One Bike – Good For a Lifetime

One Bike – Good For a Lifetime

There is a saying nothing lasts forever, but try telling that to Nancy Blackman. The Carterton octogenarian’s faithful Raleigh bicycle is still proving to be her preferred mode of transport, even after 67 years.

While spare parts are nigh on impossible to find Mrs Blackman says her trusty black bike is still serving her well.

She was given the bike brand new as a 15-year-old. Living east of Carterton near Parkvale she biked the metal road into town everyday to go to work.

Nearly 70 years later she is still biking a similar distance from the north of Carterton to the south where she helps with “granny reading” at South End School.

Mrs Blackman owns a car, but only uses that for trips out of town.

“I much prefer pedal power,” she says. Her late husband rode a three- speed. Mrs Blackman says she has always been content with the single gear.

“These days some bikes have 10 gears.”

The big advantage of a bike over a car is that they are “quick and easy”.

The bike has been stolen once, taken from outside of church, only to resurface a couple of days later, found leaning on a power-pole.

While motorists are not as courteous as they once were and the roads are a lot busier with traffic, Mrs Blackman says cycling is still relatively safe.

In all the years that she has been pedaling she has only had a couple of spills, and they were usually the fault of inconsiderate motorists.

As for advice for any young budding cyclists, or people of a similar age: “Keep to the left and keep your eyes open.”

– Wairarapa News

Thanksgiving As A Verb

While cycling through a sliver of five countries in Africa, I happened upon a mobile flea market/art fest.

51HArTIk9uL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The cars and makeshift cargo bikes and pushcarts formed a wagon train circle brimming with handmade crafts and folk art and recycled wares that could all be closed up and rolled on at a moment’s notice.

Khumbu stood at least 6 ft 3 or 4, but his laugh made him taller. I took a shine to his work and he could tell. When I pedaled back around a third time he said, “You coming in for a landing or more circling?”

The clothe these were painted on… mismatched sizes, draped from the tailgate of a VW van older than me –  and carrying the man’s worldly possessions was my guess. When I asked how much for the bike shack, he grinned, then actually reached out and tossled my hair the way Bill Murray did Glida Radner on SNL, stepped  back, drank something out of a flask I had not noticed until then, offered me a swig, when I waved it off, he threw out a ridiculously low price. I countered with four times his asking price and said I would like the one of his van as well, if he’d part with it.  He looked at me for what felt like a long time, like the first time. Still smiling, he asked,

“You’re so money, then?”

For a second I could see my white privilege on full display. I’d just announced, to the entire market really, that I didn’t need to bargain. In fact, I would pay above asking price. I felt like I’d farted in church…. the embodiment of A Bull In A Pushcart China Shop.

I lowered my voice a notch to outdoor level and pointed at my bike. “I’m American so of course I’m loud and graceless and act like I’m money… but among my people, I’m the opposite of money.”

It was silent for too long. Then Khumbu was joined by his friend one pushcart over, and without missing a beat they proceeded to do the “Baby, you are so money!” scene word for word from the film, Swingers. At this point, relieved but suffering serious cultural vertigo, I closed it out with a solid, “Vegas, Baby, Vegas!”

Laughter and nodding all around. Khumbu made a place for me on the bumper. We chatted for the next 20 minutes. He ask me if I wasn’t money, then who was I? I explained about my travels and my writing and the charity bike ride I was embarking on for Children In The Wilderness, and the cover story for Bicycling Magazine. We bonded over the creative arts. Photo on 11-25-15 at 8.23 AM

In the end, Khumbu got me to drink from that flask, and as I choked down the liquor he said, not unkindly. “So we are the same, except you have the world.”

I told him I would try to get my publishers to use his artwork on the cover of the anniversary edition of my first book. I asked him if that would be OK and where we could send payment if it happened. He explained that most of them were artists exiled by Mugabe and on the run. Some had family running with, but his, a son and a wife, were back in Zimbabwe. “It’s no good running or staying, but I had to run.”

Only a few minutes earlier I’d been romanticizing the idea of a life in the traveling arts and crafts mercado. In those moments, I know that I know next to nothing about the nature of suffering.

“It is a lovely thought,” he said. “But I have no address.” He patted his van.

I paid my price for the artwork. He tossled my head one more time.

“But I do have an email, and Yumbo, he has Paypal.”

When the money was sent, I put the agreed upon subject line in the email.

