Annual Cranksgiving Bike Race Will Bring Together Campus and Hartford Communities

Ride to Benefit Local Food Pantry Kicks Off at Trinity College Chapel on Saturday, November 21

Hartford, Connecticut, November 17, 2015 – The Trinity College campus will serve as the starting point for Hartford’s fourth annual Cranksgiving bicycle race on Saturday, November 21, to support the Grace Episcopal Church Food Pantry in the city’s Parkville neighborhood.

​Johannes Evelein, professor of language and culture studies, makes a purchase during the 2014 Hartford Cranksgiving race.
Participants will register for the event at the Trinity College Chapel before heading onto the streets of Hartford in order to bike to designated checkpoint grocery stores, purchase specific items, and then pedal to the food pantry, which is the finishing point of the race. This year, the team coordinating Hartford’s Cranksgiving decided to add culturally diverse grocery items to the lists given to race participants.

The Hartford Cranksgiving was started by Richard Wegener, longtime active member of Grace Lutheran Church, and James Ebert, Trinity’s former senior associate director of leadership giving, after Wegener participated in a race in New York City, where the first Cranksgiving was held in 1999. Wegener and Ebert saw organizing a Cranksgiving as an opportunity to give back to the Hartford community during the holiday season. Like Wegener and Ebert, others around the country have been inspired by New York City’s Cranksgiving event, and similar races now take place at this time of year in almost 60 cities.

Trinity faculty, staff, and students were among the volunteers
and participants in the 2014 Hartford Cranksgiving.
In Hartford last year, 62 cyclists – including more than 20 from the Trinity community – participated in the race. Some teams were armed with racing bikes and state-of-the-art GPS systems. Others had nothing more than a bicycle, a backpack, and an intimate knowledge of Hartford’s streets. What they all shared was the desire and willingness to help brighten this Thanksgiving for neighbors in need. The race was a huge success, with participants donating more than $2,000 worth of food and $750 in financial support to the pantry. Both the level of donations and the number of participants set new records for the Hartford race.

Additionally, a group of more than 20 volunteers – including Trinity students and staff –helped to register participants, bring donations to the food pantry, and organize a scaled-down children’s race. Students set up checkpoints around campus with donations for the food pantry, and kids raced on their bikes to collect the items.

Trinity’s connections to and support of the food pantry at Grace Episcopal Church extend far beyond this one event. For several years, Trinity students from the community service organization JELLO have been volunteering at the food pantry every week.

To participate in this year’s event, bring $20 to purchase food items, a bike, a helmet, a lock, and a backpack to carry food items. If you do not have a bike, Cranksgiving coordinators can provide one if they are notified beforehand. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Trinity College Chapel on Saturday, November 21, and the ride will start at 12:45 p.m. The second annual kids’ ride on campus will begin at noon.

For more information, please contact Johannes Evelein, Trinity College professor of language and culture studies, at

Written by Molly Thoms ’17