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British women set to break round-the-world tandem record after racing to catch last Channel ferry

Cat Dixon and Raz Marsden will arrive in Oxford this evening to set new Guinness World Record

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.

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.

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.

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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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