SANTA FE, N.M. (BRAIN) — Cranksgiving, the national food drive with a decidedly bicycle spin, had a record 112 events this year in 42 states and in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Making up the record drive were 52 events held the weekend of Nov. 23-24, the week before Thanksgiving. Pennsylvania led all states with nine drives, followed by New York (7), Iowa (6) and Florida (6).
“We’re still a long way from having a comprehensive weigh-in for the entire movement,” said Bill Lane, marketing director of distributor BTI, the Cranksgiving national organizer. “But, we’ve been corresponding with an organizer who had the fabulous suggestion that we attempt to ‘game-ify’ reporting for next year. The concept will be to populate a new results page with sizzling interactive graphics that change in real time as folks report in. That should be a fun project for us to undertake this winter.”
Kansas City’s organizers collected one of the largest amounts, with more than 20,000 pounds of food.
Local Cranksgiving organizers team with area charities to form a list of food needs and map out routes to local grocery stores for cyclists to follow and buy food with their own money. Organizers are a mix of advocacy groups, clubs, retailers and individuals. Retailers make up about 25-30%.
Bicycle messenger Antonio Rodrigues created Cranksgiving as a pure street race, with grocery stores serving as checkpoints.
“The great thing about Cranksgiving is that it has a broader, more diverse draw than we see in most cycling events,” said Nathalie Nuñez, co-coordinator of the Cranksgiving national website. “It brings out riders of all ages, families, businesses and clubs.”
Lane said the increasing participation benefits the participants and the food banks equally.
“Something unusual is going on here that pulls dusty bikes out of garages,” he said. “People are using their bikes in unusual ways, too — riding with 25, 30, 50 pounds on their backs. You can bet that some of those participants will be inspired to leave their car at home the next time they head to the grocery store.”