Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cranksgiving 2009: A new record

Looking at the weather forecast for the next week, I think we lucked out for Cranksgiving this year. We had highs in the mid-50s and a bit of a north wind, but the sun was out from time to time. That's after a bit of snow last year and temps in the low 40s.

Here's a look at the numbers for this year (the totals may be amended a bit on Monday).

54 riders (50 last year)
1,828 pounds of food (1,263 last year)
$658 in cash donations ($20 last year, maybe?)

All in all, it was a great day for the Omaha Food Bank. We had a nice cross-section of riders -- young and old, experienced and new -- and a great vibe at Bike Masters. Best of all, at least for the volunteers, everybody came in the door with a smile on their face.

Well, except for Kaelly Simpson. She rolled her ankle attempting to ... I'm not sure what she was attempting, but it was in the parking lot right after the Le Mans start. She ended up with an ankle sprain, soup delivery and a pair of new socks. Get better soon, Kaelly!

Here's Larry Wilson (on the left) checking in. Larry was second in the men's geared division. Scott Tarry won it -- that's his blue jacket to the right.

Martin Bixby, a three-year Cranksgiving veteran, knows how this whole thing works. He came ready to go with a tape dispenser to secure items to the outside of his bag.

The results:

Men's Geared
1. Scott Tarry
2. Larry Wilson
3. Matt Farnham

Men's SS/Fixed
1. Mike Douglas (back to back titles)
2. Eric Brunt (won in 2007)
3. Rafal Doloto (podium all three years)

Women's Geared
1. Suzanne Wilson (third overall, and won in 2007)
2. Anne Savery
3. Roxy Feagan (second last year)

Women's SS/Fixed
1. Karen Douglas

1. Ryan Feagan (he was pretty psyched to finish higher on his respective podium than Roxy)

This year, along with the regular sponsor prizes -- everybody left with something, once again -- we had a drawing for a Chrome Citizen messenger bag. To be eligible, riders had to complete the list and bring back a turkey. Imagine your bag stuffed to capacity, then attempting to negotiate a turkey. Ouch.

The winner, of course, was Martin Bixby. The guy who proved he needed no extra bags now has an extra bag. Congrats!

Thanks is owed to our hosting shop, Bike Masters. Also, thank you to our sponsors (including cookie sponsor Eileen's Cookies. Yeah, that's right -- we have a cookie sponsor) and our volunteers. Cranksgiving can't happen without a very wide group of people willing to sacrifice their time for a great cause.

So, once again, thank you.

Next year: November 13, 2010. See you then.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last-minute info

Cranksgiving Omaha 2009 is tomorrow - noon - Bike Masters (129th/Fort).

Registration starts at 11:15, shopping list distributed at 11:50. You need to be signed up by 11:45. If you're not, you're probably going to be stressed out (and possibly late).

It looks like the weather is going to cooperate after all - high in the mid-50s and sunny. Might be a bit breezy, but it's been like that for a couple of weeks now. We should have a great day.

Leave comments or email me if you have last-minute questions: bredemske at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A challenge

Well, we're just a few days away from Cranksgiving Omaha 2009. The weather is looking solid, the donations are rolling in, the food is being accounted for.

As I've mentioned previously, one of the greatest ways to help the Food Bank is with a cash donation. Thanks to grants and various programs, the Food Bank can turn a $1 donation into $10 worth of food.

For an even bigger impact, imagine what $50 can do. At our house, we've set aside $50 to donate on Saturday, and we're challenging others to do the same. We know times are tight, but a little help from the more fortunate can go a long way for the less fortunate.

So far, we have four others who have stepped up. Who's next? You can donate online here or in person on Saturday. If you can't make it on Saturday, please consider a cash donation, especially since it's so easy. Be sure to put "Cranksgiving" in the "special instructions" space on the online form.

Thank you - see you Saturday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranksgiving is Saturday!

Well, we're just a few weeks away from Cranksgiving Omaha 2009. Thank you in advance to those who plan on riding, volunteering or donating – you make the event go. All the planning in the world won't matter if people aren't willing to support the cause.

Every year we have an FAQ of sorts before the event to better explain things. Here it is:

Time: The race starts at noon, but you need to be there around 11:15 to check in, sign the waiver (in which you promise not to get killed -- or at least not blame us for it) and get your bike ready. The shopping list will be distributed at 11:50, and the Le Mans start is at noon. You'll like the Le Mans start. It's fun. Really.

What's this gonna cost me?
Whatever you spend on the items on the list, that's it. There's no entry fee. The items will cost around 20 bucks, probably.

What do I need to bring?
You'll need, at a mininum: A bag to carry your stuff, a helmet (required - no exceptions) and some money.

How do I collect all of this?
Your list will have 10 items to buy. They need to come from 10 different stores. You can do that in whatever order you please. As long as you have 10 receipts when you come back, it's no problem.

Are there different divisions?
Yup -- geared, fixed/single-speed and trailer, for both men and women. The trailer division will be scored by weight, not time like the other ones. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each division.

