Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Crane Group CEO Tanny Crane Bikes Across the U.S. to Support Cancer Research

By meerna Jul11,2024
Crane Group CEO Tanny Crane Bikes Across the U.S. to Support Cancer Research

Known for her philanthropy, the Columbus businesswoman also enjoys taking on enormous physical challenges.

If Columbus businesswoman Tanna Crane’s cross-America bicycle journey were a Hollywood movie, she would ride into Marysville on June 9, raising her arms in triumph to the sky as a brass band welcomed her to Ohio.

But the reality of cycling from coast to coast — even with fans gathering to meet you halfway in your own state — is more a story of determination than glitz.

“They’re coming,” several voices called to Crane and her companions as they pulled into the Hampton Inn parking lot Sunday afternoon. “Hooray!” her family and friends shouted as they surrounded her and hugged her.

Granddaughter Quinn Fisher and grandson Landon Fisher were there with Crane’s daughter, Stephany, holding a sign that they had used to cheer her on for 16 years: “Nonni, sail like the wind!”

Crane, CEO of Crane Group, has ridden in annual Pelotonia events to raise money for cancer research so many times. This year’s 3,400-mile, 49-day ride from California to Massachusetts is a way to fulfill a long-held dream and raise money for cancer research. Her goal was to raise $100,000; by the end of June, she had raised $159,325.

That day, a group of 24 cyclists set off from Richmond, Indiana, more than 100 miles away. “We basically bike to the hotel with two duffel bags weighing 30 pounds—that’s all we’re allowed to carry,” Crane says.

Each cyclist carries several sets, which consist of a pair of cycling shorts, underwear, a jersey and socks.

“One of the funniest things I do, which I’ve learned from other cyclists, is I’ll get in the shower (at the hotel) with my gear to wash it,” Crane says. Then she hangs the wet clothes on an ironing board overnight. Crane convinced her best friend, Maggie Stender from Chicago, to make the monumental journey with her.

“One day, Tanny calls and says, ‘We’re going to ride our bikes across America,’” Stender says. Having known Crane for decades, Stender didn’t bat an eyelid. After all, Crane likes to celebrate milestones in her life with challenges: She’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Shasta and the Grand Teton.

“Tanny is an amazing person who is always ready and gets the job done,” says Teckie Shackelford, founder of the Columbus City Schools I Know I Can scholarship program. Shackelford and Crane became friends through the program, and she was at the Hampton Inn to greet Crane. So was Joe Apgar, CEO of Pelotonia, the riders from Pelotonia’s Gears for Girls (some of whom rode with Crane that day) and Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of the board of Donatos Pizza. Abell brought dinner for the entire crew—pizza, of course.

The route was 3,200 miles longer than Crane had ever attempted, starting May 5 just south of Los Angeles and winding through the back roads of 15 states, the Mojave Desert, the home of “The Wizard of Oz” in Kansas, and a host of mountains and canyons.

After a stop in Marysville, it was about 850 miles until they reached Boston, where the group was scheduled to plunge their bikes into the Atlantic Ocean on June 21.

“We all feel so bittersweet that we’re ending the ride,” Crane said in Marysville. “It’s been truly transformational, and I’m trying to really enjoy every moment. What a gift it is to be able to ride a bike. It just reinforces how precious life is. It’s just a small part of me that I can give to help in this endeavor.”

This article was published in the August 2024 issue of Columbus Monthly.

By meerna

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