On Saturday 29 June 2019, an epic journey began for two very determined women. Cat Dixon and Rachel ‘Raz’ Marsden embarked on a very special challenge. Not only are they cycling around the world, they’re doing it on a tandem! They're raising money for two charities close to their hearts – Oxfam and the Motor Neurone Disease Association – aiming to get £18,000 sponsorship before the challenge is over. That's £1 for every mile they cycle. And they're also aiming to make a Guinness World Record in the process.
The journey started in Oxford. With friends, family and supporters waving them off, they aim to average 80 miles a day, having one rest day a week to recover from their gruelling journey and three days off for flights during the ride. If all goes well, Cat and Raz aim to finish their ride back in Oxford around 12 April 2020.
Goodbye Europe, hello Asia
They've cycled through Europe, having encountered thunderstorms and a wild boar in France, then through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and crossed into Albania at the end of July. Their route has taken them through North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and Georgia. Cat and Raz then flew from Georgia to India,where they followed the coast all the way from Mumbai to Kolkata,and they're now in Myanmar with around 11,600 miles to go.
It's not their first cycling test, as between them Cat and Raz have cycled from London to Paris, and tackled classic rides such as Mont Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez, so they're no strangers to challenging conditions. To see just how far they've come, follow the Tandem WOW route live.
The Guinness World Record Attempt rules
For their Tandem WOW cycle ride to be eligible for a world record, Cat and Raz must follow these rules.
• The same bicycle must be used throughout the entire attempt.
• A minimum distance of 5 bicycle lengths from the support vehicle or any other rider(s)
• The proposed route is submitted prior to the attempt
• The team must always consist of the same two people
• The same start and finish points
• The journey should be continual (& continuous) and in one direction i.e. East to West or West to East
• NO private transport.
• Must have tickets showing date time, start and end point
• The minimum distance travelled should be 18,000 miles (28,970 km), and the total distance travelled by the participant (e.g. by public or chartered transportation), should exceed an equator’s length or ‘great circle’, i.e. more than 24,900 miles (40,075 km).
The pair will also need to provide proof to back up their World Record Attempt in the form of cover letter, witness statements and log books, GPS data, copies of their passports, tickets, and photographic and video evidence.
• Outward Bound instructor
The Tandem WOW challenge hasn't gone unnoticed by cycling legends such as Chris Boardman and Mark Beaumont who have both tweeted their support.
Olympic Gold Medal winner Chris says: 'The challenge Cat and Raz have set themselves is outrageously, wonderfully bonkers. It is the kind of adventure you read about in books but they have shown the courage to make it a reality.
'I wish them well and will, with many thousands of others I’m sure, follow their progress with interest. I can’t think of a better acronym for what they are doing than the one they’ve come up with, WOW indeed.'
• Super Mum
• Super nurse
• Gear acquirer extraordinaire!
• A bit posh (at times!)
Mark Beaumont knows just what they'll be going through, as he holds two Guinness World Records for long distance cycling. He says: 'Seeing the world at the speed of a bicycle is a daunting, painful, yet unbelievably brilliant journey. I am excited to follow Raz and Cat’s epic World Record attempt on a bicycle made for two! This will be a test of two bodies, one bike and a wonderful friendship'
Read Mark Beaumont's tips for getting back in the saddle
And they're not the only high profile supporters – Hollywood star Susan Sarandon has also tweeted her support for the duo saying, "Please support as they attempt to break a and raise money for two amazing charities and !"
Sir Steve Redgrave is lending his support on Twitter too: 'Please follow (on here or FB, not literally) two incredible women doing an around-the-world challenge to raise money for MND and Oxfam, and hoping to break the world record (about 8 months, I think). And the tandem is not travelling light!'
Saga supports Tandem WOW, too
Here at Saga, we're proud to support Tandem WOW by providing Cat and Raz with a Saga Travel Insurance policy for their round-the-world adventure.
While we wouldn't normally be able to cover a 288-day Guinness World Record Attempt circumnavigation, our underwriter agreed to make an exception in these circumstances and offer insurance for their charity cycle ride.
If you're inspired by the challenge Cat and Raz are taking on, you can donate to their Virgin Money Giving page here. You can also follow them on Twitter and online at the Tandem WOW website, which includes a blog. If you're on Facebook, look for the TandemWOW page and give them a like.
We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that they break that World Record, and we'll also keep you updated on their progress.
Want to raise money for charity? Find out about online charity sites
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