About that trailer division ...
The idea of the trailer division is to carry as much stuff as possible. Last year the guy who won had more than 200 pounds in there. So yes, get multiples of things if you're feeling the urge. And if you buy stuff that's not on the list (like super-heavy laundry detergent or something like that), you won't get credit. But that doesn't mean you can't buy it (wink-wink, etc.)

You mentioned prizes.
We have a generous group of companies/individuals who have agreed to donate some bike-related goods. Those sponsor prizes will be handed out through a random drawing. Prizes from riding fast will be different, though still cool.

What if it's cold?
Right now, the 10-day forecast says a high of 60 on Saturday. If so, that would be the warmest Cranksgiving we've had. If it's cold, dress warmer.

No, really cold!
Dress warmer.

Better ride fast. And if snow isn't your thing (whose thing is it, really?), nobody will bat an eye if you get the list, run down to Target (less than a mile away) and bring back all of the stuff. Or if you donate $20. We don't expect you to have a miserable day on the bike.

What are we going to do afterward?
Hang out, give out prizes and eat. We'll have two or three kinds of soup and maybe some cookies. You're welcome to bring food to share with the masses as well. Just shoot me an email -- bredemske at gmail dot com to let me know.

Can I donate something if I can't make the ride?
Yes, you absolutely should! There's an online form here, or you can drop by Bike Masters and put it in our "Fill The Truck" cans.

How will this whole thing work?
You'll check in, preferably around 11:15 so we can get you signed in, then at about 11:50 you'll get your shopping list. At noon, you'll hop on your bike and ride. Whenever you get back, you'll check in and weigh your bag. After that, you're done. Grab some food. When everybody's back, we'll draw for prizes. Do feel free to hang out, too. Bike Masters has been kind enough to host us, so check their stuff out.

Is this a family-friendly event?
Yes, to a point. My two-year-old son will be wandering around the shop, probably stacking cans and stuff, but that's about it. If you're thinking of bringing kids, keep in mind the nature of retail in Northwest Omaha. Lots of strip malls, and a reasonably large amount of traffic. For that reason, we ask that all participants be experienced riders. You don't have to do thousands of miles each year, but you need to be able to handle yourself on a busy street.

I think that's it -- email or post a comment if you have other questions. I'll try to get 'em answered pronto. And thanks for being a part of what could be a pretty cool event.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A call to arms

OK, we're about two weeks out from Cranksgiving Omaha 2009. If you've been thinking about volunteering (or donating for that matter), it's time to step up.

Here's what we need:
Setup - 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Event help - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or so (you get free food, just like the riders)
Cleanup - 3:30 p.m. to whenever we're done

You can help out with any or all of it. Or you can donate. Or you can help with food. Just send an email - bredemske at - to get started.

Thanks for helping out. Cranksgiving is nothing without the support of the community.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Around town now

The Cranksgiving donation cans are starting to pop up in bike shops around town. Both Bike Masters and the Trek Store have them. Just drop in a buck or two and watch it multiply into something great for the Food Bank.

Want a can at your establishment? Send an email (bredemske at and we'll get one to you, pronto.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crank up the money machine

The online donation link is live here, and also to the right. Donations made via PayPal are quick, secure and convenient.

Remember: Cash goes a long way for the Food Bank. A $10 donation can buy around $100 worth of food.

On the donations screen, there is an option to "add special instructions." In that space, type CRANKSGIVING OMAHA, so we can add it to the tally.

Sponsor update: Twin Six, Ergon, Bike Masters and Midwest Cycling are on board. More to follow.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Out in the street

Look for these around town in the coming days. We'll have a second version out, too. If there's interest, we'll print up another batch for sale. All proceeds go to the Food Bank.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fill The Truck

Well, it's getting on October, which means fall is in full swing. That also means the holidays are looming. For many of us, that means a time to gather with family around the table and share a meal.

For for the less fortunate, the holidays are a time of stress and worry, with little-to-no room in the budget for anything special. Organizations like the Omaha Food Bank can ease the burden, but they need help.

You can help.

Join us on November 14 at noon for Cranksgiving Omaha 2009 — a bike race/ride to benefit the Omaha Food Bank. It will be held at Bike Masters in Omaha (129th/Fort Streets) rain or shine, snow or ... well, what's worse than snow?

Details on how the race works are on the sidebar to the right. Once again, we'll have homemade eats on hand (with standard and vegetarian options).

New for this year is a push called "Fill The Truck." It's our dream at Cranksgiving Omaha to supply enough food for an entire day's worth of donations. That number is big. Really big. But we can do it with your help.

For every dollar donated, the Food Bank can purchase around $10 worth of food. Now think about a $10 donation, and how quickly that could add up into something really big, and really great.

Even if you can't make the race, consider a cash donation. We'll have donation boxes at bike shops and businesses all over town. Please consider helping any way you can, whether riding, donating or volunteering (just email me: bredemske at gmail dot com).

Let's Fill The Truck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fire it up!

Planning for Cranksgiving Omaha 2009 is underway. If you're a sponsor and want to help, drop a line. If you're a volunteer and want to help, do the same.

Otherwise, stay patient. We'll have more info soon.