What the heck is Cranksgiving?

Cranksgiving 2017 poster.jpg

Cranksgiving is on Saturday, November 18th, and it's one of our favorite days of the year! 

So, what the heck is Cranksgiving?

Cranksgiving is a national event that combines bike riding and giving back. It's a mix of a scavenger hunt, food drive, and bike ride. We'll give you a list of food items and grocery stores, and then you'll have a set amount of time to ride to as many of the stores to collect as many of the food items as you can. And all of the food goes to Moveable Feast. Basically, it's all about food for people in need and riding bikes with friends, new and old.

What does the day look like?

12:30pm | Registration at Peabody Heights Brewery
1:45pm | Pre-ride rules and kick-off
2:00pm | Biking food scavenger hunt throughout Baltimore
4:00pm | Receipts and food due at Peabody Heights Brewery
4:00pm - 6:00pm | Awards and after party at Peabody Heights Brewery

Do I need to register beforehand?

No, just show up! Registration is from 12:30-1:45pm. It's helpful if you RSVP on Facebook, but there's no formal registration beforehand.  

Do I need a team?

Because riding with friends is more fun, all riders participate in teams of 3 or 4. If you don't have a team beforehand, we'll help "free agents" find folks to ride with during registration, or you can post in the Facebook event and get one going beforehand. 

How does the ride/scavenger hunt work?

When you register, teams will be handed their manifests. On the manifest is a list of grocery stores and food items to purchase, each worth a certain number of points. The way to get the most points is to hit all the grocery stores and purchase all the unique foods. The ride begins at 2pm and only teams who check in at Peabody Heights by 4pm will be considered for prizes. Then stick around for the after party, where we'll announce the winners and prizes, and for beer, food and celebration!

How do we win? What are the prize categories?

The winners are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (the teams that have the most points, if there's a tie, the team that checks in first win) and — our favorite category — BEST COSTUME/TEAM SPIRIT! 

How much does it cost to participate?

By design, Cranksgiving is and always will be a free event — meaning Bikemore will never charge registration to participate. We ask that each person on a team bring $10-15 to help purchase food items on the list. But how much you are able to spend is entirely up to you! 

What should I bring?

- Working bike
- Bag to carry purchases (backpacks, panniers, baskets — whatever you have!) 
- $10-15 for purchasing food to donate
- Water bottle
- Flat kit (Bikemore doesn't provide any ride support)
- (Optional) Smartphone to take photos and upload to social media for additional points! 

Is it a race? I don't ride very fast. Will I still have fun? 

Kinda. That's Ok! Absolutely! Cranksgiving is designed to be a team event (because what's more fun that riding through the city with some friends?!) While prizes are awarded to teams with the highest number of points, you can also win Best Costume & Team Spirit!

CAn I bring my kids?

Yes, we have had family teams in the past! The ride is set up so you pick your own route and pick which stores to go to depending on your own judgement and comfort level. And our Team Spirit/Best Costume prize category is a great one for younger riders! And either way, it's a great way to have fun riding together and give back.

What happens if it rains?

Unless it's a serious safety hazard, this is a rain or shine event. Riding in the rain/cold/wind makes you tough, so show up and ride! Plus, people in need still need food when it's raining.

>> Check the Facebook event for all updates, and to invite your friends!

Tonight, speak up about North Ave Rising!

Tonight is the first meeting about North Avenue Rising. We hope you'll make it out, even if you can't make it until after work!

Here are the main points we'd like you to make:

  1. North Avenue Rising must have separated, dedicated transit lanes throughout the entire project corridor.

  2. North Avenue Rising must have separated, dedicated bicycle lanes at minimum between Pennsylvania Avenue and Broadway, where there is high density, frequent bus service, and a wider right-of-way.

  3. North Avenue Rising must have a road diet, calming the street and allowing space for high quality bike and transit lanes while maintaining parking for businesses.

  4. These requirements should lead to North Avenue Rising including center-running transit, which will further spur economic development and transit growth on North Avenue, and allow for a potential rail transit future for North Avenue once that growth demands it.

There are community meetings Monday through Thursday this week for you to attend. We're encouraging folks to #filltheroom at Monday night's meeting, but we encourage you to attend whichever meeting you're able to.

Monday, November 13, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Impact Hub
10 East North Avenue

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bluford/KASA at Walbrook
2000 Edgewood Street

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rita R. Church Community Center
2101 Saint Lo Drive

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Parkview Recreation Center
2610 Francis Street

>> Want to know more about North Ave Rising? More about the project and our take.

Race Pace is Matching Donations!


Baltimore is lucky to have an amazing community of local bike shops that help to make biking in Baltimore fun, safe, and accessible. Whether you're training for your next race, looking to hit the trails, or are just biking around the neighborhood--supporting your local shop means that your dollars support businesses that invest in Baltimore. 

