Log Cabin Chronicles

Still pedaling together after 70 years

© 2010 Gordon Alexander

Gordon Alexander
posted 06.28.10

RICHMOND, QUEBEC | Wilfred Lancaster's vintage CCM bicycle won't give up on him and he won't give up on it. They have been road-mates for more than 70 years.

Wilfred, 83, has never owned a car and, all these years, still relies on his old CCM bicycle that he bought second hand from a farmer in St Christine in 1939 for $45.

"Back then new ones from Eaton's were $54," Lancaster says.

"I have never owned a car and imagine that over the years I have saved quite a bit of money."

Wilfred retired as a maintenance man at the Wales home in 1992 where he had worked for more than thirty-eight years. From Lancaster's home on Route 243, just outside the Janesville section of Richmond, the Wales Home was an easy one-mile bike ride away. Wilfred used to ride his CCM to and from work, winter and summer, walking only when the snow got too deep.

The old CCM is heavier than today's state-of-the-art alloy frame street models but, in spite of seventy years of wear, runs like new and pedals easier than it did when Lancaster bought it back in his teen-age years, according to Lancaster. He continues to do his own maintenance as well as occasionally making his own performance-enhancing modifications.

The bike has a heavy-duty trussed fork, a double cross bar, extra wide handle bars and a "Dutch Hub" for improved braking power, he says.

"The only problem is that I can't get tires for it anymore. It runs on 1 1/2" x 28 " tires and the only ones that seem to be available today are 1 1/2 x 26." Lancaster said. "These poor old tires are getting pretty bald, but I'll just keep looking for new ones -- I know I'll find some " he says.

© 2010 Gordon Alexander

" It is heavier than most bikes but it pedals very well...I ride it everywhere including up to my friend Marion's house two miles away in Richmond. I have a basket and a rear fender rack and still ride into Richmond to get my groceries."

"When I kept 250 hens at home I used to take fifty dozen eggs a week to the Wales on my bike…I never broke an egg. Someone once gave me another CCM but it was not as good as my old CCM I had bought in 1939....it has been a good friend" he said

© 2010 Gordon Alexander

Canadian Cycle Manufacturing Company (CCM) bicycles were manufactured between 1910 and 1911. Double or twin bar bicycles were produced from around 1917 to 1962. From 1939-1945 during the Second World War CCM's cycle's manufacturing facilities were taken over by the Canadian government and declared an essential war service.

In 1983 the Company declared bankruptcy and assets of CCM were purchased by the Quebec firm, Procycle, which has acquired rights to a number of cycling brands for use on various lines of bicycles. In 1999, CCM turned a centry old, having manufactured over 10,000,000 bikes in Canada.

copyright © 2010 Gordon Alexander/log cabin chronicles/06.10