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Cranksgiving food drive events on the upswing in 2021

Published November 19, 2021

SANTA FE, N.M. (BRAIN) — With events and festivals slowly returning to normal following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, so too is the annual bicycle-inspired food drive known as Cranksgiving.

There are 67 Cranksgiving events happening around the world this year, up from just over 50 last year but down from the 120 in 2019, according to Bill Lane, marketing director of distributor BTI, the national organizer for the event series. The weekend before Thanksgiving is the most popular timing for Cranksgiving events.

Bicycle messenger Antonio Rodrigues created Cranksgiving as a pure street race, with grocery stores serving as checkpoints, in 1999. It has evolved with local organizers teaming with area charities to form a list of food needs. Routes to local grocery stores are mapped out for cyclists to follow and purchase food with their own money.

The event also raises awareness about how almost any person can use their bike as a transportation means for local shopping while providing exposure to their neighborhood and environment.

Firsts this year include a Cranksgiving taking place in continental Europe (Wroclaw, Poland), and news that the event has been included in a new nonprofit 501(c)3 called Bicycle Harvest.

"This ensures that it has a sound and independent caretaker for years to come," Lane said.

In addition to Wroclaw, other first-time participating cities are Apple Valley, Minnesota; Bend, Oregon; Burlington, Iowa; Columbia, Maryland; Denver — with a new organizer; Elk Rapids, Michigan; Jersey City, New Jersey; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Lincoln, Nebraska; Mason City, Iowa; New Haven, Connecticut; Norfolk, Virginia; Oro Valley, Arizona; Queens, New York; and San Antonio, Texas.

A complete list of cities participating can be found at

"Cranksgiving has a way of capturing the imagination of riders the world over," Lane said. "We're excited to see new organizers engaging with food banks and shelters, many for the first time, to help their communities' most vulnerable."

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