Riding a bike is just one more thing off her bucket list

Ola Hamilton finally rides a bike after almost a century of living

Brian McInnis bmcinnis@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 19, 2016

When 98-year-old Ola Hamilton was growing up on her parents’ farm in New Perth it was more important that she ride horses than bicycles.

One thing led to another and after living almost a century she still had not ridden a bike.

“I never had one to ride…but give me a horse and I could ride him,” she said. “I drove one (horse) with my father picking potatoes.”

Like many people, Hamilton has a “bucket list” and on that list she had written, “to ride a bicycle.” So ride a bike she did Saturday in her new home at The Mount in Charlottetown. She has lived there since late last year.

The seniors’ home is holding its winter carnival this weekend and the kick off event was Hamilton riding a three-wheel bicycle up and down the halls with many of her friends clapping and cheering her on. Even Lt. Gov. Frank Lewis was there and he was cheering right along with everyone else.

 It was a day she will not soon forget. She said it ranks up there with the day just after her 96th birthday when she rode on the back of a motorcycle. That was another thing she crossed off her list.

But all did not go smoothly with her ride.

“I couldn’t keep my feet on the pedals…I think the rubber made them slip off,” she said in an interview after her epic venture. “But, I am just glad there was somebody holding (the bike) up for me.”

Hamilton is probably the closest thing to a “celebrity” living in The Mount. She is the official Guardian carrier for the residence and has eight customers. In fact, she has been profiled in The Guardian as the oldest carrier the newspaper has delivering papers.

The idea for the ride came from Charmaine MacGregor, activity co-ordinator at the home. She knew of Hamilton’s bucket list and thought it would be a wonderful way to kick off the carnival.

Gordon MacQueen, owner of MacQueen’s Bike Shop in Charlottetown, agreed and so he and his employee, Ahmon Katz, packed up the bike Saturday and went over to The Mount to give Hamilton her ride.