Mud Sweat and GearsMud Sweat and Gears
Book Review: Mud Sweat and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels by Joe "Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie.
Recounting the tales of their travels across Canda with three little boys including one toddler, Joe Kurmaskie and partner Beth Biagini Kurmaskie via the footnotes share bike stories, parenting wisdom, their own love story and a glimpse into life on the road with three wonderful and wild little boys.
I first read a few passages of the book in Bicycling Magazine. When I read about Beth -- who was breastfeeding her youngest as well as riding -- polishing off the truckers' breakfast in a small town somewhere amid a crowd of cheering truckers, I knew the book would be fun.
But it wasn't until I read the whole book that I discovered it was also a love story about two people finding each other, falling in love and staying in love when their lives filled up with kids and when one of them was a complete bike maniac and the other came along for the ride.
One of my favourite passages of the book takes place when the original bike configuration of 450 pounds of triple tandem, trail-a-bike and bike trailer proves too wobbly even for the courageous Metal Cowboy. Realizing, like most of us do, that they've over packed, the family dumps half their clothes and tries again.
Still too wobbly, the new plan is for Mama who needs a lesson on "these gear shifty things" to ride a touring bike solo and Dad to "muscle all three boys across Canada." I love this moment because it's what cycle touring and raising kids and life, really, is all about. You make all kinds of wonderful plans and then reality ends up being something quite different. As Joe says, "Bend with the road or it will chase you home."
The other thing I loved about the book is how much both parents genuinely love being with their kids. Reading about the boys passing hard boiled eggs up to their dad while he took on a never ending hill, the boys' off bike sword play and all their other adventures big and small was a beautiful glimpse into a family with lots and lots of time to spend together.
Reading Mud, Sweat and Gears made me want to cancel all our family's plans, and pedal off into the sunset together. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Joe, "The Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie's other titles, especially Momentum is Your Friend.