Joe Kurmaskie, AKA The Metal Cowboy, is an award winning journalist, travel writer, performer and author of seven creative literary non fiction books memoirs, and story collections packed with humor, pathos and a full accounting of the human condition. The constant throughout is that everything is experienced and recounted from the seat of a bicycle. Really, he just loves riding bikes and telling good stories that happen beyond his zip code. It’s a good thing it’s worked out because he wasn’t built for anything else.
Whether he’s being treed by geese, out-sprinting an elephant in Zimbabwe, losing all his possessions in a Outback bar to con men in a friendly game of darts, or crossing the finish line of a 200 mile race he never entered, Joe takes you there and back in style every time.
A life long adventurer, long distance touring cyclist, father of four wild and winsome sons, social and environmental activist, publisher, performer and general troublemaker, his books Metal Cowboy, Riding Outside The Lines, Momentum Is Your Friend, Joyride, You Might Be A Cyclist If, and Mud Sweat and Gears have been translated into seven languages and sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world… but he’s most proud of finding the love of a good woman who doesn’t let him pull any shit, raising Quinn, Enzo, Matteo and Sawyer to be kind and stand up human beings, and trying to make each day and experiment in kindness and a flat out joyride.
About that name. Joe looks nothing like a cowboy, more an aging surfer in search of some tasty waves, but it’s a name that he came by honestly and watched it take on a life of its own. It’s graced neon billboards along the Las Vegas strip and found a permanent home adorning a bike rack in front of Powell’s Books.
He was dubbed “Metal Cowboy” by a blind rancher he encountered one stormy morning in Pocatello, Idaho.The rancher couldn’t see him, only feel him and the bicycle, with his cane and decided that was his metal steed and the asphalt his dusty trail.
Joe’s been addicted to the freedom and power of the bicycle ever since he “borrowed” his big sister’s banana-seat bike at the age of five. As he careened down the neighborhood hill, much to his parents’ dismay, Joe set in motion what has become a lifelong love affair with the road and the wheel.
“In Metal Cowboy, Joe offers up an infectious and big-hearted collection of true adventures and misadventures, chronicling his time touring America on his bicycle.” – Boston Globe
Whether he is climbing a tree to avoid the insistent pecking of a flock of geese in New Hampshire, tooling around a motel parking lot in Utah with a touring group of Elvis impersonators, or filling in as a last-minute scarecrow in a North Carolina Halloween parade, Joe revels in the charm of small town America and the unforgettable characters who dot our landscape. Full of energy, wit, and wisdom, Metal Cowboy is both an inspiration and a call to the road, full of the simple joy of a path well pedaled and a life less ordinary.
Joe has been a journalist for two decades. He’s been a contributing writer to Bicycling Magazine, Details, Men’s Journal, WSJ, Outside and Parenting. He worked as an editor for six years at an AP newspaper, before becoming and author and entertainer (mostly so he could sleep in later.)
He lives in Portland Oregon with his wife Beth and his four boys Quinn, Lorenzo, Sawyer and Matteo. They attempt without much success to grow webbed feet during the “wet” season.