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Bicycle Advocate Joe Kurmaskie Will Speak Tonight in Springfield

Joe Kurmaskie got his nickname—The Metal Cowboy—from a blind rancher he encountered one icy morning in Idaho on one of his rides and he’s kept it since.

His passion for bicycling started as a youngster when his sister let him ride her pink bike with the streamers hanging from the handlebars and it continues to this day.

He’s an advocate for bicyclists and believes that cars and bikes can co-exist on the roadways.

He’ll be part of tonight’s (4/19) event to unveil the Smart Transportation initiative in Springfield.  He explains what smart transportation is…

"Smart transportation is thinking how to increase your livability wherever you are, whether it's cutting down  on that commute to work.  I look at it as building your own recreation whether it's walking to the bus stop, whether it's walking to the mass transit, whether it's riding that bike."

And he says it doesn’t have to be on a daily basis—as long as you cut down on your driving.

According to Kurmaskie, smart transportation has economic and health impacts and creates a better community.

He says to achieve smart transportation goals, cities must have proper infrastructure.  Springfield, he says, has a good start on that with its network of greenways.

According to Kurmaskie, the attitude that you need a car to get anywhere has to change…

"You know, there's that joke that goes around, 'hey, it's ironic that you're driving that far to go to the gym to ride on a stationary bicycle.'" (laughs)

Kumaskie says he’s always been in love with the bicycle.  He’s written seven best-selling books about cycling and his experiences on two wheels…

"I've been chased by elephants in Africa--I've out sprinted them on bicycle.  I've been treed  by geese in New Hampshire.  I've ridden across the Australian Outback, and I've pedaled by family across America--my two boys--and I've pedaled my whole family across Canada, and so we use it as a way of being a vacation, being family time together."

Tonight (4/19) in Springfield, he’ll talk about those experiences and also sprinkle in some bicycle advocacy.

The event starts at 7 at the CU Training Center Building Auditorium, 301 E. Central.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.