to see.
We raced and laughed riding up the dirt road that lead to the school speaking the universal language of bikes.