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on February 15, 2013
The complete title is: “Mud, Sweat and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels” By Joe Kurmaskie with footnotes provided by his gorgeous wife Beth.

Folks, I have read all of Joe’s previous books, I have seen him speak in person, and I follow him on Facebook almost everyday, but I have to tell you, this book truly impressed me. It was MUCH more than I expected. I was ready for trials and tribulations as he pedaled across Canada. Yep got it. I was ready to laugh out loud at the antics of 4 male children (I am counting Joe in this number, just as my wife counts me as one of the kids) Check! in fact, it made me laugh loudly on a plane flight, loud enough that I thought the flight attendant was starting to think I had been drinking. Shoot I was even ready to feel sorry for his wife! (Surprisingly I didn’t!)

What I wasn’t prepared for, and being the cold and callous type it surprised me how much it affected me, was learning exactly how much Joe loves both his wife and his mom. Interspaced between light saber battles, animal sightings, speedo clad Irishmen and rutting elk, Joe tells the story of his and Beth’s falling in love. Even my icicle heart melted a bit. Then add to his relationship with his mom, hell it made me want to call mine.

Finally, Beth’s footnotes gives us an insight to the “poor” woman’s life awash is testosterone! Not only is she a saint to have married and stuck with him, she is hilarious in her own right!

Combine all this with Joe’s story telling skills, and this book will make you want to hug your kids, kiss your wife, take mom to dinner and ride across country ALL at the same time. I knew before this book that he was one helluva writer, but he out did himself with this one!

5 Stars to the Metal Cowboy!
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on January 26, 2010
I dare you to try and put this book down. I measure book quality in average days from cover to cover. I only read after the kids are in bed and before I turn out the lights.

I've been tired this week for lack of sleep.

Adventure writers come and go. Parenting experts constantly invent new spins for the same basic rules. The Kurmaskie family shows us all how to create adventure while enjoying the simple pleasures of family and life - and prove themselves experts in both categories without ever having to say so. Unpretentious. Good-hearted. Slightly off-balance but always on target.

Joe's books help us think about living a better life - without preaching a word. Lots of laughter, some discomfort, and real sadness at the journey's end. I wanted them to press on to Greenland, Iceland, the UK... Mongolia for God's sake... That's good writing.

Any one of Joe's tales might describe a lifetime for most of us. The difference is that Joe has a whole lifetime of stories. They just never end, and his ability to relate them, often at his own expense, is a rare find among writers.

That Beth made the journey makes the story all the better this time around. Her commentary adds wonderful insights, confirming what we'd like to believe as often as it gives the other point of view. Watching the boys grow up adds to the fun - their priceless lines of insight, those words we'd all hope to be able to say but don't dare once we grow up and get the fun squeezed out of us...

Hey Joe, when are we going to do that trip down the Great Divide Route? We're doing a warm-up ride up the C&O come spring. You game? How about the family? Let's ride!

Read and be inspired by this book - and then get out there and make your own adventure!
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on February 15, 2010
I've bike toured a lot including with my own boys and love to read other's experience of life on the road. Kurmaskie's Mud Sweat and Gears has redefined my list of all time favourite bike touring books - this one, along with Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage are now my top two picks of the genre.

Bike touring books as a rule can be pretty uneven reads, with many descending into a pretty repetitive did-this, did-that groove. Kurmaskie, who in previous books can get a little preachy and overly caught up in his own philosophies on life has been refining the art form, working at capturing the on road and the inner experience in equal measure and in Blood Sweat and Gears, he nails it.

Not many of us would take on such an epic journey with three children in tow, but one of the beauties of this book is that it doesn't come across as something heroic and intimidating because it is written with such an everyday, human touch. Any parents thinking about bike touring with their kids at whatever level of challenge should grab this book - it's an inspiration. More than that, this book is a great read and beautifully captures the delights of cycle touring - this really is top shelf cycle touring writing. Read this book and I'll guarantee you'll soon be down the bike store eying off touring machines and panniers, dreaming your own dreams of a long trip on the road with people you love.
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on January 12, 2010
Mud, Sweat and Gears is the 3rd book that I have read of Joe's and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I found myself not putting this one down until I finished it becuase of the humor. His wife, Beth, added her perspective of the event that Joe was describing via footnotes and I found it to be very funny. The man's side of the story always seem to come out differently when the woman adds her side to it. It sounded like a great time that was had by all family members and an incredible chance of a lifetime experience to see the countryside on two wheels, plus a few more in tow. I enjoyed reading Joe's stories of what the "wildlife" is really like out there when there is no cellphone, TV, modern amenities, etc.. but plenty of time.

