Cranksgiving returns to Cedar Rapids this Sunday

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Cranksgiving Cedar Rapids 2019

NewBo City Market — Sunday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m.

Jav Ducker/Little Village

Cedar Rapidians should bundle up if they want to participate in this year’s Cranksgiving — a cycling scavenger hunt and food drive that benefits a local food pantry.

Cyclists will be given a manifest on Sunday, Nov. 17 with a list of items (totaling around $20) that need to be purchased from specific stores in the area. The items must then be brought to Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, 1285 3rd Ave SE, to be donated.

Having participants go to the food pantry is an important element of the event, because it gives them a chance to see how beneficial a resource it is to the community, said Logan Orcutt, co-owner of Goldfinch Cyclery. The Cedar Rapids bike store is the organizer of the event and brought the first Cranksgiving to the city in 2017.

While Sunday’s scavenger hunt doesn’t start until 11 a.m., cyclists should plan on arriving at NewBo City Market at 10 a.m. to check in, plan their route and grab some breakfast to fuel up for the ride. Breakfast will be provided by Roasters NewBo and La Reyna.

After completing the scavenger hunt and donating the purchased items, cyclists should make their way back to NewBo City Market for an after-party, where a free T-shirt and pint from Lion Bridge Brewing Company are waiting. Every item donated/purchased also earns participants a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes — so make sure to hold onto those receipts.

Last year’s event had around 150 participants, and roughly 2,000 pounds of food and hygiene items were donated.

“It was incredible,” Orcutt said. “We basically filled the food pantry to the brim.”

Cedar Rapids Cranksgiving 2018 — courtesy of Logan Orcutt

Cranksgiving originated in New York City in 1999. Now, 20 years later, there are close to 100 independently organized Cranksgivings across the country, including Iowa’s events in Cedar Falls, Clinton, West Burlington, Sioux City and Iowa City. The latter recently celebrated its first Cranksgiving.

“There’s the obvious benefit and takeaway of giving back to the community, but it’s also a really valuable way to get people on their bikes,” Orcutt said. “If someone can ride over 20 miles in November, then maybe it’ll get them thinking of riding their bike to work in the spring.”

Orcutt also mentioned that the event will be happening regardless of the weather, because people are reliant on the food pantry either way. “Elements will not deter this event from happening,” he said.

Cyclists will be able to register for the ride on Sunday at NewBo City Market, but people are encouraged to register online to ensure they get a T-shirt.

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