Nhatt Nichols of The ReCyclery in Port Townsend explains the rules of Cranksgiving to participants Saturday afternoon. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Nhatt Nichols of The ReCyclery in Port Townsend explains the rules of Cranksgiving to participants Saturday afternoon. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Bicyclists crank up for food bank donations

PORT TOWNSEND — With the pop of a bike tube, a dozen bicyclists took off from the ReCyclery in Port Townsend on Saturday to collect food to donate to those less fortunate.

Community members gathered at the ReCyclery at 1925 Blaine St. just before 2 p.m. to participate in the second annual Cranksgiving — which is part food drive and part scavenger hunt on bicycles.

The event is one of 70 across the state of Washington — including one in Sequim on Saturday — and one of hundreds across the U.S.

Port Townsend participants received a list of items to purchase at four businesses in town: Safeway, Aldrich’s Market, QFC and the Food Co-op. Participants were required to buy only one item per store.

“We wanted it to fit everyone’s budget,” said event organizer Nhatt Nichols, “but people can buy more if they want.”

With no set route, bicyclists had to figure out the most efficient way to find all the items and get them to the finish line at the Boiler Room in downtown Port Townsend.

“If you want to purchase the heaviest thing at the co-op, then ride up the hill to the QFC, you can do that,” Nichols said.

There were prizes handed out at the end of the race for fastest time, most stylish and most generous.

This year, almost a dozen people participated, much better than last year, which had nine participants, according to Nichols.

“It was pretty last-minute, though,” Nichols said.

Participant Lily Hickenbottom brought her partner, Jason Queen, along with 9-year-old Milo and 11-year-old Emerson.

“We brought the two boys to show that, No. 1, there’s cool events in town,” said Hickenbottom. “Also, given the political climate currently, it’s important to do things for the community.”

The average expenditure by each participant was expected to be $15 to $30 and all the food purchased will go toward the Boiler Room’s Thanksgiving meals, which last year fed more than 100 people, according to Nichols.

After the race, participants had cookies and a warm beverage at the Boiler Room for all participants, on the house. Prizes for fastest, most generous and best style were awarded.

In Sequim, bicyclists gathered at the Sequim Food Bank at 144 W. Alder St., intent upon gathering 1,000 pounds of food to be donated to it.

Bicyclists riding in the sixth annual event in Sequim were provided a list of food and told of a course that spanned 4.4 miles from QFC to Walmart and back, said co-organizer Tom Coonelly.

They competed for such prizes as fastest collector, most food collected, youngest and oldest rider, and top food-gathering team.

The event also included an after-party at Rainshadow Coffee for awards and a raffle.

The Sequim Cranksgiving is hosted by the Spoke Folks Cycling Club. Coonelly said Sequim is the smallest town in the country hosting a Cranksgiving event.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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