Niagara Velomobile Happening
SAT/SUN Sept 18 - 19 , 2011
It has been a couple of weeks since the 2011 Niagara Velomobile Happening.
It seems that the general consensus was that this years Velomobile Happening was a success!
We equaled the high attendance of people, interesting bikes and velomobiles from 2010,
despite many competing events.
About half of the Niagara Rally participants chose to stay and check out our event too!
A nice range of activities has kept this fall classic organized and interesting, yet casual!
The weather co-operated so that we were able to exceed last year to have the highest number of campers ever.
I would like to thank our event sponsor- bluevelo !
Without their help, this event would not be possible.
BLUE VELO WEBSITE: http://bluevelo.com/
VIDEO OF THEIR RIDE TO OUR EVENT: http://www.youtube.com/user/rmickevi?blend=23&ob=5
I would also like to thank our event hosts- Reg and Kim Rodaro.
Without their willingness to play host site to our earnest addiction to velomobiles, this event would not be possible!
They spend many days disrupting their home and business by preparing the event site for our enjoyment.
Kim spent many hours shopping and preparing food for our Saturday evening BBQ. This year, she was given a tight budget to work with too!
Also, Reg spent hundreds of dollars of their own household money and many days of effort to construct a custom outdoor toilet, tap and shower that was specially constructed for our annual event.
I would also like to to shine a spotlight on some people who really stepped up and helped above and beyond the usual volunteer time.
John Murray agreed to be the Sales Area Co-Ordinator spending many hours to organize that area, provide a great assortment of parts and accessories and also was a speaker.
Gosse Van Oosteen agreed to be the main volunteer for the Registration Area during the busiest hours, hauled half of my event organization items hundreds of kilometres to and from the event and also was a speaker.
Joe Mitrovic agreed to loan and set up the main event structure ( Sales and Registration), hauled half of my event organization items hundreds of kilometres to the event, volunteered for many hours and also was a speaker.
Tom Pekar agreed to loan a trailer for organizing after hours, donated food items, including vegetarian patties, and the plates, cups and cutlery, volunteered on site and was an amazing feature as the "Town Cryer".
We had a nice range of speakers this year who deserve a round of applause!
Rob Campbell: Updated Trike E-assist
Reg Rodaro and Joe Mitrovic: : Sociable Tandem Velomobile Project Design
John Murray: Wheelbuilding
Gosse Van Oosteen: Cycling Issues
Mike Woelmer: Ride Across America
Arne Pelkonen: Lean Steer Trike
Mike Channon: Demountable Homebuilt Trike
Jay Dixon: Fabric Velomobile and Sign Trailer
Mike Swarbrick: Velomobile Videos
If you wish to be a speaker for next year or have a suggestion- please contact me.
I am always looking for volunteers and endeavor to have the responsibilities light enough that you can participate fully in the day's events.
These volunteers made my life easier by assisting before the event or while it was happening. They were John Murray, Joe Mitrovic, Gosse Van Oosten, Rob Campbell, Patrick McKowen, Brian Martin, Paul Monner, Randy Weiss, Rene Tardif and Tom Pekar.
I am especially looking to re-organize so as to have volunteers assist with event organization before that weekend.
NEEDING ORGANIZATIONAL HELP:
Common comment for attendees: "I love the event exactly as it is !"
As the event co-ordinator, I spend about 400 hours doing the main work to make this event as many people have come to expect it.
During the two weeks before the event and while it is on, I am doing 20 hour days, with many dozens of items on the "To Do" list and about 60 emails to respond to daily.
Honestly, as much as I enjoy it, it is far too much time for myself personally as a single volunteer.
I am looking at ways to streamline and reduce the amount of hours needed to run the event
I honestly can not take on any new improvements unless other aspects are dropped or taken on by another volunteer.
I will also be looking at ways that other people can help with some of the organizational workload before the event and during it.
The organizers of Niagara Rally are still deciding if they will have next year's rides in conjunction with our event or go back to other dates and locations. They had about a dozen of their attendees come to our event.
