Prior to the pandemic, a pair of British women set off to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem bike with the hope of setting a speed record for completing that feat. As fate would have it, they arrived back home in March, just as the virus was really starting to spread across the globe. But a few days back they received the official word that they did indeed accomplish their goal and now have the official certification from the Guinness Book of Wold Records to prove it.
Last June, 54-year old Cat Dixon and Raz Marsden, age 55, set out from Oxford in the U.K. and began riding east. It didn’t take them long to encounter their first major challenge. Last summer, just as the duo were getting underway, Europe found itself embroiled in one of the worst heatwaves in recent memory. As they rode, temperatures soared up to 37.2ºC (100ºF) and stayed there. That made for some long days in the early going, but it wouldn’t be the last of the hardships that Dixon and Marsden would face. In Asia, they’d ride through monsoons and in Australis brushfires raged for days. All of those difficulties were in addition to the miles and miles of riding that they did through all kinds of different environments and terrains.
In the end, the two riders covered 18,263 miles (29,391 km) in their round the world adventure. Their route took them through 25 different countries, the complete list of which you’ll find below. And when they reached the finish line back in Oxford, exactly 263 days, eight hours, and seven minutes has passed. That meant that they had bested the previous record for circumnavigation on a tandem bike by about 18 days. Along the way, they also rose £40,000 (about$52,000) for charity.
While Cat and Raz were riding, the coronavirus began to take hold in China and spread to other parts of the planet. In the early days of 2020, it was just a strange new virus that was starting to take hold in Asia, and like many of us they didn’t pay it much attention. This was especially true since they had already left Asia behind and were on their way across North America. But by the end, they were in a race against time to reach home before all of the borders were shut. Thankfully, they returned to Oxford just ahead of the shutdown.
Their entire route looked like this; Starting in the U.K., then on to France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and Gibraltar before returning to the U.K.
Congrats to them on this amazing adventure and for officially getting the record.