Cranksgiving is an annual bicycle-powered food drive held in numerous cities around the US. It began in 1999 in New York City and this year it’s being held in 68 cities all over the US and Canada. The idea is this: people get on bikes, ride to grocery stores, and buy food to be donated to local food pantries for the holiday season. What makes Cranksgiving a little different is that it’s also a race. Bikers compete to see who can go to a set of pre-selected grocery stores and purchase food the fastest.


Champaign-Urbana held its 7th annual Cranksgiving this past Saturday, November 8th. Participants met at the Downtown Urbana Bike Project, one of the organizations that plays an important role in the organization of Cranksgiving. All food was donated to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, a food pantry located in Urbana and dedicated to serving the people of Eastern Illinois. Local sponsors were: (your very own!) Neutral Cycle, Bakers Bikes, Common Ground, Strawberry Fields, Pandamonium Doughnuts, Flying Machine Coffee, Art Theater Co-op, Urban Velo, and The Distance Cycle.

This year, 45 riders participated and 802 pounds of food was donated. The record for most food collected at a C-U Cranksgiving was made in 2010, when over 1900 pounds of food was donated. 

Among the participants were a number of people who work for or are affiliated with Neutral Cycle. Check out our pictures and see if you can recognize anyone!

If you’re interested in participating next year, make sure to check with the CU Bike Project next Fall.

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