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COURAGE is Closer to Free

Last year proved that the Closer to Free Ride is stronger than ever. Our community overcame all obstacles to fundraise, connect and ride to make sure the people of Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center know we are with them... no matter what. 

This year, we’re not stopping. We will ride Closer to Free on September 11, 2021 to raise the crucial funds that fuel critical cancer research and unparalleled care at Smilow.


The 2021 Closer to Free Ride will take place on September 11, 2021 with both In-Person and Virtual options. Ride together with us on one of our five official routes (“In-Person Rider”) or ride virtually in a self selected location on an unsupported route of your choice (“Virtual Rider”). We’ll support your fundraising and training with resources and tools to help you meet and exceed your goals. Not interested in being a Rider? Volunteer and Non-Riding Fundraiser options are also available.



The Closer to Free Ride delivers a comprehensive In-Person and Virtual event experience from the moment you register. The incredible Closer to Free Ride community will gather together in a series of virtual cycling and community activities all year long.

On Ride Day, In-Person Riders will join us at the historic Yale Bowl for an inspiring Opening Ceremony before heading out onto their chosen route and then returning for the Finish Festival complete with food trucks, live music and a beer garden (21+ of course!).

Virtual Participants will watch the Opening Ceremony online and then head out to ride on their self-designed, unsupported route. Our Ride Week Website will be available for all Virtual participants and will offer a variety of activities to connect to our community no matter where you are.



Whether we ride together or from afar, the power of the Closer to Free Ride remains. One hundred percent of the funds we raise power the unparalleled research and care at Smilow and Yale Cancer Center. Every dollar you raise makes an impact. That’s right: One hundred percent of the funds you raise as a Ride participant go directly to patient care and advanced research.

Every Rider commits to raising at least $250 ($100 for youth/students) to participate and we’ll be there to help. When you register for the Closer to Free Ride you will get our 2021 CTF Ride Jersey along with fundraising resources. You will also have access to our Closer to Free Ride app and with these tools we know you can achieve your goals and more. Your dollars will be put to good work in New Haven and beyond.



The health and safety of our participants, staff and volunteers remains of utmost importance. All health and safety protocols have been created in collaboration with Yale New Haven Health’s medical team. Safety measures include: Mask requirements for indoor locations and unvaccinated participants, added hand washing and sanitizing stations, regular disinfection and cleaning of all shared surfaces. Vaccination is highly encouraged but not required to participate. Participants exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 are asked not to participate in the Ride.