An attempt to break the long-standing record for non-stop cycling on a tandem from Land’s End to John O’Groats is on this weekend, with Dominic Irvine and Glenn Longland heading off tomorrow for 840 miles of non-stop cycling over just over two days.
You can follow the team's progress throughout the attempt on their live GPS tracker.
The record, which has stood for nearly half a century, by Pete Swinden and John Withers was set at two days, two hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds in 1966.
Dominic and Glenn hope to beat it, and in the process raise funds for Heart Research UK, having already been pledged £8,000.
In 2011 we reported how the Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell didn’t quite manage to beat the record, when he and Jerone Walters were forced to stop just 70 miles before the finish line.
Dominic said: “A huge amount of teamwork has gone into making this record attempt possible; from the MSc Applied Sports Sciences students at the University of Winchester using science to help improve our riding, to the guys at Orbit Tandems who specially designed our amazing bike, as well as our coaches, medics, route-planners and my amazing physio Dr. Claire Ryall.
“With the dedication and training we've all put in, myself and Glenn have a real shot at breaking this record. The weather also looks favourable, with a light tailwind forecast for most of the way, so we’re very excited to get going on Sunday.”
A typical End-to-End touring ride takes about ten days, though riders doing it for fun usually take a longer route than the 840-mile track Irvine and Longland will use.
The solo men’s record is just over 40 hours (40:04:20, set in 2001 by Gethin Butler) so on paper the tandem record looks vulnerable, tandems usually being faster than solo bikes.
In 2012, Dominic and Ian Rodd rode the full distance, but missed the record by more than eight hours after Irvine became ill early in the ride. They are thought to be the only team to have ridden the distance non-stop since Swinden and Withers.
After that attempt, Irvine described the record as “unfinished business” and now he’s back with one of the legends of British time trialling, Glenn Longland.
Longland was the first rider to average more then 25mph in a 12-hour time trial when he set a record of 300.8 miles in 1991 on the way to winning the British Best All-Rounder time trial title for the second time.
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After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.