Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pedal for the Pantry

Saturday was the day of the Pedal for the Pantry and let say first off that I was not only humbled by the number of people showed up and participated, but Gobsmacked at the number and diversity of the people who came out.  Above is a picture I took of part of Team Fatguy heading to Polish Hill and to our second stop (Wholey's Market). There was around a hundred riders join in the fun and Team Fatguy had 14 people going out for the slow, easier ride. (Map posted below of approx route)

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

What really grabbed me about the Pedal for the Pantry ride was the numbers of different people. I saw your typical "Line of Sight" bike messengers, your typical "Full Kit" roadies and several people on BSO's who showed up and had a great time.  Both the longer ride and the shorter ride were modeled after and Alleycat style of race. Each ride had a manifest - A list of stores and Items that should be purchased at each store. Riders who got to all the stores and back to the endpoint of the Race first won.
My first ever Spoke Card
However it should be known that unlike many Alleycat races it was strongly suggested that all rules of the rode should be followed. Even to the point of announcing that anyone caught doing otherwise would be Disqualified.

You might be wondering how the day went, and how much food was collected by all these crazy riders?

I'm getting there.

You see it became "A thing" to tell the people working at the registers (and those waiting in line with all of us) what we were up to. I ended up talking to the guy in line in front of me about what we were doing and what a great day it had turned out to be.  As I was walking out of the store he approached me and handed me a monetary donation for the food bank.  I know I can't be the only one this happened to. The day was full of stories

The guy who walked down to the store and brought back several cases of canned goods just to get a better chance at the raffles. 

The Father and son from Erie who came down for a film festival and ended up coming along for the ride. 

The Girl who wrecked and still came in third place for the woman. 

If someone did the ride and ended up without a story they simply weren't trying.

So how did we do?

 If you're thinking that looks like a a lot of stuff to haul by bike you would be right. The final totals for the night were.

987 pounds of non-perishible food
187 pounds of non-food (diapers, laundry detergent, and bathroom tissue)
1164 pounds of donated goods gathered & delivered by bike inside of 4 hours.
-- According to the Food bank people it is a weeks worth of Groceries for 200 Families.

Again I repeat myself by saying I was Gobsmacked.

It has taken me these past couple of days to think about what I saw and try to find these words. I know that I wasn't the only one staring at all this food with tears in my eyes thinking about all the people riding all over the city collecting the food and bringing it back to make sure that the people who need it can get it. Just some quick napkin math tells me that the group rode about 2300 miles most in small groups or ones and twos.

I wanted this post to be about what a great group of cyclists we have in Pittsburgh, but the truth is we aren't anything special (at least things like this should be the norm) A need was made known and more importantly someone showed us a way to meet that need. All of us know there are people in need but we all feel overwhelmed at the idea of doing something on our own. But as a group we end up doing so much more than we ever thought we could.

I could go on to tell you about the prizes that were awarded or list the people who won prizes. Then I realized that those things don't really matter and I would like to believe (I do believe) that just as many people would show up if there were no prizes. Those who raced hard raced hard because that is just the kind of people they are. The others rode the way they do because that is just the kind of people they (we) are. 

I for one can't wait to do this again.

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