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A Review of the Book
Riding Outside the Lines:
International Incidents and Other Adventures with The Metal Cowboy
By Joe Kurmaskie
Reviewed by Gianna Bellofatto
Editor Note: Gianna Bellofatto is a freelance writer who frequently contributes her refreshing "Life Is a Bike" column to The Bicycle Exchange.
If you liked Joe Kurmaskie’s Metal Cowboy then you’ll love the sequel, Riding Outside the Lines. The rider, I mean reader, is immediately transported to destinations dear and far, fast and funny, and in a word, nay, with many of Kurmaskie’s wonderful words—it’s a remarkable journey.
"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.
Kurmaskie’s writing style is humorous and philosophical simultaneously. "Almost Naked Lunch," the chapter that he and his companions stop at a nudist colony is exactly where Kurmaskie’s skillful writing brings comedy and profound thought in tandem. You’ll laugh aloud at, “We stood around for a moment, like boys in a gym shower without the shower, trying to meet each other’s gazes at eye level...” Then, reflect at the conclusion, “We hit the road, fully clothed, but each of us sporting an entirely new sense of freedom.”
Sure the writing is superb. But Kurmaskie’s intuitive feel about life is what makes every story a gem. Riding Outside the Lines is bigger than the bike, it’s about how to live. Bravo!
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