Kay is a Colorado cyclist and lives in Boulder. She likes a good adventure and maybe goes a little too far sometimes...

Originally dreamt up by a group of New York City bike messengers in the 90’s, Cranksgiving is a way to give back and get a ride in! Part scavenger hunt and part treasure hunt, the gist of the event is to ride your bike and collect food items for the local food bank, EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association – “By helping people meet their basic needs, we empower them to establish financial stability and self-sufficiency.”) This was the sixth year my bike shop, Boulder Cycle Sport, hosted Cranksgiving and on a recent sunny Sunday afternoon about a hundred pedal pushers met up in the parking lot. Milling around and talking to the other riders, (including Winnie The Pooh), I got the feeling that this was definitely a more of a ‘fun’ ride than a ‘win at all costs’ ride. While waiting for the ride to start, I discovered that Winnie The Pooh, (Josh in real life), owns and operates The Coffee Ride, a micro roasting coffee business with Boulder area delivery by bike! He said he wasn’t fast enough to be a pro rider but wanted to follow his passion for cycling and coffee. I think his solution is genius!

Winnie The Pooh, aka Josh, owner of The Coffee Ride.
Micro roasted coffee delivered by bicycle.

After registration and a few instructions, we were given our mission: ride to the five listed grocery stores and purchase the five listed items. Bring about $20 cash to make your purchases. Make up your own route, buy any item at any store, and bring back the receipts if you’re riding for the first place prize. READY, SET, GO!

Ready for final instructions and route planning.

Boulder has a plethora of grocery stores – Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Lucky’s, Alfalfa’s, Ideal Market, King Soopers, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and probably a couple others that I’ve forgotten – but remembering where they are and which is which is the skill set you need for this task. (Yes, I managed to confuse Natural Grocers with Sprouts and had to backtrack.) Planning your route and linking stops is also key to your success. Last year I thought I’d pick up the heaviest item, (10 lb. bag of masa flour), at the last stop only to find they were sold out. Not a good plan all the way around. So this year I decided to go the farthest store first and work my way back, picking up the dreaded 10 lb. bag of masa flour anywhere I could find it.

The things that slowed me down the most were: 1) fiddling with my ancient cable lock while locking up my bike, (Pro Tip: bring a partner, that way one person can watch the bikes), and 2) trying to run/shuffle on slippery grocery store floors while wearing bike shoes (no tip for surviving that one, you’ll just have to deal with it). The grocery items are straight-forward, (no exotic, unknown foods), but knowing your way around a grocery store will save you time.

Our collected food items included: masa flour, dry pinto beans, chili, baby food, and markers.

It was a ridiculously fun day in a mad cap, adventure kind of way; racing around the streets of Boulder, finding new bike paths, giggling while dashing down the isles of grocery stores, and doing a little community good along the way.