Albany’s 2013 Cranksgiving alleycat race was November 23rd. While I don’t consider myself a racer, I was sure I would be happy to come in dead last as long as my panniers were loaded with food for people who needed it. I’ve wanted to do a Cranksgiving for years but it’s usually been on the Saturday after Thanksgiving & I’m usually out of town. Things worked out this year so that I could participate.
We met in Washington Park, which would prove to be the hub of our race. We were each given a manifest, which had a destination & a short list of items to pick up. When we returned, we handed in a receipt as proof that we’d picked up these items & received another manifest. Four trips in total. We braved the dark, the cold, the wind, the snow, & Albany’s crazy drivers., & ended at a pub where we shared some beers & some laughs. I had a really great time, & I hope I can do this again next year.
As I said, I don’t consider myself a racer, but I think alleycats are the kind of race I could really enjoy (losing). It’s a scavenger hunt on your bicycle. That’s incredibly fun. You have to know your way around the city, & think on your pedals. You need to be able to carry things, & sometimes you have no idea what you’ll be carrying. These are the kind of challenges I like.
Speed aside, the skills necessary to be good at alleycats are the same skills every urban cyclists needs to use every day. Albany should do more of these. Just, maybe, not in the dead of winter.
Many thanks to Jay for organizing this year’s Albany Cranksgiving.