CORONAVIRUS could scupper a world-record attempt by a York woman to cycle around the world on a tandem.

Cat Dixon, 53, from York, is just four days away from crossing the finishing line back in the UK after a marathon cycle across the globe – but is currently in France, which is operating a partial lockdown that has included the closure of ferry ports.

Cat, who has covered more than 18,000 miles across five continents with her friend Raz Marsden on their tandem, said: “We were supposed to cross at Le Havre, but that is closed, so we are now booked on a ferry from Caen on Thursday morning.”

She said they were hoping the crossing would still go ahead and they would be able to reach their final destination – Oxford – on Saturday.

The duo have faced new challenges in recent days as France has closed cafes and restaurants in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.

Cat said: “It’s a bit tricky to find food. We have managed to find a supermarket that is open. It is a big challenge.”

Raz said they were particularly missing their cups of coffee, adding: “We are a little bit addicted to coffee!”

This upset is just one of the many challenges the pair have faced since they set off nine months ago with the aim of breaking the world record, held by two men, and raising at least £18,000 for good causes.

The biggest obstacle they encountered to date were the bushfires in Australia.

Raz said: “We had to change our route to avoid the fires, and if we had arrived in Australia any later, we would have been stopped because the fires were so prolific.”

The pair are at least two weeks ahead of the current world record, so have some time in hand if they are delayed in France.

Cat said: “We would hate to blow it. All we can do is keep on cycling.”

And they understand that if they make it back to UK this week, there may not be large crowds out to greet them.

Raz said: “We won’t be disappointed if people are concerned about coming out. We understand. We are just thinking about crossing the line. If we have just two people there who can stop the clock as we cross the line, that will be fine.”

Cat added: “Hopefully, we just have three or four days riding left. It will be great to see family and friends – and not riding every day!

So far, the route has taken them across 25 countries, covering up to 100 miles a day, with Cat and Raz burning up to 4,000 calories daily. They are travelling without a support team – carrying all they need with them.

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