Please let them know your preferences. Tom Barone < email@example.com>
The main organizer of the Terry Fox Run would like us to participate more fully in their event next year.
This would mean arriving at the downtown park around 9:30am and riding very slowly as a group (parade-style) with a crowd of about 150-200 walkers from about 10am to 11am.
There may also be an expectation for us to contribute to their fundraising ( I will find out)
This would provide some potential for public relations and media attention.
I need to hear attendees' opinions about this potential change.
There has been an offer for a potential website for our event. I will be following up, but may need assistance with the additional work related to this new possibility.
ROAD ROUTE CHANGES:
There has been some requests for potential changes in the road routes, checking the routes and the quality of the maps to be improved.
This endeavor could take an additional 30-40 hours ( to the hundreds of organizational hours) and I would be looking for volunteers, if we take this new direction.
We are also looking for your feedback on any of these suggested improvements / positives ( see below) or other ideas you may have.
I especially LOVE suggestions and solutions when YOU can help make it happen ( ie volunteer and provide resources)
COMMENTS: ( Suggestions and Positives)
- change the name of event to reflect that many of the vehicles are recumbent ( ie Niagara Recumbent and Velomobile Happening)
- loved the low event price and sliding rate structure
- would like a lunch provided onsite for Saturday.
- liked the move of the Saturday evening ride to the afternoon ( better lighting and safety)
- some of the Saturday ride route is too busy during the day
- loved the "Town Cryer" opening Saturday ( classy and memorable)
- name tags with location and bike made connecting much easier
- liked the "Sale Area"
- would like to try new routes for road rides
- make bringing snack foods ( or contributing extra money) mandatory
- appreciated the Saturday night campfire
- liked the help organizing carpools/ bike pools to the event
- have a single website with event updates, event photos and links
- improve ride maps
- provide GPS data for rides
- liked the FAQ, very helpful
- improve ride leader familiarity with routes for road rides
- make pavement markings for turns for bike rides
- improve usage of volunteers
- have a schedule for volunteers
- have online payment for pre-registration
- liked improvement for more information about general cycling and not so much velomobile- specific
- clearer more professional sign out front and at corners.
- make more velomobile shaped signs
- publicize the event in other locations ( ie velo websites, online discussion areas, etc)
- liked the award certificates
- liked having a portable washroom outside
- want a shower curtain for outdoor shower
- liked the amount of lectures mixed with free time for test rides and mingling.
- improve clarity of ride maps
- check routes for issues (ie obstructions, turns, etc)
What were some changes for the event this year?
We split the seminars into morning and evening sessions.
We joined forces with Niagara Rally, which preceded our event.
Our Saturday evening ride was switched to the afternoon.
We encouraged people to participate in the Sales Area as a buyer or seller.
We encouraged people to pre-register with firm and clear dates (Aug 10- Sept 10) .
We had the ability to custom order new bike parts through John Murray
We encouraged people to bring all the food and drink to stay on site all weekend.
We asked that people attend as early as possible Saturday morning so that seminars can get started.
There were new banners and signs for the event.
We had event T-shirts this year.
We had an more organized Velo email list this year.
There were improved registration kits.
There was an expanded and improved "For Sale Area".
We also gave out awards to speakers, volunteers and the sponsor.
Anyone who has any name tags or registration kits that they are not needing- please bring them to next year's event to help us keep costs low.
If you know how to contact these people- let me know.
Rich Jurkowsik <unreadable email> Buffalo, New York ( Greenspeed trike)
"Dana & Carmella Thompson" <unreadable email>, Chester, M.D. ( Terratrike Tandem)
The 2012 Niagara Velomobile Happening will be September 16 and 17.
Mark your calendars now to attend!
Start making the excuses to your work, spouses and friends!
Thank you all for making this event the success that it was.
- Jay Dixon
PHOTOS AND VIDEO:
Niagara Rally (Thu / Fri) and Niagara Velomobile Happening ( Sat / Sun)