Joe has a great way of recounting their trials while out on the terrain and it makes you the reader feel like you are with him helping him bring up the rear or wished you could have been because he had his leg-power spoken for trailoring his 3 boys with Beth either behind him or on his side.

I look forward to seeing where his next big adventure takes him and his family!
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Mud Sweat and Gears .... this is a great buy for anyone with a bike and a family. Anyone with a sense of adventure and a sense of humor. Maybe you have never considered putting yourself in Joe and Beth's shoes and thrown caution to the wind and ridden off towards the horizon with small children in tow. That's Okay. This book has a way of bringing you right along with them on their adventures, from the comfort of your favorite comfy spot for reading. As a family that has taken our kids on bike rides ( day trips, mind you ) in the same fashion that Joe and Beth have done, it is wonderful to read a book so close to home. My husband also has devoured this book! He received it for Christmas and is almost finished. ( This is saying a lot for him - as 'sitting still' is not something he is known for ) We adore the writing style, the reality of their family and "Joe and Beth". We thank Joe ( and Beth ) for writing and sharing such enjoyable books for those of us 'left behind' on their trips. :) Cheers and buy all Joe's books! You will NOT be disappointed.
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on January 5, 2010
This review will not tell you what the book is about, that's simple: A family rides bikes across Canada. This book goes much deeper than that.

I have read and enjoyed each of the "Metal Cowboy's" previous three books immensely. However, his most recent book surpasses all his previous works in spades! Never have I enjoyed a vicarious bicycle adventure as much.

This book gave me an opporutunity to see the real "Metal Cowboy," and what a wonderful human being he really is. Although his family is blessed to have him, they are no where near as blessed as they are to have his wife, Beth. Her additions to the book, posted as footnotes, were to me, priceless. Her insights into reality provided a grounding, and at times humorous addition, to the most wondrous, beautiful, and loving adventure I've ever experienced. This book has a sense of family, love, and fun that can renew a person's optimism in today's world.

I know you will enjoy the ride with the Kurmaskie's, but you will come to know and love these five people more than the ride itself.
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on January 9, 2010
Joe Kurmaskie and Beth Biagini Kurmaskie present, in sharp-witted and compelling fashion, the story of their family's cycling trek across Canada. If you've read any of The Metal Cowboy's books, the possibilities are endless when he throws a leg over his bike and points it toward the horizon. The footnotes from Beth are particularly funny, in that she sees some of their adventures through a different lense. That's not to say Joe isn't accurate in his description of events but I'm sure the truth is somwhere in between. You will also learn a great deal about how Joe Kurmaskie became who he is today, including meeting Beth and starting a family. This is a great read for anyone who is looking for some straight-from-the-road bike touring stories or even if you are just wondering what would possess a man to pedal a gazillion miles and then take his family across Canada in the same fashion. Good stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Thats about it. It`s ok but not what I expected out of a travel book. And I didn`t like the second narrative of his wife.
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on February 1, 2015
Joe Kurmaskie is on a level equal with the greats of bicycle travel authors like Barbara Savage and Alastair Humphreys. Joe has the unique talent of being able to make serious life statements and add fun to the adventure. He is a funny guy...but the hysterical notes added by his wife Beth make the book all the more enjoyable. (As most successful husbands have found out our wives definitely have our numbers. They keep us honest and humble.) And the comments and actions of his boys give us hope that the generation coming up understand what is important in life and what is not, good parenting Joe and Beth. I enjoyed Mud Sweat and Gears so much I gave a copy to a cyclist friend of mine who has a young family. If you love your bicycle and you love your family there is no reason you cannot combine the two. Joe "The Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie shows you how.
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on January 19, 2010
After getting sucked into the book for a couple chapters I made the mistake of setting it down. Then had a miraculous 10 minutes to read more - spent 7 looking for the book everywhere (wondered why I didn't just grab another book from my stack). Finally found it with 1 minute left on my wife's desk. She gets shaky when I bring adventure books home - either I'll come up with a crazy family idea or I'll be lost to her for a few hours. I even saw her sneak it away again and attempt giggle suppression at Metal Cowgirl's footnotes. If you've read Joe before, this includes more of the same with new spins. The notes from his wife & stories of his extended family add depth to the trip stories. If you've not read Joe before - get with it - this is no bike trek diary. Joe is a good writer with a cycling problem. I look forward to his next urges & incidents.
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