Today was “Cranksgiving,” an annual event put on by our local bike cooperative. The goal of Cranksgiving is for cyclists to collect food for our local food bank by riding cross-town to four different grocery stores to shop for Thanksgiving dinner items.
This is my third year of participating in Cranksgiving; Discovery’s front wheel bears two spoke cards from the first two. I think the
turnout was a little smaller than last year, but a reasonable crowd was assembling as I registered and received a packet that included a new spoke card, a “manifest” of what items to buy, list of stores, divided into four regions (the idea was to shop at one store from each of the four regions), and an envelope for collecting receipts.
Registered promptly and then had a little time so decided to go back home to to top off Discovery’s tires. But there discovered that its back tire was starting to come apart (!?!)
Did not relish the thought of a tire failure with baskets of groceries on Curtis Road, so decided to swap Discovery for Blue. Inconveniently, Blue was not at home then but at the house of friends, my son having recently borrowed it to go there and then returned home by other means. Fortunately, it wasn’t too far away, so I popped over to get it.
Once there, my friend noticed that Blue had no means of carrying groceries (though I brought a backpack), so she kindly offered her bike for my trip.
We adjusted the seat, secured the baskets, and, with thanks, I was off.
Of course, all this adjustment took longer than the little time there was before the start, so I missed the fun of gathering with everyone and making the big start : (.
Still, was off and happily headed to my first stop: Aldi on High Cross Road.
The weather this time of year can make the ride more interesting, as it did last year when the wind blew so hard we could barely stay on the road. But today the air was mostly calm, if a bit cool. Nothing a reasonably warm jacket and a pair of mittens couldn’t handle.
Rode east on Main Street and stopped to take some photos of the remaining fall colors, also of the edge of a mostly monochrome Weaver Park.
After Aldi, the next stop was Meijer. Headed along High Cross to Washington to and then south on Philo.
Remembered how windy it was parking Discovery at the Meijer bike rack last year, but today it didn’t have that feel of
rugged adventure. After the Meijer stop, headed down Windsor Road, then looped quickly through Meadowbrook Park (restraint, restraint) and then south on Race. Loved the feeling of heading out into the country after riding in town. Turned west on Curtis Road through the expanse of black fall-plowed fields dotted with the the occasional tree and bridge over the upper Embarras (Still Douglas Creek at this point?) toward Schnucks in Savoy. On Curtis began to regret my failure to have eaten before leaving or to pack anything to eat. So decided to use the opportunity to take a break and indulge in a little ice cream treat at the Marble Slab Creamery.
Did enjoy riding my friend’s relatively new bike. The expression “like butter” occurred to me several times. Gave her bike the provisional name of “Zephyr.”
Stopped briefly at the US 45 railroad prairie; got a shot of its early November-ness.
After making my Schnuck’s purchase, stopped at the Marble Slab. Really didn’t intend to have a huge ice cream thing, but you
really couldn’t get anything for less than $5 (which just doesn’t seem right for a place with no ocean nearby). Oh, well, just went ahead and surrendered to the extravagance and got something called “pumpkin spice latte,” though it didn’t come with coffee– had to request its addition. The Marble Slab was less of a highlight than I’d anticipated, alas, an example of the limits of the pursuit of happiness.
Thought about making a loop toward the Common Ground Food Coop, my last stop, but really preferred the idea of cycling with a good view of the clouds and landscape to riding through town. The ride back on Curtis Road was smooth and lovely; the
westering sun to my back was peeking out from the thinning clouds.
Along Race Street, most of the trees were bare, but some, like the gingkos, which didn’t do their usual mass leaf-drop this year, still had leaves.
Somehow forgot to get a photograph at the Common Ground Food Coop, my last shopping stop, but it was a short ride from there to the Bike Project, where volunteers
collected the Cranksgiving groceries. The volunteers greeted the returning cyclists warmly. I didn’t win the prize either for being the first to finish nor for getting the most groceries, but they said won something. (I keep meaning to go collect it…). A volunteer kindly took my picture after I completed this year’s event.
It was a great way to spend an afternoon, to enjoy another ride and also connect with something beyond myself. I look forward to doing it again next year!