Subject: Nigerian Bankers Are So Money!

Khumbu’s idea.

If anyone wants signed copies of any of my books this holiday season just email me at or message me on FB for pricing and shipping info. A portion of the proceeds goes to help send kids to our summer bike camps.



Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie Headlining Dec. 4th Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance

metal_cowboy1smlHoliday Kick-off Benefit Event Just Added

Chance to catch my antics live, and support quality community walking and biking programs.

Live show, advocacy, music, book signing, food, drink, prizes.

Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance, Friday, Dec. 4th, 7:00 PM. These folks help out with my summer bike camps, and deserve all the support we can give em!


images-27Venue: Theater inside The End of The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1726 Washington Street, Oregon City.

Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance. A non-profit promoting better biking and walking in the Oregon City area.

I’ll be doing new material, classics, video, slides and Q&A. We’ll eat, drink and be merry!

This will be a ticketed event. 12239973_10153374987414858_845409811768822964_n-1 I will post an update with any cover charge/cost or purchasing info. A chance to catch my act before next spring when the book tour launches. Come on out and kick off the weekend and the holiday season right!

more info:

And if you haven’t signed and shared my petition yet to save lives affected by iron overload disease, click here: Petition

New Portland Date Added To Book Launch 2016 – Broadway Books May 24th 7pm


New Date Added To The Metal Cowboy’s Book Launch/Performance Tour 2016

Broadway Books Tuesday May 24th 2016 7pm

563500_10200579667675178_1307083711_nShow, Signing, Mayhem for: A Guide To Falling Down in Public – I’ll cut loose and do my bar/club material, so it might get a little blue, but we’re all grown ups… and it’s  more of a pastel blue.
I once did a hint of my bar show during a week of events in Missouri. Next day Morning Radio called me a button downed Dave Cappelle. I told them they needed to get out more. If anything, I was a button downed Bob Newhart.

Whoever I show up as, we’ll have a grand time at my favorite local Indie Bookstore.
See you there.
And be sure not to miss Indie’s First Day at Broadway Books, on November 28th 2015.
I’ll be there much of the afternoon with some of Portland’s best and brightest writers. We’ll be recommending our favorite books for holiday gift giving.


What A Difference A Year Makes!

Exactly one year ago today I stepped back from everything… thought I was wearing out when I was actually being poiso11218929_1068196623199249_4008655004449843682_nned with iron by my own body. I would have been dead outside of a year or two

Luck, a sharp Doc and my big mouth kept me in the land of the living, feeling 25 again, running an action network, a series of bicycle camps, 3 books coming out… a second chance to make what remains an experiment in kindness and service. Joe's bio picture

Help me pay it forward – take a few seconds to sign our petition to save others.


Cycling Past 50 – The Ageless Cyclist

Cycling Past 50 – The Ageless Cyclist

There was a time when you thought 50 meant the establishment, your parents or your boss. Fifty was over the hill, with one foot in the grave. But middle aged cyclists are routinely knocking off more centuries with little or no attention to age.

Middle-Age Cyclists
The older generation has realized there’s something addictive and healthful, both mentally and physically — about cycling. Statistics prove that cyclists who take up cycling in mid-life are more likely to stick with the sport than younger riders.

A Class by Itself
The Race Across America is a grueling, transcontinental solo bicycle race. A good percentage of RAAM riders are in their 50s and 60s, and outpacing younger riders. For example;peter-300x243



Peter Lekisch, 60-years old, finished the RAAM in 12 days and 20 hours.
Passion and Cycling
Biking has become a passion for cyclists over 50. The need for glasses, slightly graying hair — or loss of it, and few more wrinkles is insignificant. The things that matter most, cardiovascular, lungs and circulatory, or possible issues with hips and joints, can be addressed easily enough by a doctor who can make recommendations for training or recreational riding.

Fast Versus Slow-Twitch
The mass of fast-twitch muscle fibers needed to produce power is greatest during your 30s. Studies have shown a decline in power of at least one per cent per year for both men and women. But there’s a trade off — slow-twitch muscles, the kind that give you endurance, are more plentiful at 50. The demographic of long-distance riders is continuing to favor older riders because of this distinction.


What to Expect
It’s not wise to blast off the line like you were racing. Warming up the first few miles is important. Everyone is different, and you should know by now what it takes for your body to respond. If not, experiment with warms ups to find your own regimen. Simple stretching might be enough, or a slow cruise for the first mile or two might be what you’re looking for.

