SPRINGHILL – The snow’s not quite gone, but that’s good enough for Ken Melanson.
© Christopher Gooding photo
Since become an active scooter operator when he was 72 years old, Ken Melanson of Springhill says he’s starting to see more scooters on the road in his four-years of observation.
At 77, there’s no time like the spring for Melanson to roll out one of his scooters and hit the open road. In a lot of ways, it’s not officially spring until Melanson says it is.
Donning a helmet, blaze yellow jacket to make sure he’s visible to other motorists, and a few extra layers of clothing for warmth, you would think Melanson was a season pro but he’s far from being a life-long, two-wheel enthusiast.
In fact, he’s a new convert to the culture.
“I just decided I wanted to have a bike,” Melanson said.
That was four years ago, and he’s owned a new scooter for every year, working his way up from a 49cc motor to the 200cc.
“Four years ago I didn’t have a [motorcycle] license and couldn’t drive from here to the end of the parking lot,” Melanson said. “But I got the motorcycle books and learned all by myself. Before that, I never rode a motorcycle in my life.”
When he started with the smaller 49cc Melanson didn’t require a motorcycle license, but the following year he was looking to move up an engine class and took and passed the test.
Locally, many know Melanson as one of the miners who was trapped five days underground in the 1956 mining explosion in Springhill killing 39, two years before the 1956 mining disaster that claimed another 75 lives. In 2010, Melanson was a source for local commentary on the 2010 Copiapo mining accident that trapped 33 Chilean miners underground for 69 days. It was around this time Melanson’s interest in doing as much as he can above ground was rekindled and he’s never regretted the decision to get a scooter.
I’m a man into chopping wood and working all my life. I don’t want a rocking chair. Ken Melanson, Springhill
“It’s one of the best things I ever did. I can drive for miles and it’s the most relaxing thing,” he said.
And he’s clocking those miles at a fraction of what it would cost using a car, he says.
“I can drive from Springhill to Tatamagouche and back for six buck. A trip to Parrsboro and back takes two-and-a-half litres.”
Calling on local dealerships – first Yamaha Powersport and then Warren MacDonald’s and Sons Garage’s Kymco outlet– to guide his new-driver experience, Melanson says he has nothing but praise for the service he’s received to start and maintain his new hobby. Being a senior citizen, learning new things keeps him young and active.
“I’m a man into chopping wood and working all my life. I don’t want a rocking chair.”