Ladies and gents, I have reviewed many a book on the Mountainstroh Blog over the years. Some I have loved and others not so much. The one I am presenting to you today is one of the best yet..
I discovered the Metal Cowboy’s books about 8 years ago when I first took up cycling as my main source of exercise and fun. His early book chronicled his world travels as a footloose and fancy free cyclist our of Florida. Loved each and every one of the stories, and each time I have read them I have wanted to ride more
Later, we met his entire family as they cycled across not only the USA but later Canada. Wanna know how tough this family is? His wife Beth pedaled the entire way, while stopping to breast feed their youngest child. I can’t even imagine how much energy and stamina that required while crossing something small like the Canadian Rockies…
This book though, was his best yet.
I was halfway through it when I reread the subtitle: Finding Balance On and OFF the Bicycle. I must say, it is a very good description of the stories inside.
Why do I think this? Well lets start with a classic Joe legend, him outrunning a charging elephant who decided it was time to squish these annoying 2 wheeled creatures.
Now I had heard this story told by him in person more than once, and love this video. But in this book he goes farther, He explains how he came to be there, and why he was riding with this group of nature lovers, and more importantly, the kindness of the villagers they stayed with.
I got the laughs, but also felt what he did while he was there, and it is hard to get someone cold and callous as I am to feel things like that in a book.
We learn about his addiction to demon Mtn Dew, and being trapped in a portapotty by hyenas.
He shares stories on and off the bike of himself growing up, and the adventures he had. This young Joe grew into the world traveler adventure Joe and morphed into Father of 4 boys and husband Joe. All the while keeping his devil-may-care smile on his face and accepting any challenge that came his way.
Don’t get me wrong, there were many MANY times I laughed loudly enough to wake my sleeping wife lying next to me in bed. The story of the Seattle to Portland finish, the climb to Timberline Lodge (scene of the classic horror movie The Shining) and the pool scene on the Oregon coast still make me giggle as I type this.
The true Joe though, is seen with his care and concern of the local street dweller (and fellow cyclist) Dave. Joe befriended him, rallied the neighborhood to help, and worked hard to get him medical treatment.
It’s a testament to Joe’s manner and being that Dave trusts him enough to leave everything he owns, including the bike, at Joe’s while he hops the bus to the medical center. How many of us can say we’d do this much to help what started out as a stranger (let alone a homeless fella),
Most importantly, this book has a message. Simply put, the world is truly what you make of it. You can be BMW guy, ignore your kids and work for every last dime you can get, or diesel driver who idles his big ole truck near a daycare with no regards for others. Or you can be like the Metal Cowboy.
Look for the humor in everything, make a stand for things you believe in, take care of the ones you love (all the while giving them room to grow and explore). and never turn down an adventure.. EVER! Finally, and most importantly, if you are lucky enough to be able to ride a bike, and most of us can, but many choose not to, but if you are so lucky, it can give you the balance you need to not only survive, but wring every ounce of joy out of our short time on earth!
Its one great book folks and it gets a rare 5 stars!