One way that local shops invest in Baltimore is through supporting our work. Race Pace is matching all donations through November 19th up to a total of $2,500. So whether you're learning about our work for the first time, or wanting to make this month's donation go a little further be sure to donate through this link so we can credit your donation towards Race Pace's generous $2,500 matching gift. Thanks for your support! 

On Crime and Bikes

We wanted to craft a thoughtful response to the recent assaults and robberies that are impacting the Baltimore bike community--both describing the actions we’ve taken, things we plan to do in the future, and our analysis of this issue as a policy organization. 

We are not experts in adolescent development or juvenile justice, but Baltimore is full of people who are. We’ve spent the week discussing the recent assaults and robberies with some of these experts, and will continue to engage in conversations. As a policy organization, we believe in exploring issues deeply and making recommendations based on evidence. 

Children assaulting and robbing people is a serious problem. Every human being deserves safety. But we know, without equivocation, that youth crime is a symptom of a society that has disinvested in its children to such a degree that they are left without the support necessary for healthy adolescent development. We cannot address this issue without acknowledging the structural systems that got us here, and the policy solutions that can help us emerge. 

We are angry that people have been victims of assault and robbery. It isn’t right, and it has to stop. The kids responsible also need to be held accountable. We are attempting to work with Baltimore City Police to provide any information that can help bring an end to the ongoing violence and robberies so people can feel safe again riding their bikes. Sadly the two hot spots - Maryland Ave and the Jones Falls Trail - are two of the only places to ride your bike and feel safe from speeding cars. We have to restore safety to those integral routes. We also know that policing alone cannot ensure these types of attacks won’t happen again, and that a result that places children into the criminal justice system will likely lead to additional harm and an outcome that makes our community less healthy and safe in the long term. 

Last week we recruited volunteers to hang out in the hot spots where crime was occurring to be a friendly face to folks biking by, and collect signatures to support environmental design solutions that can improve safety on the Jones Falls Trails. We are pleased to report that we have over 500 signatures to deliver to the City in support of these request. If you’d still like to sign, you can do so here. Baltimore City Police have already committed to placing a light tower on the switchbacks of the Jones Falls Trail while funding for a more appropriate lighting solution can be procured. Rec and Parks has committed to clearing the brush to improve sight lines. And we are in the beginning stages of conversations with community partners that may be able to support the placement of an emergency call box. Thanks to everyone that volunteered. 

We are currently working with the Community Conferencing Center to provide an alternative path toward accountability for these crimes. If you have been a victim of these recent assaults and robberies and would like to learn more about the restorative justice techniques they use, send an email to liz@bikemore.net. We will be organizing an information session so those who have been impacted can learn more about the choices available to them if they are able to identify the kids who have been committing these crimes. This method does not make light of the seriousness of the crimes, but acknowledges the real harm that comes from sending a child through the criminal justice system, and the lack of autonomy and restitution a victim can experience in the criminal justice system. If you want to have a say in how a crime committed against you is resolved, Community Conferencing can provide that pathway, and in no way rules out the option of pressing charges later if a satisfactory resolution is not reached. 

As Bikemore, we are here advocating for the safety of all people on bikes. What makes this particular situation so sad, is that a healthy city is one where children are free to ride bikes with their friends around the neighborhood. When a crime pattern creates suspicion of children riding bikes together, that has serious impacts on every family in the city. We can only imagine the difficulty some families experience in having to refrain from allowing their child to ride a bike--for fear of being attacked, robbed, or profiled by police. It also forces us to confront the very real disparity that is evident by people who have mobility, transportation choice, and relative wealth biking through neighborhoods full of people that do not. Regardless of the intent of these crimes, that disparity is at its root. And it has no simple solutions. 

We want to share some short term and long term strategies we are working on to both help put an end to these crimes, and be unwavering in our position of advocating for the health and safety of all people in Baltimore--especially our city’s children. In this instance that means following the lead of those who are making a difference in the community preventing, intervening, and restoring justice for crimes committed by children. 

How to Stay Safe in the Short Term: 

  • Keep riding. The more of us out there in the afternoons and evenings, the more difficult it is for someone to be a victim. 
  • Use resources like social media (the Unofficial Bikemore Forum and Women Bike Baltimore are good examples) to find a riding buddy that has a similar commute. 
  • Avoid stopping along your commute to engage with folks especially in hot spots like Maryland Ave north of Lanvale and Falls Road. Keep pedaling. 
  • Stay alert. No headphones, use a super bright front light, and if you’re able--use a camera. 
  • If you are confronted, remember property is replaceable. Keep yourself safe and retreat. 
  • Make a report. Call 911 when you’re in a safe place. If you are unable to wait for an officer due to the lag folks often experience when trying to report a crime not in progress, you can make a report in person at a station or online. 
  • Record your bike’s serial number and follow up after making a report to ensure that information is included. If it’s stolen this can help it be recovered and/or help lead police to the people committing the assaults and robberies. 
  • In the end, you’re in charge of your safety. Follow your gut and make decisions that are right for you. That can also mean not riding for awhile. We support you. 

