Two women have broken the world record for the fastest time circumnavigating the globe on a tandem bicycle.
Cat Dixon, 54, and Raz Marsden, 55, spent 263 days, eight hours and seven minutes travelling through 25 different countries and five different continents.
The pair set off from Oxford on 29 June 2019, covering 18,263 miles before completing their journey and arriving back in London on the 18 March 2020.
It was a race against time, as borders were closing and countries were entering lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They managed to board the penultimate passenger ferry back from Caen in France to the UK on the day that the travel ban started.
Their record was one of the last to be broken before lockdown.
The pair not only achieved the female record, but broke the male record of 281 days, set by Lloyd Edward Collier and Louis Paul Snellgrove, who completed their journey in May 2019.
In order to cover the vast distance in record time, Cat and Raz cycled between 80-100 miles on average each day, occasionally completing as much as 120 miles in one day on the tandem bike they named ‘Alice’.
The pair were also faced with challenging weather conditions throughout their trip including a heatwave across Europe, extended monsoons across Asia and the Australian bush fires which forced them to take an in-land route across the country where temperatures often climbed as high as 50 degrees Celsius.
The friends met during a charity cycle ride from London to Paris in 2016 and kept in touch from then, meeting regularly for bike rides.
In order to take on the circumnavigation challenge together and attempt the record, Raz decided to take a break from her career as a MND Nurse Consultant, and Cat, a lawyer, handed in her notice at work.
Not only did the pair achieve the Guinness World Records title, but also raised more than £40,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Oxfam.
They have since had their achievement recognised with an inclusion in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling for 2020.
Setting the world record really was the adventure of a lifetime and we hope that it will inspire others to believe that anything is possible if you follow your dreams.
Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor in Chief said: “It's been a joy following Cat and Raz's big adventure. 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.”
The pair travelled through the following countries on their epic journey: France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Gibraltar and back through France to the UK.
The announcement of their record also marks the launch of this year’s Guinness World Records Day, which is the annual celebration of record breaking that takes place in November each year.