JUSTIN FORTIER ’18
Although the weather is getting colder, the time is just right for the annual Cranksgiving charity alley cat bike race. The 11 a.m. event is scheduled to take place on Saturday Nov. 21, at the Trinity College Chapel. An alley cat race is a unique style of competition that combines a traditional bike course merged with a scavenger hunt. While they take place all over the country, this particular race is a charity event to benefit a local food pantry. The original Cranksgiving was founded in 1999 in New York City and has grown into 80 events in distinct cities across the country. As a whole each year, the program provides thousands of meals for hungry families just in time for Thanksgiving.
Upon arriving at the Chapel, participants will be able to check in and receive their instructions for the race. As with all Cranksgiving events, there is no set route, just a list of items that must be bought and a list of stores that must be visited in order to complete the race. On average, the race takes about two hours, but a quick cyclist could crank through the event in a shorter amount of time, and race organizers also welcome those who want to take a more leisurely pace. In the few minutes allotted after the instructions have been opened, teams must plan their route carefully.
Each participant is asked to bring about $20 to donate to the Grace Episcopal church food pantry. Each rider is expected to carry the items they collect on the way to the finish line at the church.
Those interested in taking part are strongly advised to bring a bag in which to carry the grocery items, a lock to keep the bike safe when entering the store, as well as a helmet for protection.
When the Hartford race began in 2011, there were only a handful of participants, but last year the number approached 100, and this year, organizers expect to have an even better turn out.
“Last year, I did the Cranksgiving race with my first year seminar, and had a lot of fun. My group came in first for my class and we ended up with a few awesome T-shirt prizes,” a participant told the Tripod. “It was really awesome to see all the food piled high at the pantry once we were done with the race. One racer with a cargo bike must have bought a hundred pounds of groceries to donate.”
The event is still open for registration and organizers are eager for as many people to take part in the event as possible. Many students and faculty have already committed to racing this weekend, and the weather forecast is favorable.