Two women, two wheels, one World Record
The story of Catherine Dixon’s and Rachel Marsden’s attempt to be the fastest women to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem bicycle. Cat & Raz are the Tandem Women on Wheels.
In early January 2019, Catherine (Cat) Dixon and Rachael (Raz) Marsden received notification that their world record challenge had been accepted by the Guinness World Records. Cat and Raz are working to become the fastest women to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem bicycle. Cat and Raz are from the UK and are in their early 50s. They’ve both given up their jobs and will be unpaid for the duration of their trip. The women have been training hard, and they aim to start their world record attempt in June 2019. They will be cycling 18,000 miles unaided, traveling through five continents, 23 different countries, and crossing the equator twice… all while mostly sleeping and caring for themselves in a primitive camp set-up.
The women aren’t strangers to complex logistics and hard work, sometimes with limited resources: Cat is an ex-army officer currently running one of the largest land-based colleges in the UK which specializes in outdoor education. Cat has also been the CEO of the Law Society and a CEO in the NHS (National Health Service. A lawyer by profession, Cat has also spent time out of the office working as an outward bound instructor in Canada. Cat volunteers for a number of charities as a trustee and believes that the trip can be used to support a small number of dedicated charities and to raise the profile of women’s cycling. Raz has spent her career in the NHS. She is an expert in the management of complex disability and coordinates the specialist Motor Neurone Disease service in Oxford and has published books focused on improving the lives of her patients. With Dutch genes she has cycled all her life. Rachael wants to use the trip to show women that anything is possible.
Shortly after receiving notification that their challenge had been accepted, Raz reached out to Cane Creek with a predicament:
“We have just had a beautiful bright pink tandem hand made for us! We have started our training in earnest. This is wonderful and we have already cycled 300 miles,” she wrote. “However my greatest challenge at the moment is comfort… as the stoker I am quite static and my bottom is REALLY suffering. We have recently had a bike fit, which was great and improved a few niggles. We were told that your Thudbuster was the best thing & once I have the correct saddle will really improve comfort.”
After a brief chat, we were thrilled to jump in to support Cat and Raz on their journey. For the entirety of their challenge, Cat will be steering with a Viscoset steering-damping headset and Raz’s rear-end will be far more comfortable on her Thudbuster ST suspension seatpost. We’re proud to support these powerful and courageous women.
Cat and Raz received their Cane Creek products just before a training trip to Calpe, Spain. Raz wrote to us,
“I would describe my backside as’ delicate’, my cycling buddy would say it’s scrawny. However you describe it, it definitely got sore cycling on the back of our tandem. We fitted the Thudbuster ST just before our ride at the weekend. As we set off it took less than a minute for me to notice the difference it made. There was none of the usual vibrations or bumps. The interesting thing was that by 10 minutes it just felt normal & I have forgotten what is was like before. It was not until we rode down a gravel road when I expected to suffer…. but didn’t… amazing! For me, the Thudbuster made it possible….not quite sure what I would have done without it. As I would have been very sore after three solid days in the saddle.”
As part of their efforts, Cat & Raz are aiming to raise £10,000 for Motor Neurone Disease Association and Oxfam. If you would like to contribute, visit their donation page. We’ll continue to follow Cat and Raz throughout their journey, and you can too! Visit them at tandemwow.com, @tandemwow, Facebook, and Twitter.
Photos provided by Catherine Dixon & Rachael Marsden