There’s a lot of good in this world and we want to make it known. Starting this month, we’re launching the #DoPublicGood project. Each month we’ll highlight people or organizations that do good by bike. And we’ll be taking part ourselves. Follow us on Snapchat (publicbikes) and every Thursday watch our story as we pick up donated food and bike it to a shelter in the Bay Area through Food Runners.
If you have a nominee for #DoPublicGood, please let us know in the comments and if selected, we’ll send you both a PUBLIC gift certificate.
For November we thought it fitting to highlight a very special Bay Area bike event that takes place just once a year around this time called Supermarket Street Sweep. It’s an “allycat” or urban bike race-style event where volunteers courier pounds of food from participating grocery stores via their bikes to a local food bank.
Supermarket Street Sweep is in its 11th year, and it almost went into extinction until the San Francisco Cycling Club decided to take up the reigns just a few months ago. (Kudos to you SFCC!)
One of Supermarket Street Sweep’s original founders, Jenny Oh Hatfield, explains the premise, “For our event, participants buy food from a list of participating shops and that food is directly donated to the SF & Marin Food Banks at the end of the event. Cyclists can compete in three categories: SPEED (bring back the required amount of food the fastest within the race’s time limit); CARGO (bring back the most food); TEAM (this is a new category and up to 5 people can work together to bring back the most food.) Racers carry back their hauls — via backpacks, panniers, cargo bikes and trailers — and all of the groceries are weighed by the food bank and our team of volunteers.”
You don’t have to be a hardcore cyclist to participate. Hatfield says that part of the fun is seeing the diverse group of riders that this event brings. “We get road racers, commuters and even kids who have a ton of fun helping such an important charity. We structure the format so if you wanted, you could spend the afternoon riding around with your friends and bring back as much food as you like to the food bank.”
And the amount of food people transport on two wheels for the event is incredible. In 2015 over a hundred racers took part and hauled more than 12,200 lbs of food. One racer alone carted over 1,000 lbs!
Registration is open for this year’s Supermarket Street Sweep that takes place on Saturday, December 3rd 2016. Stay up to date on announcements and prize previews on Instagram and Twitter (sfstreetsweep). If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can still get involved by visiting cranksgiving.org to find a similar event in your neighborhood.