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Cranksgiving, the cycling scavenger hunt that supports local food banks, returns to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids

Cranksgiving Iowa City

Pepperwood Plaza,1049 Hwy. 6 East -- Saturday, Nov. 20 starting at 11 a.m.

Cranksgiving Cedar Rapids

NewBo City Market, 1100 3rd St SE -- Sunday, Nov. 21 starting at 11 a.m.


Jav Ducker/Little Village

Cranksgiving is returning to both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids this year, and though its name might sound like a holiday dinner with your QAnon-curious relatives, it’s actually a good thing. Cranksgiving is a combination bike race, scavenger hunt and food drive that benefits local nonprofits.

Cyclists are given a manifest listing specific items and the grocery store (or checkpoint) at which each item must be purchased, although the Iowa City ride will include “some optional destinations of your choosing,” according to its site. Organizers for both rides suggest participants bring around $20 to buy food and other necessities on the list. Helmets, a bag and lock for your bike is also recommended.

The first Cranksgiving was in New York City in 1999, and has grown into almost 100 independently organized annual events across the country and in Canada. All benefit local nonprofits that assist those experiencing food insecurity.

The Iowa City ride will benefit Table to Table and CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. In Cedar Rapids, Cranksgiving cyclists will be riding to support Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, a joint project of Westminster Presbyterian Church and Christ Episcopal Church.

The Iowa City ride will be Saturday, Nov. 20. Cyclists will gather at Pepperwood Plaza on Highway 6 East, the location of both Table to Table and CommUnity’s food bank.

“At 11 a.m., or when everyone’s ready, we’ll blow the starting whistle and it’ll be up to you to reach as many ‘checkpoints’ as possible and to grab the items off the list,” the Iowa City site explains. “Don’t forget your receipt(s) as they will be needed to tally your items at the end! There may be a prize drawing at the end for those who finish. You don’t *have* to race, you can go at your own pace as you like — just remember to return to Pepperwood Plaza by 2:00 p.m. with whatever you were able to acquire.”

Organizers for the Iowa City ride are encouraging people to register in advance online, but riders can also register in person at Pepperwood Plaza before the ride starts, from 10 to 10:50 a.m.

This year, the Iowa City ride will add a team time trial for those who like to do good deeds rapidly, and there’s also an option for those who want to help but can’t make it that Saturday. Information about the various ways to participate is available on the Cranksgiving Iowa City site.

“Afterwards, we’ll have presentations, the raffle, and an after-party at Big Grove Brewery on the patio in Iowa City (1225 S Gilbert St) to socialize and mingle in celebration of your charitable good!”

Cyclists in Cedar Rapids will celebrate Cranksgiving one day later on Sunday, Nov. 21.

“At 11 a.m. we’ll roll out and it’s up to you to navigate yourself to each grocery store ‘checkpoint’ to purchase the specific food items on our list,” according to the Facebook post for the event. “Once you’ve acquired everything on the list you must deliver the goods to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry [1030 5th Ave. SE Suite 1700] and make it back down to the NewBo Market for our finish-line + after party.”

Registration for the Cedar Rapids ride starts at NewBo City Market at 10 a.m. on that Sunday.

“Every item from our manifest that you purchase/donate earns you a raffle ticket to enter for a chance to take home some RAD prizes from our favorite neighborhood businesses! Your completed manifest, including all of your receipts, also earns you a free pint from Lion Bridge Brewing Company and a RAD Cranksgiving CR printed kerchief from our homies at Bike Rags.”

Anyone with questions about Iowa City Cranksgiving should contact the event’s manager, Nick Maddix. In Cedar Rapids, Logan Orcutt of Goldfinch Cyclery is organizing Cranksgiving, and can be reached via email or by calling 319-775-0203.


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