Cranksgiving: Cyclists Go Head to Head in Thanksgiving Race for Charity

For most of us, Thanksgiving is all about the three f's: food, football, and family time. But as we unleash our inner glutton, fall into a food coma, and bicker with loved ones over Tannehill's latest fail, it's important to remember those less fortunate.

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There are families across South Florida who can't afford to put food on the table, much less partake in a Thanksgiving feast. And it's for these families that cyclists citywide will take to the streets for Cranksgiving.

A scavenger hunt of sorts, this particular race involves cyclists speeding from one grocery store to another to purchase edible items from a checklist. The collections will benefit the Camillus House, a local charity providing humanitarian services to Miami's indigent and homeless.

According to Rydel Deed of The Miami Bike Scene (organizers of the event), the Cranksgiving concept was originally dreamed up by bike messengers in NYC pre-millennium. Since then, the charitable ride has spread to cities including Chicago, Atlanta, Philly, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Seattle. At its core, the event is an alleycat race - a concept where cyclists compete in a two-wheeled dash from checkpoint to checkpoint.

The Miami Bike Scene (which is about to celebrate its five-year anniversary) got Miami in on the game in 2009. Last year's race had 131 registered riders and collected an estimated $1,500 to $1,700 worth of non-perishable food items for the Camillus House.

"It's a fun and interactive way to give back to those in need this holiday season. It also helps shine a positive light on the local cycling community," Deed says.

This year's installment goes down on November 17th. Riders can expect to race from 10 to 17 miles (depending on whether they opt for the long or short route), and spend $10 on edibles (approximately $2 per store).

And while the primary purpose is charity, riders can also score prizes based on categories including first, second and third places, first fixed gear, first and second female, first mountain bike, first out of towner, DFL (Dead Friggin Last, a special alleycat honor), and most charitable.

Donated by sponsors, prizes include gift certificates from local bike shops (Bike Werx, Bike Tech, Mack Cycle), bicycle tires (Fyxation), lights, locks, t-shrts (Knog), a free tune-up (Magic City Bicycle Collective), a limited edition jersey (Chrome) and other goodies, plus random giveaways on race day.

And after the good deed is done, the Filling Station is hosting a five-year anniversary party for The Miami Bike Scene.

So saddle up and spread the wealth.

Participants can RSVP on Facebook. The race launches at Government Center at 2 p.m. and finishes at the Filling Station at 5 p.m. on November 17. There's no registration fee, but riders should bring $10 to cover the cost of food.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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