Participants gather for the 2018 Cranskgiving in Sequim. (Tom Coonelly)

Participants gather for the 2018 Cranskgiving in Sequim. (Tom Coonelly)

Cranksgiving to fuel food banks

Fundraisers-on-wheels cycle through Port Angeles, Sequim

Grabbing grub for a good cause is once again the theme for the ninth annual Sequim Cranksgiving event and the second annual Port Angeles Cranksgiving, both fundraisers-on-wheels Saturday.

Community members are invited to bring their bikes and generous spirit to gather food items from local stores, helping fuel the efforts of the Port Angeles Food Bank and the Sequim Food Bank to feed the area’s hungry.

Registration is free for both events.

In Sequim, riders of all ages, both individuals and teams, will gather at 8:30 a.m. starting at the Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., and at 9 a.m. ride to local shops in a 4½-mile stretch between QFC (990 E. Washington St.) and Walmart (1284 W. Washington St.), picking up foodstuffs along the way.

In Port Angeles, participants are to register by 10 a.m. at the Port Angeles Farmers Market at The Gateway at Front and Lincoln. They will receive shopping lists and bike to participating groceries to buy supplies — where valet parking will watch over their bikes — and bring them back to the market.

Both events will issue prizes or trophies for such categories as most food gathered by weight, top team, oldest rider and youngest rider.

In Sequim an after-party is planned at Rainshadow Coffee. In Port Angeles, awards will be issued at noon.

Port Townsend has no Cranksgiving event scheduled, but Liz Revord, marketing director of The ReCyclery, said that “if people want to to bring donations to the ReCyclery, we’d be happy to get it to the food bank.”

Last year, Sequim’s group of riders and support crew gathered a ton and a half of food for the Sequim Food Bank. One single rider, Ken Stringer, gathered more than 600 pounds of food.

“Last year was a really good one for us,” said Sequim organizer Tom Coonelly.

“We raised about 2,800 pounds of food for our food bank. This year I hope to beat that record.”

The Port Angeles inaugural Cranksgiving drew 20 bicycle riders who collected some 400 pounds of food for the Port Angeles Food Bank and donated $110 in farmers market tokens, said Tom Michowski, owner of the Bike Garage, one of the organizers of the event.

This year, organizers — which also includes Port Angeles Likes Bikes and the farmer market — hope to draw 45 people and collect 660 pounds of food, Michowski said.

Starting as one of several annual bike messenger “alley cat” races in New York City, Cranksgiving is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving as a way for cyclists to socialize, compete and enjoy themselves while gathering food for local soup kitchens or food banks in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Instead of a straight race between a start and a finish or between multiple check points going from one check point to another, Cranksgiving involves required stops with several choices and routing options. The original idea behind the race structure is to mimic the average workday of a courier and winds up a kind of scavenger hunt on wheels.

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, having fun while benefiting a local charity.

To date over 150 cities nationwide have announced their participation.

For more information, contact Coonelly at 360-681-7053 or [email protected].

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