How to Create Safety in the Long Term

Correcting the impacts of generational poverty that cause people to remain with little access to healthy food, healthcare, and opportunity costs money. As an American society we often tend to think about these things as personal problems. These problems however are rarely personal failings, but often structural. Someone with power made a decision that made it more difficult for certain people to attain health and safety. A city with people who aren’t healthy is not safe. This means ensuring our children have access to proper health care--including trauma informed care, nourishment, and opportunities that foster development is directly tied to making our city safer. This is how you prevent crime. 

source: Open Budget Baltimore 

source: Open Budget Baltimore 


Baltimore instead chooses to invest heavily in policing rather than the things we know prevent crime. We spend 53% more on policing than we do on schools. 82% more on policing than transportation--when we know access to transportation has proven critical to escaping poverty. 96% more on policing than on recreation. In times of high crime, the narrative of policing being our only option in reducing crime perpetuates this imbalance. In a strong Mayor system like we have, the Mayor is responsible for setting those amounts. The City Council has limited authority to make other advisory recommendations and authorize cuts. . Because Baltimore has a relatively low voter turnout compared to cities of similar size, and our Mayor is often decided during the Democratic Primary among a broad field--it is nearly impossible to elect a Mayor to whom the majority of Baltimoreans cast their ballot. Without a voter mandate, leadership has no incentive to listen to advocates or organized groups of citizens.  

Achieving different outcomes for Baltimore means radically shifting how we invest our tax dollars. That type of leadership is politically risky. We have not elected a politically risky Mayor, and our chances of doing so in the near term due to the nature of our elections is unlikely. It’s why as a city we must seriously consider shifting how we budget. Revising our City Charter so that City Council has more authority could lead to the the type of innovation necessary to evoke change. This was something discussed last year, but was a political non starter. With the new crop of younger, more progressive council members, perhaps it’s time to revisit. 

While the people that ride bikes in the city are incredibly diverse, the ones directly engaged in bike advocacy are less so. This means that relative to the city, the people we reach most with our blog or social media posts are likely wealthier, better educated and have better health. It is out of that privilege and the incredible compassion that comes from experiencing this city that we love up close from our bike that we must approach these complex situations with mindfulness. We aren't the right people to lead on this issue, but we are able to lift up the work of others and ensure we are not contributing to further harm. No one of us is directly responsible for the trauma and disparity that exists right now in Baltimore, but we all can do more as citizens to fight for things that help bring stability, health and safety to all of our neighborhoods. 

Ride a bike, eat a donut, and have fun


2017 has not been a great year for biking in Baltimore. Our task is trying to make biking safe and accessible at a time when our city is challenged to deliver on services both large and small. So what do we do during this time? One of the most important things we can actively be doing is to continue to build up our community. Spending time doing things that bring us joy can sustain us through these periods The people who bike in Baltimore are full of love and support for one another. We see beauty in a city where many see none, simply because we are moving at a pace slow enough to absorb it. We have a responsibility to nurture that community when opportunities arise. Our perspective, that comes from seeing this city up close can be a catalyst for positive change.

This Saturday, for the second year in a row, we are gathering at Wyman Park Dell to celebrate arguably the best thing to happen to people who bike in a really long time — the Maryland Avenue Cycle Track. Last year we had hundreds join us on a crisp sunny Saturday morning for coffee and donuts and take off on a short simple ride to Mt. Vernon Market Place for lunch and hanging out. It was during that ride that we realized just how many families bike with small children in Baltimore, because we finally held an event that was perfectly sized and timed for them. People wore silly costumes, decorated their bikes with streamers, and remembered why we work so hard to get things like this built in every neighborhood. They are a game changer in terms of activating streets, connecting people to one another, and to the city that we love.

Bike riding brings us a lot of joy. Let’s take a few hours on Saturday morning to reconnect with that joy and make sure we take time to celebrate how far our community has come so we can feel ready to handle the challenges that lie ahead. Come ride a bike, eat a donut, and demonstrate just how many of us there are that are ready to #fightforbikes. Our city and its people deserve so many things — safety, health, security. Biking, and the health and joy it brings, is something that is completely within our reach to share and experience with others. Looking forward to all the cheers, yips, and high fives on Saturday morning. Thanks for showing up.

Maryland Ave. Cycle Track's 1st Birthday Party
Saturday, November 4, 2017

10am | Meet at Wyman Park Dell for coffee, birthday donuts, and meeting others who love to bike.

11am | BIKE PARADE leaves Wyman Park Dell heading south on the Maryland Avenue. This is a slow, fun, silly ride. All are welcome to ride with us! 

until 2pm | Lunch + Drinks at Mt. Vernon Market Place. Pay as you go. Taste of the Marketplace - $5 specials throughout the Market will be going on, so there will be $5 specials at (almost) every stall at the Mount Vernon Marketplace! 

> All the details, RSVP and invite your friends!