Cyclist Ends Tour to Raise Aid for Cancer

Monday, September 27th 2004, 2:57 pm
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ The speedometer on Charlie Hamilton's bicycle handlebars told the story. Miles traveled: 11,741. Speed: 0.0.

Hamilton dismounted from his bike Sunday at Fenway Park after a 25-week odyssey across North America in which he traveled to games at all 30 major league ballparks, raising $13,000 for cancer research and treatment.

``It was a cockamamie scheme I came up with,'' said Hamilton, a 40-year-old software engineer from Provincetown. ``Once I thought about it, I didn't stop thinking about it.''

He began his journey April 2 in Atlanta and ended it with a final ride to the last Red Sox regular-season home game at Fenway Park.

He averaged 80 miles a day, sometimes camping or staying in cheap motels, sometimes staying with friends and family. He had 50 flat tires, was chased by dogs, rode through driving rain, went through eight pairs of sunglasses and had many a brush with an aggressive anti-biker driver.

Hamilton said he was just a software guy who sat in a cubicle and typed for 10 hours a day until he quit that job for his adventure. A Red Sox fan, he said he was glad he could combine his love for cycling and baseball.

``It's totally out of character,'' he said. ``I have always gone to work every day and all that kind of stuff. This is my mid-life crisis.''

Hamilton rode in honor of Eric Donovan, 15, of Scituate, who is undergoing treatment for Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

``Without a doubt,'' Donovan said. ``He put his life aside ... and rode all over the country to raise money for all the kids with all these illnesses.''

Hamilton, who rode about 30 miles to the park Sunday, still hopes to meet his original $125,000 fund-raising goal for the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a bike-a-thon that raises money for the Jimmy Fund, which pays for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Hamilton's wife, Molly, 37, called her husband's feat ``wonderful.''

``He needs to relax and figure out what he's going to do next,'' she said.