Joel Gormon, a former aspiring competitive cyclist turned bicycle retail shop owner, is the Operations Director at OnBikes. His initial involvement in helping assemble 500 bikes for the nonprofit evolved into leading Santa’s Bike Shop, an annual event now in its 12th year, that constructs 1,000 bicycles annually for at-risk kids. Partnering with nonprofits nationwide, the mission to provide bicycles as a means of change and hope continues to thrive.
I’ve lived in Tampa since 1993. I’m from a little-known island in the Caribbean called Grenada, a beautiful island paradise; however, it’s twelve miles wide and twenty-one miles long, making it a country smaller than Tampa.
I fell in love with the idea that I could be a meaningful cog in this machine that gave away bicycles to kids who would be empowered to make it to school every day or to a tutor, after-school program, do healthy things, shed the daily worry, and maybe even embark on a new job or career.
Every charity has an idea that they can make a meaningful change. We all rely on the goodwill of our community and the efforts of volunteers and staff to realize our mission objective. We are truly grateful for the benevolent goodwill and aid from the Tampa community in the form of sponsorships, donations, or aid that lets us fulfill our mission of improving lives and futures by giving the gift of a bicycle to a kid.
MY LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
Tampa has soul, and it’s not so big that people disappear in the crowd. In fact, crossing paths with people here multiple times over the years I’ve lived here has led to great friendships, and the size of the city lends to lots of opportunities for great times within easy reach.
I think by now I have my own well-worn tire groove that runs through Hyde Park Village, Bayshore Blvd, and Davis Islands. I’ve lost count of the many thousands of miles I’ve ridden on those roads over the years; it never gets old. So many great ideas happen on my bicycle. It’s like the ultimate tool to reflect and dissect my day.
Good swells are rare on the Gulf Coast, but when one does come along, you will find me on Sunset Beach in St. Pete: great crowd, laid-back vibes, the occasional dolphin cruising through the lineup, and epic sunsets.
The Getaway on the St. Pete side of Gandy Boulevard has this total Florida waterfront vibe that speaks to my soul. Great bloody Mary’s, and I love doing their Hors d’oeuvres tapas style; it’s my favorite way to savor a new restaurant or dining experience.
Coffee shops are like alternative offices for us. OnBikes has a relationship with Buddy Brew; they’re great supporters of our mission. We’ve done collaboration blends with them, so we’re frequent patrons of the Kennedy and Hyde Park cafés.
Keel Farms is one of my favorite harvest/spring family trips. Picking blueberries and doing the winery tour along with live music never gets old. Fall and winter are all about the lights and decorations.
If it’s got a Michelin star, I’d want to see why! If it’s been in the news or on a culinary show, if my friends are raving about it, that’s the spot for a special occasion.
Mural hunting is a pastime, one that is so well-suited to bicycle rides, pub crawls, and dining out; they’re all over, and there are new ones always popping up inside and out.
I always look forward to dropping my paddleboard in for a regular round trip of Harbor Island and back to South Seminole heights and when the surf is up, there’s a good chance I’ll be on the beach.
Outdoor laid-back concerts and live bands are always on my radar, especially when the weather gets cooler. Music, blankets, and fireplaces are a classic combo. Pops in the Park is an annual pilgrimage.
I have a long-standing friendship with Eric Hall of AWOL fitness. I’ve been following him around from college gym to fitness center to studio for years. I can’t praise his results enough, nor can I say there’s anything that has quite the effect of what he does. I think of him as an endurance athlete boutique trainer. I had to reassess how challenging a resistance band and stability ball could be after Eric.
I think the older I get, the more strategic I am about evenings out on the Town. SoHo and Hyde Park are favorites; there are so many drink and culinary options that it can be a night to itself, downtown Tampa has some interesting options worth exploring too, I think a classic Tampa progression inevitably is Ybor as the ultimate destination whether food, bar, or club there’s just about every flavor of fun there. I go where the whims take me.
I’m a fan of outdoor spaces. Any park, patio, or campfire is fair game, not always necessarily the best for acoustics, but there’s just this extra vibe of music played outside that I dig. Julian B Lane and Curtis Hixon in downtown Tampa rank high on my list. The venues are both on the river with great vistas of the city.