Ah, the BMX Kuwahara Laserlite. When I was a kid, this was the only bike I ever wanted. Back in the day, the Laserlite was known as the lightest, latest material—it was the coolest bike for any true BMX racer. Believe or not, back then, I aspired to be a BMX racer, although I never quite got there. (Now I see why, because I’m too big to even sit on the thing and comfortably pedal.)
I got a Laserlite of my very own by getting a job when I was around 10 years old. The bike I had before it had been stolen, and I wanted another one—I wanted this one. I remember crying to my dad about how my bike had been taken and I wanted another one. So, he asked me what kind of bike I wanted, and I told him I wanted a BMX Kuwahara Laserlite, and he said, “Okay.” Then once he looked at it and realized how expensive the bike was, he made a deal with me that if I could earn half the money, he would pay for the other half. I’m pretty sure he made the deal not thinking I would make the money, but at the same time, on the off chance I did make enough, he couldn’t be upset because it showed that his son had initiative.
So, I went out and I cut a lot of grass and did all kinds of crazy small jobs (like babysitting; I was a terrible babysitter) to earn the money. Then one day, I presented him with all my cash and he just looked at me in amazement. But, he was a man of his word, and he came up with the other half of the money. My mom kept the bike in her attic forever. She used to say, “Why don’t you give this bike to your son?” And I always replied, “He can go get his own. I had to earn this one. This one is mine forever.” The significance of this bike to me is, if you want something in life, you go get it. The bike was the first thing I had to earn. At that time, it was the thing that meant the most to me, so it was worth the effort. I recently had this conversation with my girls: You want something, you’ve got to earn it. And if it’s that important to you, you’ll figure out how to make it happen.
None of my kids have ridden the bike; kids don’t really ride this kind of bike nowadays. But they’ve never really asked to ride it, either. Maybe because they know if something ever happened to it while they were on it, they couldn’t come back without it. And I love this bike; I’ve had it for more than 30 years. I’m too big to ride it now, but it sparked my whole “Raise your game” mentality that hard work really does pays off, and that’s why it hangs on the wall at Strayland to this very day.