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Cranksgiving 2023 riders break the donation record by biking 3,699 lbs to food banks

A person speaks into a microphone to a large crowd with bicycles outside.
Hillary from Rainier Valley Food Bank speaks about their work before the ride begins.

I am still riding high on the happy and caring vibes from Seattle’s 14th Annual Cranksgiving. 168 people biked all over our beautiful city Saturday to buy items the U District, Rainier Valley and Byrd Barr Place Food Banks requested. Pannier by backpack by trailer load, the riders all pitched in to deliver an all-time record 3,699 pounds of food and other necessities.

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us, and thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this the smoothest the event has ever run.

This was the second year that Seattle Bike Blog has partnered with Cascade Bicycle Club’s Pedaling Relief Project (“PRP”) and the effort’s dedicated leader Maxwell Burton to organize Cranksgiving, and it’s a perfect pairing. PRP is the logical extension of Cranksgiving as people use their bikes to help food banks on a regular and reliable schedule. PRP volunteers do not buy the donations like they do during Cranksgiving, but they help handle logistics around deliveries and food rescue. Since it began in 2020, Seattle PRP riders have transported more than 1.2 million pounds of food all by bike. It is a genuine phenomenon. I highly recommend joining a PRP effort. It’s fun, you meet great people, and you help out your neighbors all the same time.

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This year, a lot of first-time Cranksgiving riders came from PRP groups. Likewise, I hope that Cranksgiving can also be an entry point for new PRP volunteers.

Riders this year met at Byrd Barr Place’s amazing rehabilitated fire house at 18th and Cherry and were sent on three different ride options. The most popular choice was to head south to Bike Works, which graciously hosted the drop-off point for Rainier Valley Food Bank for the third year in a row. I overheard several riders at the start say they thought this would be the easier route. I don’t think they were saying that by the end. Most other riders headed north to U District Food Bank. When riders arrived at their food bank drop-off spots, they received a second list of grocery sellers and requested items to buy on their way back to the finish line at Byrd Barr Place.

For the first year, we had a Mini Cranksgiving, which was a shorter loop around central Seattle. This was a great addition for people for all kinds of reasons (arrived late, had to leave early, had kids who need breaks, etc). And for the first time ever, we even had a runner. Loren killed it, hauling as much as many riders. Do we need a running category next year?!?

In the end, people hauled 837 pounds of donations to U District Food Bank, 1,548 pounds of food to Rainier Valley Food Bank, and 1,314 pounds of food to Byrd Barr Food Bank. Then we had a lovely after party at Central Cinema, which generously offered their theater space so we could have a costume contest and hand out prizes. Expedia, Dandelion Bicycles, Cascade Bicycle Club, yours truly, and Burley all contributed to help make the event a success (Burley donated two trailers, which were perfect top prizes for Cranksgiving). Cascade also gave out a bunch of amazing 1990s Tyvek jackets, which we raffled off after inviting the point leaders to get the first picks. The streets were filled with loud colors and zany computer-generated font effects as the party let out.

One unexpected wrinkle this year is that many of the photo challenge posts have been buried. Instagram has made it nearly impossible to see all photos posted to the #CranksgivingSEA hashtag, and the Great Social Media Schism of the past year means posts are spread out all over the place. For example, one challenge this year was to feed the Fremont Troll, but now I can’t find any of those photos. Next year I will have people tag the @SeaBikeBlog accounts so I can actually see them all, but for this year I have a request for all the riders: Post links to your favorite photos from the ride in the comments below or email them to [email protected] so I can share them here. Luckily, Cascade’s Paul Tolmé was riding around taking photos and got some good shots:

Two people smiling with a bunch of food donations in front of them.
Three people in front of a Pike Place Market food stand with food in their arms.
A person wearing a full-body blow-up turkey costume while riding a bike.

A love this costume group photo from Andrew Koved:

Group of a dozen people, most wearing food themed costumes.

And Mekong Rainier Supermarket posted this great photo of a big group of riders out front. Part of the mission of Cranksgiving is also to highlight some of the excellent local food sellers in our city.

Screenshot from the Mekong Rainier Supermarket Instagram feed with a big group of riders in front of the store with text: Great to see some folks from the neighborhood Cranksgiving stopped by again this year! Thanks everyone for helping people in need.

UPDATE 11/21: Hanoch Yeung posted a great video to his YouTube channel Best Side Cycling documenting his first time riding Cranksgiving.

Also, people have been sending us more photos from their rides. Check them out below.

From Jenna Chavez:

From Anne Gillies:

Related posts:


One response to “Cranksgiving 2023 riders break the donation record by biking 3,699 lbs to food banks”

  1. Anne

    I had such a wonderful time at my first Cranksgiving! I arrived as a solo rider, wondered out loud what team I could join, a passing woman invited me to hers, and subsequently I made three new friends! The whole route to BikeWorks and back was new to me, as I am a recent bike owner and have mostly stayed around lake union and its neighborhoods. I loved seeing so much of my beautiful city from the saddle, and while serving such an important cause. I’ll email you some photos. Thank you for organizing!!

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