Cranksgiving was first organized in 1999 and continued to be run for eight years until 2006 by Antonio Rodrigues, who is better know within the messenger community as Tone. While Tone may have set up and ran the event for eight years, Cranksgiving continued on as a New York messenger tradition when he moved to York, Pennsylvania in 2007. Upon arriving in York naturally Tone could not resist attempting to spread the good will of Cranksgiving. It was received very positively and has now become an annual event. Not only does it continue to run in New York City and York, PA, but it has already spread to different cities across the United States. A couple of messengers in Los Angeles - California by the names of Douglas and Melissa have been organizing Cranksgiving on the West Coast ever since meeting Tone in Budapest - Hungary during the 2001 Cycle Messenger World Championships. Cranksgiving has even occured once or twice in other cities such as Chicago - Illinois, Eugene - Oregon, and Madison - Wisconsin. People in various cities have also used the concept to host their own charitable cycling events.
As mentioned above, Cranksgiving functions as a charity food drive, which is different than most bike messenger "alleycat" races. However, it is also very different from other alleycats in the manner it is structured. Instead of a straight race between a start and a finish or between multiple check points going from one check point to another, Cranksgiving involves numerous checkpoints with several choices and routing options. The idea behind this race structure is to mimic the average work day of a courier. During a messenger's work day he or she might be assigned any number of package deliveries addressed to different destinations at any time. The courier then has to adapt his or her routing plan to accomodate changes and still be as efficient as possible. Cranksgiving attempts to replicate that somewhat random element of a messenger work day, but in an enjoyable, competitive, and charitable way. Cranksgiving therefore is not all about speed, but also about thoughtfull logistic planning.
Displayed at the top of this page are a few of the handmade 2001 Cranksgiving trophies. In case it is not apparent, the style of Cranksgiving is intended to be reminiscent of the tradional iconic Campbell's Soup can, which many people probably remember collecting as part of food donation drives coordinated in school as a child. Along with the Campbells Soup canned food theme, these trophies were also made in the spririt of the traditional "alleycat" name by mimicking them after cans of catfood to feed the hunger of those "alleycats" after a hard won race. They are actually edible... not the cans, but their contents. They are just relabeled cans of tuna fish.
Every year Tone organized Cranksgiving in NYC the top three men and women were each awarded their respective Cranksgiving trophy cans. On top of these awards there was always recongition given to the person, who made the extra effort of donating the most food. A special mentioned should be given to the messenger bag company Chrome
as well. For many of the years Cranksgiving was held in New York Chrome kindly and consistently sponsored Cranksgiving by donating two high quality red and white messenger bags as prizes. These bags were never expected by the winners, but definitely appreciated!