Two women break record for fastest circumnavigation by tandem bicycle

Two women break record for fastest circumnavigation by tandem bicycle


Friends Cat Dixon and Raz Marsden from the UK have set a new record for the fastest circumnavigation by tandem bicycle, with the record title coinciding with the launch of this year’s Guinness World Records Day.

Dixon and Marsden, both in their mid-fifties, set out on their tandem bike at the end of June last year and rode around 25 different countries across five continents, including France, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and the US.

Their world-wide route stretched over a total of 29,391 kilometres, which took them a total of 263 days. The duo riders arrived back in the UK in mid-March this year, breaking the world record and making it into the upcoming Guinness World Records 2021 Edition.

“We have highlights from every country that we visited and would definitely return to see many- although maybe at a slower pace,”Dixon and Marsden told the BBC. 

“We really enjoyed Europe and would like to see more, Myanmar was beautiful… we only spent a short time in Morocco but we would definitely return to cycle in the mountains. Each country was different and we were privileged to meet some amazing and incredibly supportive people on route… the kindness of strangers was amazing all over the world.”

Their 263-day journey was not without its challenges. They faced extreme weather and dangerous heat-waves. They cycled through Australia as our horrifying bushfires were raging, detouring through an inland route where temperatures soared to 50 degrees.

“This was an area of drought where it hadn’t rained since 2016,” they said. “We also had a day where we rode through smoke- making us cough and our eyes water.”

Towards the end of their record-setting expedition, borders and countries were beginning to go into lockdown as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. In fact, their final stretch of the trip — through France to the UK, took place on the day the travel ban was implemented in the UK.

The pair clocked an average of between 128 to 161 kilometres per day (that’s roughly the distance between Sydney to Newcastle) keeping themselves occupied cerebrally by listening to music and audiobooks.

All the while, they stayed positive by keeping each other motivated. “We just got on with it and loved it all. It was important to keep laughing- and we did.” 

The pair met in 2016 at a charity cycle from London to Paris stayed in touch, often training together. When they decided to cycle around the world together, they thought doing it on a tandem would be a good idea. The pair raised over $72,300 for charities in the UK including the Motor Neuron Disease Association and Oxfam.

Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief, told BBC, “Their high-spirited story of determination, ambition and friendship has been a tonic in these troubled times, and I’m sure these two remarkable women will be an inspiration to anyone looking to expand their horizons and discover their world.”

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