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Riding Outside The Lines: International Incidents and Other Misadventures with the Metal Cowboy Paperback – May 27, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
A columnist for Bicycling magazine, Kurmaskie (Metal Cowboy) valorizes the unexpected vista or encounter above all else: "I like to think of the world as a grab bag, one that I rarely peek inside before the party gets rolling." Structured as a series of short trips rather than a single extended trek, this breezy, unpretentious volume covers such far-flung locales as Ireland, Peru and New Zealand. Inevitably romanticizing the material, Kurmaskie adopts the persona of your affable, "extreme" pal who's good with words. The emphasis is less on the physical toll of cycling than on the people and places encountered along the way. Kurmaskie runs into some noteworthy characters, including a former insurance agent turned Acapulco dumpster diver and an Vietnam vet turned Mexican bounty hunter. While Kurmaskie's escapades sometimes feel like tall tales, his occasional willingness to pad the text with personal if irrelevant reveries about, for example, a fondly remembered Bruce Springsteen concert, enhance his credibility-if every chapter beggared the imagination, readers would have more reason to look askance. Thankfully, some of his anecdotes (e.g., his quest to track down an Irish all-female bagpipe squad) don't work out according to the expected script. A chapter on curious syntax in signs reinforces the author's similarities to Bill Bryson, but the mode here is bubbly enthusiasm rather than dyspeptic weariness. All in all, Kurmaskie's gregarious willingness to play the role of a "ramshackle traveling carnival" makes for a highly amusing read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The author, a columnist for Bicycling magazine, follows up his first book, Metal Cowboy (1999), with this collection of essays chronicling his life and adventures as a devoted cyclist. Here we find the author in Ireland, tracking the elusive all-girl bagpipe squad; in Acapulco, Dumpster diving with a fellow called Sammy D.; in Alaska, touring Kicking Horse Pass. Kurmaskie, for whom cycling is not a hobby but a vital part of life, takes readers on a world tour, inspiring us to get off our butts and into the saddle. The book, like its author, is full of energy and wit, a celebration of the two-wheeled wanderer, of a lifestyle where every corner, ever hillcrest, can lead in wild new directions. The world looks different from a bicycle seat, and, with his unique point of view and distinctive voice, Kurmaskie fills us with the cyclist's spirit of adventure. Recommend this one for fans of Tony Hawks, Tim Moore, and other writers of offbeat travel literature. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
"On Yere Bike," the opening chapter, is where you'll coast to a cozy pub tucked in Ireland, hob-knob with the locals, down a pint or two, and be able to kick back after a strenuous ride. All along you'll know that it's Joe's experience, but the way he tells the story, you're right there with him. Indeed, whether it's about the mad Scottish Aussie who rides a Vespa, or the Three (Unlikely) Amigos--Riding Outside The Lines is an armchair cyclist's dream adventure.
I found his stories to be charming and humorous, but when he sets up a story and lets you know what city is his riding destination on one of these adventures, don't expect him to tell you whether he reached his destination or not, apparently that's not germane to the story being told. Knowing this ahead of time, may help you in enjoying these stories, because it does hop around and he gives you the highlights from many, many places and situations. If you are a cyclist you certain will enjoy this read.
the stories reminded me of why i love bicycle travel so much: the joy and freedom i feel on my own bike as i let go of the past and future, and live in the rhythm of each pedal revolution. as much as i was enjoying reading the book, i was often possessed by an impulse to put it down and pedal myself on down the road for my own adventures! alas, the book ends too quickly, but hopefully there will be more tales from the metal cowboy to look forward to. bravo, joe!!
I've been on bike tours fraught with mechanical problems and lousy weather but have met only one or two people like Joe who seem to thrive on this type of adversity. More typical are gloomy faces and the attitude `this sucks!' So having a book filled with stories about being stuck in the boonies with a rim twisted into a pretzel or holing up in Irish pubs for days until the weather improves, all written with a sense of humor and adventure, is a kick. A lot of us who have done bike tours look back on these kinds of events with a smile, but it takes a special person to keep smiling when things are going sour on the ride itself, and Joe K. seems to be this type of person.
This is a fun book of bicycle travel tales from around the world, filled with interesting characters and interesting situations. It was also rather cool that Joe acknowledged what I think is the all time classic bicycle travel narrative, this being Barbara Savage's Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure. Anybody who likes Joe's writings need to check out this timeless book.
Most recent customer reviews
A while back I reviewed Metal Cowboy by Joe Kurmaskie which I thoroughly enjoyed. Joe is an amazing writer with a flair for getting to the best of a situation or...Read more