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Kuwahara Teams Up With Cape Crusader

July 21, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Willem LeBelle joins Kuwahara Factory

Willem LeBelle, the dude we have taken to calling “The Cape Crusader,” based on his home turf of Cape Cod, Mass, recently joined forces with the superheroes of the Great Northwest at Kuwahara. Word is the 12x is training hard, spending time pushing sleds and powering-up at Shawn DiPrete’s “DiPrete Strength & Power.”

Here’s some further 4-1-1 on The Cape Crusader:

Willem started racing BMX in June of 2014, and while he’s had a short career so far, he is Massachusetts state champion, district 1–with just under 14,000 points, and qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Belgium. His goal this year is to earn top 10 NAG, and to join the 20,000-point club.

Willem enjoys racing at nationals, but when there’s nothing on the schedule, he races at Egg Harbour, NJ and his favorite track, Chesapeake BMX in Severn, MD. Since Willem’s first BMX race, he has had three “BMX” life goals – Compete in the Olympics, Become World Champion and be the “face” or star racer for Kuwahara when he grows up!

You can imagine how stoked he was when the opportunity to race for Factory Kuwahara presented itself.

Pretty impressive stats on the board so far, having just started racing a little over a year ago. And a straight-A student, to boot! No doubt the support from Troy and Kelly at Kuwahara, coupled with ongoing training from Shawn will be a huge help in taking Willem to where he wants to be. Congrats all-around on getting together.

Links

Kuwahara USA Website

DiPrete Strength & Power on Facebook

Remembering Howie Cohen (1939-2013)

July 18, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Remembering Howie Cohen - BMX NEWS

Last week, the bicycle industry lost one of it’s giants. A life-long devotee of the industry, and everything to do with bicycles. How fitting, therefore, that Howie Cohen’s company was called “Everything Bicycles.”

As I said above, he was one of the “giants.” I mean that in every sense of the word. He was a bigger-than-life kind of guy. You often hear people talk about the guy who would be the center of the room, wherever he was–a person whose presence would shift the gravity in the room. That was Howie. You knew where he was based on the crowd of people shaking hands, saying hello, and remembering every last detail about the last time he saw an acquaintance from the Far East. He had a booming voice, a booming laugh, and was a salesman in the most complimentary way that term could be applied.

He was an amazing mentor to the young people that entered his world; riders, warehouse workers, sales guys, and hot-shot BMX magazine types, myself included. We all thought we had a pretty good handle on what we were doing. That is, until he told us frankly, but from a position of empathy and mentorship, how far short we were in where we needed to be. That made us better at what we did, and want to rise to the next challenge.

He made a huge difference in the trajectory of BMX as an industry. Startup companies back-then needed distributor representation in order to jump from the one-guy-with-a-welding-kit stage, to being a legit company. Everything Bicycles was that connection. Howie bought two-page spreads in Bicycle Motocross Action magazine–something that did not make sense to many onlookers. The kids reading the magazine, after all, were not his customers–the dealers were. Of course, 30 years later, it makes all the sense in the world. Those ads created demand, linked his company with the hot brands of the day, and gave dealers leafing through the magazine a quick, at-a-glance look at what they should be ordering, and from whom.

Howie was responsible for bringing Kuwahara to the United States, and soon after, for the famous special edition “E.T.” bike, ridden by the main character in the 1980s film. This was recently documented very well by New York-based journalist Emon Hassan entitled “The BMX Boys of E.T.” It’s an awesome piece, and includes audio interviews with Howie (link below).

His rich experience in the bicycle industry did not start, or stop, with BMX. He was around the bike industry since he was seven years old, and was armpit deep in it–at least until last week.

Howie passed away on July 11 in Colorado, with family and long-time friends by his side. It took me this long to write this because, frankly, it was very tough to write it. We all know we will face the loss of friends and family at some point, but putting that loss into words and posting it on the Internet is very tough, almost feels inappropriate in a sense. I somehow feel these feelings should be private but, at the same time, I wished more people of the modern BMX era knew him. That was the deciding factor.

And while it had been more than 20 years since I had last seen Howie, I mourn the fact that we, as an industry and a planet will be without someone so genuine and generous.

—Mike Carruth

The image at top is a scan from his 1982 Holiday Card. E.T. was released June 11 of that year.

Links

In Memoriam by Emon Hassan

Bicycle Retailer Remembrance

The BMX Boys of E.T. By Emon Hassan

Danny Caluag Joins Kuwahara

February 18, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX NEWS - Danny Caluag on Kuwahara

As the calendar creeps ever-closer to March 2, the season opener for Professional BMX Racing in North America, so, too, is the news flow picking up. Today, some news from the Great Northwest.

Scott over at Kuwahara sent over the above photo of Danny Caluag reppin the Yellow, Black & White, with a new “Lachesis” frame built up.

Alexis Vergara signs with Kuwahara
Also added to the expanding roster is Alexis Vergara, mixing’ it up with the Vet Pros.

The team will be in full effect in Phoenix, so watch for more on Kuwahara rider pickups, product availability, and some first impressions from Danny on the new mount.

Links

Kuwahara USA Website

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