by Jack Diablo
Joe Gaskin and Matt Bort were riding their bikes downtown to get a bite to eat one sunny afternoon when an idea occurred to them. As they flew past business people hustling to and from Downtown eateries on their lunch breaks, they realized there was a way to combine their two favorite things in the world (bikes and food) and maybe make some money in the process. In that moment Velo Foods was born.
Starting in May, Velo Foods will take to the streets providing lunchtime delivery to Downtown and Five Points. No longer will hungry workers have to battle the hassle of Downtown parking to enjoy a burrito or sandwich. Velo Foods will bring your favorite meal right to your office for a nominal fee. As of now, two restaurants have signed on to offer their services. The boys hooked up with Chew’s Richard Reichstadter and Burrito Gallery’s Marco Monroi to negotiate the terms of the new service. Both restaurants were more than eager to get on board and Velo Foods hopes that other eateries will follow suit.
Matt and Joe are no strangers to the local bike scene. Matt worked in various bike shops and couriered downtown before making and designing messenger bags at Burro. Joe also worked in bike shops and is one of the founding members of Zombie Bikes. They’re also incredibly fond of food. Gaskin once ate 101 chicken nuggets at the Roosevelt Chik-Fil-A and Bort has been known to put away half of a Mojo’s “whole hawg” in under fifteen minutes. The two seem destined for this line of work.
It’s no secret that Jacksonville is rated pretty low on just about every list of bike-friendly cities. In fact, Bicycling Magazine rated it as one of the top three worst cities in a recent issue. But that doesn’t stop its advocates from the making the best of a bad situation. From the community-minded volunteers at Zombie Bikes to the BikeJax bike valet at RAM, the locals are making up for our city leadership’s failure to make the appropriate accommodations for cyclists. “Velo Foods is as much a business venture as it is a way to prove to the people of Jacksonville and our local government that biking in the urban core is an essential and viable form of transportation,” says Joe.
Bicycle delivery solves many problems at once. For one, it’s green, creating no carbon footprint making it an ecologically-conscious alternative to car delivery. In most cases, it’s also faster. “We can go places cars can’t go and we don’t have to deal with parking,” says Matt. “We’ve been riding these streets for years and know the quickest routes. Let us worry about one-way streets and traffic.”
It’s that easy. All you’ll have to do is call Burrito Gallery or Chew to place your order and in 30 to 45 minutes, one of Velo Foods’ riders will show up, food in hand.
by Jack Diablo