Metal Cowboy

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Joe Kurmaskie, dubbed the “Metal Cowboy” by a blind old rancher in Pocatello, Idaho, brings a love of life and ability to take things as they come to his cycling tours, which take him up and down and across the United States and across Australia. At the age of five, when he discovered freedom on his sister’s bike, a powder-blue number with a pink polka-dot banana seat, Kurmaskie fell in love with bicycling. Unlike many former five-year-olds, Kurmaskie never forgot that initial surge of freedom and the endless possibilities of the sudden mobility granted by a bike. Lured by the perspective on the world revealed only to two-wheeled travelers, he did what many cyclists and writers dream of—took off on self- supported journeys across the United States and even Australia.

Kurmaskie spares the reader the details that bog down many adventure cycling books—the number of miles traveled each day, the gear and equipment used, the financing, and the exact route taken. In their place, in true storyteller fashion, he gives the reader the best and worst of the incidents and events that make up his travels: the killer hills, the breakdown nightmares, the endless search for fuel and shelter, and a chance to visit with people he met along the way. These tales of the road are a delight for anyone who has ever ridden a bike.