On the chilly Saturday before Thanksgiving, bikers gather at Aggie Blue Bikes on the Utah State University campus to compete in Cranksgiving.
Cranksgiving is a Thanksgiving tradition that began in 1999 on the streets of New York City. In its twenty years, it has since spread across the country to over 80 cities. Although it may vary depending on the location, the general idea is the same:
It is a mix between a scavenger hunt, a bike race, and food drive. It begins with a starting point and a list of grocery stores and food items. Contestants bike to these locations and buy as much food as they can before biking to the finish line. Each place they stop at awards them a certain number of points that are added up at the finish line. Prizes are given to the fastest bikers, the bikers who collect the most food, and bikers who earn the most points. All the food collected is donated to local charities to feed underprivileged families during the holidays.
In Logan, Utah, the event starts at Aggie Blue Bikes and ends at the Cache Valley Food Bank on November 23rd from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Although the tradition has been alive for twenty years, this is only the second year of it coming to Logan.
One of the leaders who pushed for Cranksgiving to come to Logan was Margaret McCarthy, the Aggie Blue Bike Program Coordinator. She first saw the event while living in Seattle, WA where she became a participant. After moving to Logan where she began working at Aggie Blue Bikes, she noticed over social media that towns smaller than Logan were participating and felt it was time it came to Cache Valley.
On November 23rd some members of the Logan community took part in Cranksgiving, they rode around the city logan and collected canned food for the Cache Valley Food Pantry. In the end they collected 210 pounds of food.
“Aggie Blue Bikes is part of the Center For Community Engagement. Our department believes in the strong tradition of national service as well as conservation.” Margaret explained, “A food drive that does not contribute to Cache Valley’s air quality issues and allows the cycling community to come together and have fun while helping ensure that everybody in our community can have a Thanksgiving dinner they deserve seemed like a no brainer.”
Last year, Zachary Gregory was also one of the Blue Bikes employees who helped push for Cranksgiving. Although he has since left his position and moved to Salt Lake City, he returned to Logan for the event.
“… I’ve always looked up [Cranksgiving] and wanted to do it, but never had one in any of the cities I was living in.” Zachary said. “So, working for Blue Bikes last year, and having Meg really push for it, we were able to start it, which is great. And we had a great turn out last year.”
There were many returning contestants but also some new ones, like Olivia Gregory, who said Margaret McCarthy as well as Zachary Gregory’s enthusiasm for the event made her want to do it this year.
“I’m excited,” she told me, “I have done a couple other of their alley cats [events].”
This year, they were able to donate 210 pounds of food to the Cache Valley Food bank.
“I hope this is an annual event that Logan can count on occuring…” said Margaret, “We hope that it grows bigger and bigger each year. Last year we were the only Cranksgiving in Utah and this year Farmington is joining us! Here is hoping Salt Lake will get involved next year, too.”