Here's a good news story for these troubled times. A pair of cyclists from the UK will today break the Guinness World Record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by tandem bicycle.
Yesterday, Cat Dixon and Raz Marsden caught the last ferry from Ouistreham in Normandy to Portsmouth, from where they are riding to Oxford today to complete their round-the-world trip.
Travel ban in France from 12pm today 😱 - but made it to the ferry. Should be back in the UK tonight having cycled more than 18,000 miles. Hope to cross the finish line in Oxford tomorrow completing our world record ride around the world 🚴♀️🚴♀️.
— Tandem WOW (@TandemWoW) March 17, 2020
They are due to arrive at Beeline Cycles on the city’s Cowley Road, where they began their trip on 29 June last year, at between 5pm and 6pm this evening.
The pair, who are both in their mid-50s, will have taken 264 days to have ridden round the globe on their pink tandem, nicknamed ‘Alice’, racking up well over 18,000 miles.
In the process they have raised more than £28,000 for Oxfam and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, comfortably beating their target of £18,000.
They have found time to post a recap of their daily riding to Twitter on almost every day of the nine-month ride, almost always accompanied by four pictures, enabling supporters to follow their exploits.
Guinness World Records had set the pair a target of finishing within 320 days in order to establish the first women’s record for riding round the world on a tandem.
As it turns out, they will smash the men’s record, which stands at 281 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes, by more than a fortnight.
Marsden and Dixon first met on a London to Paris Cycle Challenge raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and since then have ridden a number of events together including L’Etape du Tour.
Their round-the-world ride has seen them ride between 80 and 100 miles a day and has taken them through Europe and Asia to Australia while it was being ravaged by bush fires late last year.
Day 146 Kimba to Port Augusta 🇦🇺. Half way across Australia 🇦🇺. Big Galah! Tail wind 👍. Iron Knob (its a town😳). Cockatoos. Kangaroo. Great to see Angus! pic.twitter.com/bEixvLX1ab
— Tandem WOW (@TandemWoW) November 21, 2019
After riding through New Zealand, they rode across the US from California to Florida, from where they flew to Morocco.
Crossing into Europe via Gibraltar at the end of February as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread across the continent, they reached Biarritz in France last Tuesday, beating Spain’s ban on cycling by a matter of days, although while riding across the country they did get breathalsed.
Day 251 Sonseca to Madrid 🇪🇸. Beautiful Toledo. Breathalysed on a bike 😳🤣. Nightmare headwind 🌬🌬🥶😱. Hard work to Madrid. Hot chocolate. Busy roads. In search of a bike shop. Alice being fixed in the morning - a lie in. 💤👍 pic.twitter.com/ar6qDtr1GV
— Tandem WOW (@TandemWoW) March 5, 2020
With France also ramping up emergency measures to try and contain the outbreak and minimise its impact, Marsden and Dixon managed to make it to Ouistreham, near Caen, in time to catch the final Channel crossing by Britanny Ferries yesterday ahead of it suspending passenger services.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.