Rickshaw Andy cycles across Lake Taupo before Cycle Challege for Heart Kids
Four days before more than 7000 people attempt to cycle around Lake Taupo, Andrew Elliston and Mike O'Sullivan have successfully cycled across the lake on a pair of pedal-powered pontoons.
The trip took 9 hours and 30 minutes. It is the first odd-ball lake-crossing since October 2015 when television personalities Jonno and Ben took a children's bouncy castle – powered by an outboard motor – across the lake.
Elliston and O'Sullivan set out from Tokaanu Wharf at 7.15am on Tuesday. It was a little later than Elliston had wanted to leave.
"I looked at yesterday when it chopped up at 6am. I thought, 'Aw, that's all I need'," he said.
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However, beyond Turangi, the water soon settled.
"It was millpoint . It was like glass. We couldn't have got a better day for it," Elliston said.
Despite the smooth water, there was no respite on the 50km journey, Elliston said.
"When you stop pedalling, you stop moving," he said.
"I lived on Whittaker's peanut slabs and my electrolyte drink."
O'Sullivan said he was pleased to be finished.
"It was harder than any of us anticipated. Especially when you come around the point there [Whakamoenga Pt], the current is taking you towards the western shore."
"Your legs, when you get there, are buggered," he said.
"How do I feel? We did it. We knocked the bastard off, to quote Sir Edmund Hillary,"
Local boating and marine shop Trev Terry Marine provided a support boat that followed the pair during the 9-hour journey.
Elliston is known as Rickshaw Andy after cycling the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on a three-wheel rickshaw in 2014 and pedalling a rickshaw around Taupo velodrome for 24-hours non-stop in 2015.
The motivation to attempt the ridiculous comes from a desire to help Heart Kids, the official Cycle Challenge charity, Elliston said.
"I'm lucky. People go 'Why do you do you do the crazy stuff?' I say, 'Because I like doing it. And I've got four healthy kids," Elliston said.
"Every week, there are 12 children that are born with heart defects. Heart Kids New Zealand, they support those children from birth right through to adulthood.
"So all I ask is that people give them a bit of a hand. Give them some support back. How hard is that?
"If it means doing a crazy thing like this and getting some awareness for them, then I'm good for it."