Two British women are on track to break the world record for being the fastest cyclists to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem. Cat Dixon and Raz Marsden set off from the UK on June 29 and have now reached New Zealand. They are confident they will beat the women’s record of 320 days, but would also like to beat the overall record which currently stands at 283 days.
Dixon and Marsden are riding for Oxfam and for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and their initial aim is to raise £1 a mile for the 18,000-mile trip.
At the time of writing, their fundraising page says they’re up to £17,633, so it looks like they’ll soon need to set a new target.
York Press reports that their route so far has taken them through France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey and into Georgia, where they flew to India.
After India, they rode through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and then Australia.
The return leg will see them cross New Zealand before flying to the United States. They will then head back to Europe via Morocco, crossing Spain and France en route to Oxford.
You can follow their progress on their website.
Dixon said that with the recent heatwave, Australia had proven the most difficult stage of the journey so far.
“It’s been extremely hot, up to 45 degrees. We also had a massive headwind for much of the journey.
“We crossed the Nullabor desert where the distance between places is huge. We had to change our route to avoid bushfires and smoke. We were followed the whole way by a swarm of flies.”
She added: “We have seen at first hand the impact a changing climate is having across the world – in India and South East Asia we saw flooding as the monsoon has been severe this year. Thousands of people have been displaced.
“In Australia the drought is terrible. In some areas it hasn’t rained since 2016 and what was fertile agricultural land is now barren. The farm animals look skinny as the cost of feeding them is immense. It has devastated communities.”
She remains upbeat about their record attempt, however.
“The legs are fine. The bums are sore and it is tiring riding day after day, but we are fine.”