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Got questions?  We’ve got answers in our thoroughly thorough FAQs (see the different categories to the left on a computer and below on a mobile device).  But if you don’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us at [email protected].

General FAQs

Who's behind the Closer to Free Ride?

The Closer to Free Ride is produced by the Yale New Haven Hospital Office of Development and is the primary fundraising and awareness event for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. You can learn more about Smilow here.

When and where is the Ride?

The 2020 Closer to Free Ride starts and ends at the Yale Bowl on September 12th. More logistical details will be published as we get closer to Ride Day.

Do I need to be an experienced cyclist or elite athlete to participate?

Absolutely not.  No matter what distance you choose to ride, you’ll benefit from reading our training tips. And if you’re not able to join us as a cyclist, we've got lots of volunteer opportunities available.

What type of bike can I ride at the event?

Road, Mountain, Hybrid and Tandem Road bikes are acceptable. Recumbent bikes, ellipticals, adult tricycles, child bike seats and trailers are NOT permitted for safety and support reasons.

How old do you need to be to ride? How old do you need to be to volunteer? 

Anyone can ride in the Closer to Free Ride. Minors under age 18 are considered Youth participants and MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult over the age of 21 at ALL times. However, please note that no streets are closed with the exception of the 10-mile route. We use police escorts to get in and out of New Haven safely, but you will be riding with vehicle traffic after that point. 

Yale Bowl Volunteers must be 16 or older. Volunteers between 16-18 years of age will be assigned to the Kid Zone area at the Yale Bowl. Road Crew Volunteers must be 18 years or older.


Do I have to raise money to ride?

As the Closer to Free Ride is designed as a fundraising event, each adult rider must raise a minimum of $500 in addition to the registration fee and youth/student (under 18) riders must raise a minimum of $250 in addition to the registration fee. In 2019, the average rider raised more than $1,000 and we've got lots of fundraising tips to help you reach (and even exceed) your goal!  Note that all riders are required to raise the minimum of $500 no matter which distance route they choose to ride. Click here for fundraising tips.  

Where does the money I raise go?

We're glad you asked.  One hundred percent of the funds raised by Riders and Volunteers goes to work at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. To see how Ride funds are used, click here.

I’m having trouble with my online fundraising page.

For any questions concerning your online fundraising page, please email [email protected]

My donors have given me cash or a check towards my fundraising. What should I do with it?

You can either drop off donations to our office during normal business hours OR mail them to our office.

Download an offline donation form here. 

Drop off location: NO MAIL.
Selina Lewis Building
1st Floor, Room H121
659 George Street
New Haven, CT 06511

If you can't find us, call us when you arrive at 203-688-9644.

If you’d like to mail in the donations, please mail them to:

YNHH Office of Development
PO Box 1849
New Haven, CT 06508
If you have any questions please call 203.200.CTFR or email [email protected].

Please make sure that whether you drop off your checks or mail them, the donations are accompanied by a donation form.  Donation forms can also be downloaded and printed here. The donation form ensures that we credit the correct fundraising account and so that that we can send your donor an acknowledgement.

I’m riding as part of a team. Do I still need to raise $500 as an individual?

Yes, every participant in the Closer to Free Ride must pay a $100 registration fee which covers your Ride Day jersey, all food and beverages (including beer), massage, medical assistance, and bike tech support.  All riders have until 11:59pm ET on September 9th to raise the additional $500 commitment. Any rider not reaching the commitment level by September 9th will have the balance due charged to the credit card used at the time of registration. Please note that there is a student discount - $50 registration fee and $250 fundraising commitment. The student discount applies to minors, undergraduates, medical residents, fellows and grad students with valid current ID.

I mailed in (or dropped off) my “offline” donations and I don’t see them on my fundraising scroll.

Offline donations can take up to 3 weeks to process. You will not see these donations appear immediately.

My donor is not showing up in my honor roll. Why?

Some donors choose to make their donation and the amount appear anonymously.

My donor WANTS to appear in my honor roll but they didn’t remember to fill out this information. How can their information appear on the honor role?

Please ask your donor to email us at [email protected] so that we can find out exactly how they want their gift information to read.

How do matching gifts work?

Many companies have matching gift programs. When a donor supports the Closer to Free Ride their employer may donate the same amount or even more. It will just take the donor a few minutes to contact their HR department to see if they in fact have a matching gift program.

It's important not to rely on these funds to meet your minimum fundraising commitment, since many companies have different policies on matching gifts and vary in processing time. We cannot guarantee the amount of time it takes for a company to approve the request, process the matching gift and cut checks to Yale New Haven Hospital.

It's essential that the donor designate Yale New Haven Hospital as the non-profit organization using tax ID: 06-0646652.

*All matching gift requests must be submitted to the employer prior to Ride Day September 12, 2020.

What's your tax ID?

The Closer to Free Ride operates under the tax ID number for Yale New Haven Hospital. The tax ID is 06-0646652. We are listed under Yale New Haven Hospital, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT.


I want to register as part of a team but my team captain hasn't set up the team yet. What should I do?

Sign up as an individual. We can move you to a team at any time between now and Ride Day. Just email us at [email protected] if you wish to join a team.

I’m not sure if I want to sign up as an individual or a team. What should I do?

Sign up as an individual. We can move you to a team at any time between now and Ride Day. Just email us at [email protected] if you wish to join a team.

When is the deadline to register?

You can register any time online until September 8th at 11:59pm.

What kind of support is out on the route?

We’ve got a dedicated team of staff and Road Crew volunteers whose only job on the day of the Ride is to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.  Our routes are well marked and feature Rest Stops every 10-20 miles. Rest Stops have snacks, hydration, first aid, and bike techs. If you have trouble between stops, our SAG (Supply and Gear) operation can get you back on the road or transport you to the next stop. You'll also be able to contact our Emergency Command Center at any time if you need immediate help.

What’s the difference between Yale Bowl Volunteers and Road Crew Volunteers?

Yale Bowl Volunteers work in shifts, rather than for the entire day. Road Crew Volunteers must commit to working with us all day. You must be 18 years old to be a Road Crew Volunteer. Youths 16-18 are welcome to volunteer unchaperoned in our Kid Zone at the Yale Bowl.  Youths 12-15 are welcome to volunteer with a parent or guardian in our Kid Zone at the Yale Bowl.  For more information on becoming a volunteer, click here.

What if I decide to change routes between the time I register and Ride Day?

Not a problem. You can make that change by logging into your personal headquarters and updating your rider profile. If you have trouble, email us at [email protected]

The maps online are very vague and I really want to train on the actual route.

We do not publish turn by turn directions until Ride Day. Our permitting can change at any time. You are welcome to email us at [email protected] with specific route questions or you can join our training rides. Our training ride leaders are very familiar with the route that will be traveled on Ride Day. 

My family wants to travel the route by car or meet me at the Rest Stops. Is that ok?

Unfortunately, no.  We can’t have extra vehicles on the route on Ride Day. Safety is our NUMBER ONE concern. We ask that family members travel to our cheering stations, which we will publish on the website as we get closer to Ride Day. Your family members can travel to all of the cheering stations, and then meet you back at the Yale Bowl for the Finish Line Festival.