‘Conflicts are a bike ride away, all over the world.’ — Lachlan Morton.
Not everyone would ride a bicycle into a war zone to protest a war. Austrian cyclist Lachlan Morton, as ever, is an exception.
The celebrated cyclist announced today that he’d ride to the Ukrainian border to support relief efforts in the war-torn country. His ride starts in Munich, Germany, and will raise money for GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
Morton plans to pedal a massive 660 miles in one push this weekend. On his route, he’ll head northeast through Czechia into Poland on his way to his Polish/Ukrainian border town destination. You can track Morton’s progress here.
Lachlan Morton: Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund
Morton hopes to raise $50,000 for Ukrainian refugees through the effort. To help maximize the impact, Education First (EF), Cannondale, and Rapha have combined to donate $100,000 to GlobalGiving’s fund.
Through the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, GlobalGiving works with local partners to provide Ukrainian refugees with immediate aid, including shelter, food, clean water, and health resources. It also offers psychological support and access to education and economic assistance.
War Lands on Ukrainian Teammate’s Lap
Morton and his Ukrainian teammate Mark Padun felt the war’s impact immediately. The two were in Spain for the Gran Camiño race when they heard that Russia had invaded Padun’s homeland. Sitting at the breakfast table, the realization that Padun’s friends and family were now living in a war zone resonated.
“That made it hit closer to home, having a teammate who is directly impacted by it,” Morton told EF Pro Cycling. “I found it hard to focus on trying to get ready for a race when something so significant was happening in the world.”
Morton said he kept checking Google Maps to remind himself how close his location was to Ukraine. Eventually, the proximity generated the idea for the benefit ride.
“I kept thinking, wow, I could actually do that in one ride,” he said. “So that was my idea … to highlight the fact that war is not a far-off problem. Conflicts are a bike ride away, all over the world. That’s the intention behind it, and to try and raise as much money as we can to help out people who have been displaced.”
Padun knows plenty of such people. He said he doesn’t see a comprehensive solution to the conflict but appreciates Morton’s initiative.
“Honestly, I don’t know what people should do. I don’t know what I personally can do,” he says. “It is difficult to fully concentrate because you are aware that a war is still happening in your country. What the people of Ukraine need is for the war to be stopped. But what Lachlan is doing is good. The more people who are speaking about this, the better.”
How to Donate
If you’re looking for a way to make an impact on Ukrainian refugees, this might be it. Morton said he hopes to raise money and awareness of the cause and help drive home the reality of the war for a bigger audience.
“It feels like it is some far-off, distant terrible thing that is going on, that is almost a world away. But the reality is that it is not. So, I hope that covering that distance on a bike, and interacting with people on the way, will help to cement the reality of it a bit more.”
You can learn more about GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund and Morton’s “One ride away” campaign here. As of this writing, supporters had donated $32,294.