In 1966, my parents were not getting along with each other. My dad was not a very good role model for me or my older brother Tom. He drank too much, was not kind to my mother, and was rarely ever around. My Mum did a wonderful job of raising Tom and me the best she could, often time with little to offer but love and faith. Thinking back, I never felt like I was missing out on anything, and took it all as being a normal existence, proving that she did a great job.
One day, in the spring of 1966, my Dad unexpectantly showed up at the house. He told me he wanted to take me downtown to buy me a new bicycle. I didn’t really question his motives at that age, but rather just went with him without question. He took me to Bert & Macs, the local sporting goods store in downtown Lethbridge, Alberta. Inside the store was a huge collection of bikes, as well as all kinds of gear associated with every sport imaginable.
Somehow, I had heard of a new bike that had been introduced by the C.C.M. company. The Mustang was C.C.M.’s Canadian made version of the successful U.S manufactured Schwinn Stingray bike. The Mustang featured small frames painted in metal flake green, bobbed chrome fenders, high rise handlebars, banana seats with chrome “sissy” bar, and a drag slick back tire. On the chrome chain guard were the words C.C.M. Mustang in white script.
Sure enough, Bert & Macs had several of the new C.C.M. Mustangs in stock. As soon as I saw the bike on display, I ran over to it and fell in love immediately. I knew that this is exactly what I wanted. When my dad saw the price tag, his eyes bulged out and he back away, trying his best to distract me. He asked me if I wanted to see some other bikes, hoping I would settle for something cheaper in price, no doubt. However, my heart was already settled on what was the coolest bike I had ever seen. After more than a few agonizing minutes, he reluctantly bought the bike for me. I’m sure this purchase probably broke the bank for him, but he did it anyhow.
As it turns out, this was the last thing my Dad and I did together. Soon after, my parents were divorced and we moved to Ontario later that year.
All these years later, I know he was trying to win me over with this gesture. He may not have been the best Dad, but this was still pretty nice of him to do for me.
Tim Sykes and his 1966 C.C.M. Mustang bicycle.