Joe Kurmaskie, the author of Metal Cowboy is a great story teller. He talks about people whom he met while riding his touring bicycle from place to place. Mostly the stories happened while on long trips across countries. As a writer, he was able to pull interesting stories out of people.
This book is not really a chronicle of a single trip. Nor is it really chronological over a long period of time. One could read the book viewing each chapter as a totally separate story. However, there are times that you would need to have read a previous story to get a full understanding of something mentioned in the current chapter.
Most of the stories relate to bicycle touring in some way. Many are just happenstance that he was on a bike when he met some people to drag an interesting tale out of them and biking had little else to do with the story told. Most are very humorous, while some are sobering in content.
I borrowed this book from a library, but I would like to get my own copy of it. While I don’t re-read many books, this is one that I would enjoy reading again and was actually saddened when the book was finished. I found myself carving out time to read even though I have certain times of the day when I read if it is convenient, but Metal Cowboy seemed to be in my hands much more often than my prescribed times. I usually “savor” books over several weeks (read: I am a slow reader). This book was consumed in 4 days.
While I am disappointed that this book has some cursing in it, I am thankful it is far less than other real-life adventure books I have read.
Joe Kurmaskie has other books on the market. I am hitting a book store tomorrow to see if I can pick up another. He is a great author.
My wife’s only regret about the book is that I now want to strap a tent to my bike and head out for a few days.
Metal Cowboy: Tales from the road less pedaled, Breakaway Books, 1999, 302 pages.