Nov. 23 marked the second annual celebration of Cranksgiving in Memphis, with bikers coming from all around the city to participate in the race.
“Cranksgiving was started in New York City as a way for people to raise money for food banks, it usually done as a scavenger hunt, but I decided just to have people donate money,” said Carter Chappell, University of Memphis alumni and founder of the Cranksgiving event.
Court Percer, manager of Peddler Bike Shop and graduate of University of Memphis, participated in the race for first time this year. Last year, he just observed the other cyclists muscle through the 50-mile race.
“I decided on the 12-mile race instead of the 50, the 12-mile race is more fun, the 50-mile race is more for the pros and longtime cyclists,” Percer said.
The race started at the Mid-South Food Bank, located at 239 Dudley in Memphis and ended at Bluff City Sports Print on Cooper. Chappell said the best part about the race is the end.
“At the end of the race, we have a big buffet with turkey legs and stuffing, a keg of beer, and tons of desserts, we just sit around and have a good time and unwind after the long ride," he said.
Last year, Cranksgiving collected around 220 can goods, which equates to about $800 worth of food, according to Lee Curbo, Chappell’s fiancée.
Chappell said it is essential that the riders be prepared to ride in fast traffic and keep up with other cyclists during big races like Cranksgiving, otherwise it is easy to get lost or injured.
“We usually do a neutral start instead of all running to bikes for safety reasons,"Chappell said. "We tried the running approach last year and some people ran into each other and ended up getting injured.”
In addition to a neutral start, Chappell and race leaders had a pre-race meeting to address in safety concerns. Chappell also posted a link online to the route for racers to prepare for the event.
Most of the injuries were minor things like scrapes along the knee and shin.
The participants in Cranksgiving paid a $10 fee to join in the fun and festivities. For every dollar raised by Cranksgiving, the Mid-South food bank tripled the amount.
Percer said the small ride is more important than the 50-mile race because it attracts non-cylists to the event, which draws in more money. Last year, Peddler donated a wheel set and other gear for the winners.
Chappell has been cycling for 18 years and likes the outdoor aspect of the sport. He said he loves trying new trails and seeing different parks and parts of nature.
“A lot of people shy away from cycling because of all the dangers of cyclists running into each other, but it really isn’t that bad if you know what you are doing,” Chappell said.
As for hosting another event anytime, Chappell is content with just contributing to the philanthropic efforts of Memphis just once a year.
“It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work, especially when people wouldn’t follow through with their obligations,” Chappell said. “I am glad it was successful and more grateful it is done.”