Book Review: The Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled by Joe Kurmaskie

I really like to read! I have been an avid reader since my dad gave me my fist real book “The Sackett Brand” by Louis L’Amour back in the 4th grade. I read many different genres, from sci-fi, to westerns, fantasy, and hard science to name a few. What I pride myself on is my Adventure Library. This was started back when I started climbing mountains in the 90s. It contains climbing books, running rivers, crossings of polar regions and deserts, as well as many books on cycling. (Right now they are all in plastic bins in the attic, but when we have a place big enough….)

Over the years, I have developed one rule on determining whether it s a good adventure book or not. “Does it make me want to go out and do what the author is writing about?” Using ONLY that rule, Joe Kurmaskie hits a home run with “The Metal Cowboy: 10 Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.

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This is the anniversary edition of this book. First printed 10 years ago. It is a compilation of short stories chronicling Joe’s adventures traveling the world on a bike (only man I know who had to outrun a charging elephant in Africa (true story I’ve seen the video!)). Most importantly, each story, standing on its own, made me want to get the bike and ride, regardless of the weather, time of day, or what I should have been doing.

Taken as a whole, all I can say is that I am glad (or am I) that this book wasn’t around when I was in high school. I am telling you, if it had been, there is a damn good chance this office jockey wouldn’t have gone to college. I’d have been cycling the United States and beyond, seeing and experiencing those things that can only be done on the back of 2 wheels. He inspires you to want to ride that much!

However, that is NOT the only reason t read this. I will tell you from experience, that many adventurers are NOT entertaining writers. Being interested in the quest has kept me performing my own death march through many a mountain climbing trip with the author.

NOT so with Joe. If you don’t laugh audibly at least once during this book (I woke up my wife a time or two reading in bed) you MIT want to take your pulse. Only Joe would find a hotel full of Elvises (Elvi?) dress like a scarecrow, have a friend MAKE him leave Aruba or be named Metal Cowboy by a blind man at a street corner.

What I like about the way he writes, is that even though cycling is the focal point (without the bike, it never would have happened) of each story, they aren’t mundane: I traveled this many miles, in this much time, with these winds and I saw…..

He is an excellent story-teller.  You know when he is on the bike, what he is feeling and whether is a good ride, or he is dying at the time.  You can feel the wind when it is there, and either curse or revel in it (depending on the direction it is blowing).  Better yet though, you find out what happens when he is OFF the bike (Kiefer Sutherland?   Really??).  Non of us spend 24/7 pedaling down the road, its nice to know what can await you when you lean the bike against a porch and it time to eat.

Want to fall in love with cycling all over again?  Want to honestly have a good time reading a book?  Even if you read it once, get the Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.  Better yet, skip Amazon and go to MetalCowboy.com and order an autographed copy.  He also does a great presentation about his rides, I’ve only been lucky enough to see him once, but I will see him again, he speaks as well as he writes!

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