Cranksgiving cyclists, from left, Blake Bricker of Hellam Township, Larry Schlaline of Dallastown and Jeremy Haag of Jacobus listen to instructions about
Cranksgiving cyclists, from left, Blake Bricker of Hellam Township, Larry Schlaline of Dallastown and Jeremy Haag of Jacobus listen to instructions about how to complete the ride Saturday while in the parking lot off West Philadelphia Street near the York County Heritage Rail Trail.
(Daily Record/Sunday News - Kate Penn)

Claire Milto studied her map.

"Do you want to go start at the Giant by our house, or do you want to hit the one on the west end?"

Seth Witman held up his envelope with the course printed on the back.

"Hold on," he said.

He hummed for a minute, staring, bouncing his head back and forth.

"Let's start at the Giant by the Fairgrounds, then go Carlisle, then to Gung Ho," he said.

Milto, Witman and the other four riders with them -- they weren't organized enough to have a team name, Milto said -- had their route. Now, all they had to do was pedal about eight miles in near freezing temperatures Saturday morning, stopping at four grocery stores and a bike shop along the way.

Cyclists gather Saturday in the parking lot on West Philadelphia Street at the York County Heritage Rail Trail for Cranksgiving. Participants biked to
Cyclists gather Saturday in the parking lot on West Philadelphia Street at the York County Heritage Rail Trail for Cranksgiving. Participants biked to local grocery stores to buy food items to be donated to the York County Food Bank.
(Daily Record/Sunday News - Kate Penn)

All in the name of the second annual Cranksgiving, a bicycle charity race that benefited the York County Food Bank. Riders visited stores collecting apple sauce, tuna, granola bars and soup.

Milto, Witman and 30 others rolled to the starting area -- really the edge of the Pershing Street parking lot next to the York County Heritage Rail Trail -- in insulated pants, gloves and hats, their faces bunched tight by ski hoods.

Ice clung to their tires.

Then they were off.

* * *

Tone Rodrigues started Cranksgiving in 1999, when he was a bike messenger living in New York City. When he and his wife moved to York last year, they brought Cranksgiving with them.

Over time, Rodrigues said, Cranksgiving has spread to 13 cities, including Los Angeles, St. Louis, State College, Santa Fe and Omaha.

Some are serious races, having evolved from bike messenger alley cat races, Rodrigues said. Others, such as York's, are more of a fun ride.

Non-riders also pledged money, which the food bank will use to buy goods at a wholesale discount, Rodrigues said.

At their first stop, the Giant Foods in the 1200 block of East Market Street, Witman and Jason Yeager walked the aisles.

Seth Witman, right, and Matt Orlando get proof from Jon Saylor, left, that they were at Gung-Ho Bikes, one of the stores Cranksgiving cyclists could stop
Seth Witman, right, and Matt Orlando get proof from Jon Saylor, left, that they were at Gung-Ho Bikes, one of the stores Cranksgiving cyclists could stop at to help complete their ride Saturday.
(Daily Record/Sunday News - Kate Penn)

"So, what do we have to get?" Yeager asked.

"Applesauce," Witman said.

"Granola bars?" Yeager said.

"Granola bars are lighter," Witman said.

"Apple sauce is more likely to get crushed," Yeager said.

They got apple sauce.

* * *

Later, the group stopped at Gung Ho Bikes.

"How is it?" asked Darren Savage, who was working on a bike at the shop.

"If you keep moving you're good," Matt Orlando said. "It just comes down to the wind."

"Is it windy?" Savage asked.

"Oh yeah," Orlando said.

"It's so warm in here," Milto said.

"Oh gosh, I thought it was cold in here," Jon Saylor said from behind the register.

"No, it's toasty in here," Milto said.

* * *

The riders all finished at a York coffee shop.

They came in sniffling, looking for something warm.

They smiled as they handed over the receipts that showed they had each given one box of granola bars, one bowl of soup, one three-pack of tuna and one six-pack of apple sauce.

jfrantz@ydr.com; 771-2062

OPERATION BACKPACK

All the food collected in Cranksgiving was designed to work with the York County Food Bank's "Operation Backpack."

The idea is to provide school children with a backpack with enough food for six meals and two snacks.

For more information, visit yorkfoodbank.org.