Category: Community, Events
On Saturday November 19th, Omaha Bikes hosted a gathering of people from bike shops throughout the bicycling community to deliver an estimated 1000 lbs of supplies to the Siena/Francis House and its mission of hospitality for the homeless.
Cranksgiving began in NYC and has expanded to cities across the country. It’s basically a food drive/scavenger hunt race on two wheels. Traditionally, riders are given a list of items, and each rider must by each item at a different store and return to finish location. Prizes for winners, different divisions, a party after, and all the usual bike race things you’d expect.
Omaha has had many Cranksgiving races as well as social rides over the years, often hosted by Bike Masters as well as other local bike shops. This year Omaha Bikes wanted to do something different. We wanted to bring members of the bicycling community together in the spirit of giving. At the fantastic suggestion of Dale Rabideaux, a mechanic at Bike Masters Cycling, we selected the Siena/Francis House as the charity to benefit from goods collected, and we are happy to support the Siena/Francis House’s atmosphere of hospitality for the homeless. After a few email exchanges with SFH staff, they were very excited to have us pedal the goods over at the end of a Saturday.
Rather than have one big race event, each shop was encouraged to participate in the way that worked for them, and Omaha Bikes would host a gathering and opportunity to deliver all the collected goods by bike!
Bike Masters had a ride earlier this month with about 15 folks picking up food, supplies, and clothing. Also, the shop accepted donations throughout November. Dale rolled up with his minivan FULL! There were six bike boxes filled with food, hygiene products, clothing, coffee, and more! (We scratched out heads and cast doubt if our Bikes At Work trailer’s 600 lb capacity would be exceeded.) Dale didn’t even have room for his bike…but more on that later. Caps off to these folks!!
Endless Trail Bike Shop chose to have a food drive and delivered many boxes filled with canned goods!
The Bike Rack had a ride Saturday morning hitting some hills between the shop and a nearby Hy-Vee. Even with just a handful of riders, Katie and Brittney drove up with boxes and bags of clothes, food, and travel-sized toiletries! (I think they pretty much cleaned out the travel section.) Even after their hilly ride, the gals helped haul all the loot over and stay for a drink.
Last but not least, Omaha Bicycle Company rolls in from Benson, and Sarah leads a crew of 6 or 7 folks bringing all kinds of donations in overloaded panniers, cargo bikes, and backpacks.
Dale and I studied, plotted, and picked our loading plan for the cargo trailer. Everyone started transferring the donations to 5 bike boxes and a few small QBP boxes. With some tape, rope, and straps, the group managed to secure a load very likely near or exceeding it’s weight limit. I was glad to have hydraulic brakes on my Surly Pug Ops!
There were still several things that wouldn’t fit in panniers or on racks, so Brittney (who just started riding bikes in August) volunteered to pull a B.O.B. trailer, yes! We loaded her up as we saw the OBC folks roll up.
Dale grabbed a Heartland B-cycle and a big box of mac & cheese!
The OBC folks hadn’t seen us inside, so we caught up with them on the street! I rolled slowly and my brakes shimmied as I stopped suddenly before turning onto Cuming Street (or plan to ride Nicholas via the parking lot involved more of climb, so we opted to take a critical mass method).
Much smiling and bell ringing ensued.
We were met with the smiling faces of SFH staff and volunteers. Everyone helped bring the ridiculously heavy boxes from the trailer to the loading dock.
He must have been motivated by Scott Blake’s presence, so Scott Redd opted for the ‘safety second’ ride in the back of the trailer while holding his bike. There was much laughter and selfie taking on the way back.“It looked like it would be fun,” said Scott Redd. “It wasn’t really very comfortable.”
After coming back to Omaha Bikes’ office in the CO-LAB of Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, we all enjoyed some beverages, snacks, a tour of the office (including a game of ping pong). It was a great afternoon and evening to spend with friends, new and old, in the spirit of giving.
Omaha Bikes is committed to making our city safer for people on bikes and is a non-profit community organization that promotes and advocates for bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding area. Your donations help us with program development and general operating expenses!