Letter from the Organizers

December 30, 2015

 

Dear Fellow Road Lover,

My oh my where has the year gone!

Year after year the opportunity and growth of our area leadership makes me feel more and more confident about where our area, our St. Johns County, City of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach will be 10 years from now. From bike trails to bike valet, a seat at the table locally and in Tallahassee, statewide reach to fitting lights on homeless persons bikes, it is certainly dynamic and rewarding to be part of something bigger then ones self.

 

Alas however the time has come. As the organization continues to grow and appeal to both large and small businesses, the topic of transportation remains on agendas across the community, from event planners to elected officials, from law enforcement to local pizza shops. As a reputable and trusted resource on the use of bicycles, VeloFest provides valuable contributions to the ongoing conversation. Providing such infrastructure as the Bicycle Valet system for the Gentlemen of the Road Tour (September 2013) and St. Augustine’s 450th Celebrations (September 2015), and resources like the free bicycle route maps, VeloFest has achieved the status of authority.

 

Because our plan is broad, our needs are great, and our presence requested  we must continue to ask for your support. With a big goal of raising $100,000 for 2016, we must ask now more than ever for contributions from the community. VeloFest has existed for nearly 6 years solely on #veloteer hours and sweat equity and the reality has finally come that we need to hire a full time person to maintain the level of need requested. Please take a look at both the GoFundMe.com/velofest page as well as our Partnership 2016 document. We are proud to offer value for financial contributions and are eager to discuss the opportunities.

2016 brings much hope in the #BikeBill, road construction projects like May Street Intersection improvement and 312 Resurfacing as well as local projects like Bikes & Books Bicycle Rodeo and St. Johns County Bike Route Maps. Be a part of the movement and let’s make the next 6 years even better together. See you on the road.

Roll on,

HN

Heather Neville, Founder and President

February 3, 2014

Dear Fellow  Road Lover,
Every year I begin the process of preparing our organization for Velo Fest Festival, and I sit down to write this “Annual Letter from the Director.” I realize its only been 3 years, but I am always pleasantly surprised upon these rare opportunities stop and reflect, at how much a volunteer based organization can accomplish. While it certainly has not come without it’s obstacles to overcome, the tireless hours of our committed volunteers has made Velo Fest Community Initiative not only relevant, but also a go to local authority.
After incorporating and launching our website in Fall of 2011, we were able to accomplish several educational projects including the Sharrow education campaign, the St. John’s County Bike Route Map, and put a strong effort into increasing awareness for cycling and the festival. The 2013 festival was a huge success with 650 registered cyclists throughout the 3 day event and nearly 1000 spectators. We were also able to capture a lot of media coverage from both local news publications to major northeast Florida television coverage..
This past year we began Velo Fest Club and we look forward to our newest event later this year with Velo Fest 5k Corporate Challenge: Let’s get pedestrian.
Most recently we were able to expand our reach by providing Mumford and Sons show guests bicycle parking as an option. Through the use of our Bike Valet and additional Rack Yourself options, nearly 7000 riders came to the show! It was certainly a huge success. This lead to us owning 1000 bicycle parking spaces locally, further supporting our mission.
We know that you have several choices in which organizations to assist and want to thank you for considering Velo Fest Community Initiative as one of those organizations.  We have included information regarding the year round partnership levels for you and if you have any questions please let us know. We take pride in our business partners and represent you well year round at our  many events and presentations.

Ride on,
HN

 

Heather Neville
Founder, Executive Director

December 7, 2012

Dear Fellow Florida Road Lover,

WOW, what a year!!! Hopefully you were able to participate in Velo Fest 2012 and witness what we feel is “real and permanent change” for St. Johns County. Velo Fest showcased the projects and drove momentum for our number one mission, increasing cycling awareness.

The Objectives page provides the data of what we accomplished in our first year. Without the overwhelming generosity of the community and businesses, there is no way this would have become reality. From August 2011 to March 2012, we raised $25,000 in sponsorships and an additional $10,000 in in-kind donations, with nearly 100% of our vendors from the local economy.

We wanted Velo Fest Community Initiative to thrive for years to come, so much consideration was given to building a strong business foundation and plan. Notable accomplishments to meet this goal included incorporating Velo Fest Community Initiative as a non-profit as well as building our logo, website, flyers, posters and marketing plan, and offering a scholarship to our intern from Flagler College.  This formal structure gave us the foundation to be seen as not only an advocate group, but also a legitimate business invited to participate in round tables along side the likes of FDOT and BPAC of Duval County to assist in the Sharrow education project and city council meetings.   Also working with City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, we were able to help bridge the gap between city and county and move towards major road projects including the NFTPO road improvements and bike rack installation.  In addition, we proposed the first bike route map for St. John’s County in nearly 10 years, and will be printing 5,000 copies for January 2013 to give to locals and tourists.

We are happy to say that next year is lining up to be just a successful. We have been working with the NFTPO, the City of St Augustine, and the FDOT to pursue the improvements outlined in the study completed at the end of 2010. Additionally, by partnering with Friends of A1A, we were awarded a Visit Florida grant to pursue an aggressive Public Service Announcement campaign for early spring 2013. We are already in the planning stages for Velo Fest 2013, and based on the feedback we have received, we expect it to be at least double in size. Additionally we have received city approval for the dates of April 12th and 13th, 2013. Our goal is to reproduce the same quality weekend and build a wonderful annual event for the city to enjoy.

Sincerely,
Heather Neville
Executive Director

 

October 13, 2011

Dear Fellow Florida Road Lover,

I  first want to thank you for taking the time to look into Velo Fest: Movement of the People. In these trying times I know giving more isn’t always top of mind so thank you for your interest. Velo Fest came about the way I think most ideas do, first out of anger, then fear, then frustration and finally action. I have been a road cyclist for only a short time, but the lack of mutual respect and understanding between cars and bikes hit close to home when my brother was hit by a acar while riding his cruiser  in 2003. When my husband was assaulted earlier this year while on a long ride, I knew I needed to take action.

As you will see through the mission and goals of Velo Fest: Movement of the People, I hope to bring about a change of the masses. Whether you love to ride, or cant stand the cyclist on the road, I hope everyone takes away something from VF to make it a safer place for cars and bikes alike.

The 2 day festival will celebrate the history of cycling and kick off with a fixie/cruiser ride through downtown and over the Bridge of Lions ending with a family-friendly time on the lawn of Flagler College with the Sheriffs’ office and others speaking about safety, laws, and other cycling topics. Saturday morning will be the Wrigley Ride; a memorial to Bryan Wrigley who was killed in a hit and run accident last year. The 40 mile ride will begin at the Amphitheater, heading to the St Johns River and back through Molasses Junction by Bryan’s Ghost Bike. Then I invite everyone to the most exciting of bike races, the Criterium, which will take place Saturday afternoon, right in the heart of St Augustine, FL.

With the ultimate goals of increasing awareness and raising $100k for road projects and education programs, my hope is to see a lot of cyclists invade St Augustine in a respectful, law abiding way for a great cause and a good time.

Ride on,
Heather Neville