My World: Kevin Gilbert

By Beau Denton Photography by Brian Braun June 1, 2012

Jimmy John’s delivery biker Kevin Gilbert on the thrill of the ride. (Brian Braun)How many miles do you bike a day? I ride all day every day. I’m also a bicycle commuter, so I haven’t driven my truck in over a year. I’ve done 60 miles in a four-hour period just delivering sandwiches, and I put in about 1,000 miles a month.

Do you ever get tired of all the riding? No, it’s a blast. I have a specialized road bike, like those in the Tour de France, and I’ve hit top speeds at 43 miles an hour. The only time it’s a pain is when the high pressure lingers out on the bay and sends the wind screaming through here. Going into the headwind you’re pushing as hard as you can and you feel the lactic acid destroying your legs. But then on the way back you’ve got that 30-knot wind at your back, which makes it so much more fun.

Is Sarasota bike-friendly? Not at all. When I was in my 20s Sarasota was No. 1 in the nation for bicycle fatalities, and we’re still high on the list. On Main Street the speed limit is 15 miles per hour and people are doing 30. They’re on cell phones or playing with their radios; they think bicyclists don’t need to be out on the street. I almost got taken out three times yesterday and one time today.

What if it rains? If it rains, you keep on rolling. That separates the men from the boys. I have a waterproof backpack. When my sandwiches arrive, they are dry.

Do you ever have to deliver to the same place more than once in a day? That happens constantly. One building has 10 floors, so three people on the 10th floor might order, and then I’m going back again to the sixth floor, the eighth floor and then the 10th floor again. It would be boring if the whole office ordered at the same time.

Do you get lots of repeat customers? Every day. One customer orders every single day. The other day I rolled up to Walgreens with my Jimmy John’s riding shirt on, and a girl goes, “Jimmy John’s, I love you!” That’s the response we get. Everybody knows the Jimmy John’s guys.

This article appears in the June 2012 issue of Sarasota Magazine.

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