Askham Bryan College boss Catherine Dixon quits to make world record tandem ride attempt

A North Yorkshire college boss is stepping down in order to try and become one half of the fastest women in history to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem bike.

Catherine Dixon, chief executive of Askham Bryan College near York, pictured with college students, as she prepares to leave the college and set out on a world-record attempt around the world on a tandem bike ride.

Catherine Dixon will leave her post as chief executive of land-based education specialists Askham Bryan College near York to team up with fellow sports enthusiast Rachael Marsden.

Starting this summer, the pair will attempt to cycle up to 100 miles a day, covering 18,000 miles across five continents, all within 320 days.

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Their challenge has been registered with the Guinness Book of Records and they will be raising funds for Oxfam and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Ms Marsden supports patients with Motor Neurone Disease in her work as a specialist nurse in Oxford.

Former British racing cyclist and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman has given his backing to the challenge which Ms Dixon described as “the opportunity of a lifetime”.

“It’s incredibly exciting and it will be amazing to set the world record,” Ms Dixon said. “I know it will be really tough to cycle 100 miles day after day.”

As she prepares to leave Askham Bryan having joined as chief executive in April 2017, Ms Dixon, who is originally from Hull, added: “I hope this will encourage our students to grasp opportunities, to be brave and to follow their dreams.”

Their route crosses Europe and Asia, taking in India, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, then takes them through Australia, New Zealand, North America and North West Africa, before they pedal back to the UK through Spain and France.

Ms Dixon and Ms Marsden met two years ago during a London to Paris charity bike ride and have since tackled routes in the Alps and the Pyrenees together.