Cycling Past 50

Cruising Speed
At some point during a ride, you’ll likely feel your lungs and heart find a balance. It might be between 12-to-16 mph, give or take. Serious cyclists call it the anaerobic balance. When you feel it, stick with it for a comfortable cruising speed.

Bounce Back
Recovery from a long ride might not be as fast as it was when you were 25. Pushing yourself to the limit breaks down muscle fibers. When the muscles grow back, they’re bigger and stronger. At 50, muscles don’t mend as fast, but they do mend, only slower.

Mood and Hormones
It’s not uncommon during middle-age, to feel down in the dumps, less amorous, or you simply can’t sleep. If you have any of these maladies you’re probably not a cyclist. Cycling affects estrogen and testosterone levels. It’s one thing to say that cycling is a cure-all for these simple health problems, but knocking off a few miles or more each day or as often as you can, is an aid to health issues, and when you feel good, and look good, you feel more attractive.

About Training
Older cyclists tend to understand their own responses to training, rather than just blindly knocking out the miles, or following a “one size fit’s all,” training program. If you’re not into training, but instead prefer a more recreational approach, older cyclists are still more likely to listen to what their body is telling them, because it speaks louder — especially in the morning.

The Agless Cyclist
Cyclists who prefer to spend their weekends shredding the blacktop rather than puttering around in the garden or on a golf course have much to be happy about. It’s impossible to reverse the arrow of time, but consistent and intelligent cycling minimizes its effects, allowing the older cyclist to maintain or gain fitness as the years tick by.
Middle-age cyclists typically appear younger than their biological age.

How I See/Feel Every Moment I’m On A Bicycle

This Is How I See/Feel Every Moment I’m On A Bicycle!
Doesn’t matter if it’s raining. cold, pedaling down an alley, through traffic, dodging potholes, kids complaining, out of water, too many layers, not enough layers, sweat in my eyes or on an actual crest like this one pictured. It’s just how good and alive I feel every time I’m on the pedals… any pedals.

Oslo To Become First Major City To Ban Cars

14585501532_6a69dd127f_oCars are no longer welcome in downtown Oslo.

Oslo plans to ban all cars from its city center by 2019, Reuters reports.

It will also build more than 35 miles of bike lanes by 2019 and invest heavily in public transport.

The permanent ban will affect the 350,000 or so car owners in the Norwegian capital.

Oslo’s car ban is the largest of its kind, says Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an organization that helped install New York’s Citi Bikes and advocates for car-free cities.

“The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful,” he tells Tech Insider.

The car ban in Oslo will reduce pollution and make it a safer city for those on foot.

“We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone,” Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo, tells Reuters.


Madrid set a similar precedent last year, when the city announced an ambitious plan to kick cars out by 2020. Madrid’s ban, larger than Oslo’s, will cover 500 acres of the city. Other European cities have worked toward similar objectives, but not to this scale and speed.

Paris banned cars from its major landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, last month. If commuters in Milan leave their cars at home, the government will reward them with public transit vouchers. Copenhagen introduced pedestrian zones in the 1960s, and car-free zones slowly followed over the last half-century.

Oslo’s auto ban may mark a shift in our thinking around cars, White says. When cities move away from private transportation, they can rededicate that space to public parks, sidewalks, and cafés.

The problems created by cars are many.

4997898054_5f12fbb7ea_oAn estimated 150 million Americans — nearly half the country — live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. Cars produce the majority of this carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide pollution.

Traffic in London today moves slower than the average cyclist, and drivers in the U.K. waste 106 days of their life searching for parking spots. Commuters in Los Angeles spend 90 hours per year in traffic.

Pollution aside, cars are actually the most inefficient way to move through a city. Car bans could solve that.

“Having cars inside a dense city center is the equivalent of putting a large dinner table in a small studio apartment,” White says. “In the space it takes to park a car, you can park 15 bicycles.”

White predicts large car-free zones will eventually happen in the U.S. “Because Oslo is moving forward on such an aggressive time table, the world will be watching and seeing how it goes,” he says. To follow Oslo’s lead, White says other cities need to provide more bike lanes, sidewalks, buses, and subways.

Options like these will improve everyone’s commute.

“What a human and wonderful thing: to be able to walk down the street and feel like you’re a first-class citizen,” White says.