I first met Geo sometime around 2001. Central Skatepark in Clearwater: At one of the many bmx comps held there. He was maybe 16. A little dude on a bike, doing serious moves. One in particular (A long feeble to 180 on a large edge) , definitely placed him on the radar of “badassery” early on. He shreds, you get it. But more importantly, as I’ve gotten to know him over the years, he’s truly a genuine person, with a strong group of friends. And most importantly, into bmx for all the right reasons: To have a kick ass time.
With no further ado, here’s Geo. Get to know him and get stoked.
Jovanny “Geo” Benitez
Years riding: 14
Hometown: Originally born in NYC, but call Cape Coral, FL home.
1. You’re tucked down in the southwest corner of Florida…an area that has a lot going on yet has a pretty insular scene. What originally got you into riding and what still motivates you?
I initially started riding when I was 7 after I was exposed to the 1995 x games and the first thing I saw was Dave Voleker’s tuck no hander flip over a double coping spine. I was hooked instantly. My pops helped me piece together this sweet chromed out gum walled knobby tire GT mach one bike and I proceeded to curb jump everything in sight until I got clothes lined off my bike by a 17 yr old punk. I was devastated and my folks refused to get me another custom bmx bike since we were living in NYC. It wasn’t until we moved to SWFL that I got back into bmx. I owe that to my two middle school best friends Kory Gellinger and Kevin Crilly for dropping their skateboards and getting into riding, I quit inline skating LOL and got a bmx bike so I could hang out with them more, little did I know, it would change my life forever.
What motivates me to ride nowadays besides the obvious reason of HAVING FUN, is the older dudes. I’m talking about dudes pushing past 30’s and well into their 50’s. Gentlemen like Rob Nolli, DMC, Bestwick, Brain Foster, Matt Hoffman, Crandall, Moeller and the list goes on and on. It’s motivating to see these guys have so much passion to continue to ride and even push themselves to progress. Most of all, I’ll like to mention Fl legend Terry Donley is a big part of why I still ride today. He’s watched me grow up riding since I first started and has taught me everything from dropping-in to peg stalls to my favorite: riding vert. He’s always there to pull my head out of my ass when it’s needed and always reminds me how much fun riding is and why we love it. A big THANK YOU goes out to him.
2. I love hearing about bmxers having interesting jobs. You’re a locksmith…how did that come about?
My locksmith job came about from being at the right place at the right time. At the time I was a trim carpenter and my best friend’s little bro was doing locksmithing and he was getting out of it and I mentioned if he could mention my name to his boss before he quit that would be awesome. Sure enough I got a spot and fell in love with it instantly. Where else can you break into places legally!?! I never in a million years thought I would be doing it. It’s super gratifying to know you’re helping people in need. Anything from helping someone thats locked out, to helping someone feeling secured after being broken into. There’s many different aspects to my jobs but the bottom line is: I truly enjoy helping people! As a matter of a fact, the day we shot these pics I had to run off and do a lockout call in Bonita Springs since I was on call that weekend.
3. The chopper scene? As riders/skaters are getting older, there seems to be this strong connect between our counter culture and the chopper scene. What got you involved?
Aaahhhhhhhhh motorcycles…… If only I could put into words how awesome they make me feel! After watching my best friend Kevin ripping around town on his chopper for a couple of years I convinced myself I had to have one. Would you believe I was TERRIFIED of motorcycles before? Yet I chose to embark on the journey to piece one together? Funny how life works sometimes. Motorcycles have taught me a lot of things from fabricating, welding, reading manuals, meeting new people young and mostly old to getting lost in the middle of no where and being independent. There’s so many aspects about choppers that seems very appealing to any skater and/or bmxer. The constant treasure hunt for the pieces you need, to building it piece by piece, to finally hitting the open road with your knees in the breeze. It’s not for anyone without tons of patience and most of all; just like any like-minded mature bmxer feels about their love of bmx, choppers is a LIFESTYLE and not a fashion accessory!