“Cranksgiving started as one of several annual bike messenger "alleycat" races in New York City. Each year it is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving as a way for messengers and other urban cyclists to socialize, compete, and enjoy themselves while also raising food for local soup kitchens or food pantries in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is one of the only alleycats focused on raising donations for good causes. Ever since its beginnings in 1999 it has been adopted by organizers in numerous cities in one form or another where all types of cyclists participate to have fun while benefitting a local charity.
Even though the roots of Cranksgiving began among hard working messengers, with its spread the event also demonstrates how almost any person can use their bicycle as a means of transportation for typical shopping errands….”
The basic idea behind this event is that the riders at the start (Trinity College Chapel) are given a manifest that has four columns. In each column are the addresses of several grocery stores in an area of the city (South Side, West Side, West Hartford) and a grocery list of items that have been requested by a local food bank (Grace Episcopal Church, 55 New Park Ave. West Hartford) The riders then plot their own best route to one store from each column, ending at the food bank. The riders at the start then ride to each store, buying the items on the list. The first one to the food bank wins. The riders must have the receipts from each store (in order to ensure that they have, indeed, been to the stores) The items are then donated to the food bank.
Though this is techically a "race", the majority of the riders do the ride for fun and to give back to the community. There will be a reception for the riders, and small prizes will be awarded.