Got questions? We’ve got answers in our thoroughly thorough FAQs (see the different categories below). But if you don’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us at [email protected].
What is a hybrid event? How do I participate?
The 2023 Closer to Free Ride will take place on September 9, 2023 as a hybrid event - offering both In-Person and Remote participation options. On Ride Day, In-Person Riders will join us on one of five event routes starting at the iconic Yale Bowl in New Haven. Remote Riders unable to make it to New Haven can ride on their own personal route anywhere around the world at their convenience.
Is there a registration fee to participate in the 2023 event?
There is a $100 registration fee for Adult In-Person Riders, a $50 registration fee for Youth/Student In-Person riders, and a $25 registration fee for Remote Riders. Your fee will enable us to provide you with an online fundraising page, training and fundraising guides and more. In-Person Rider registration fees also include a CTF ride day jersey.
What is the fundraising minimum for the 2023 CTF Ride?
The fundraising minimum for Adult In-Person Riders is $500 and for Youth/Student In-Person riders is $250. There is no minimum for Remote Riders or Volunteers. Fundraising resources may be found here.
What does a fundraising minimum mean?
A fundraising minimum means that you are committing to raising a specific amount of funds ($500 for Adult In-Person Riders, $250 for Youth/Student In-Person Riders) for Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. You will supply a credit card to guarantee your commitment when you register for the event. Your card will only be charged the registration fee at that time. We will then securely hold your credit card until September 6th. On September 6th, if you have not yet met your fundraising minimum, your card will be automatically charged for the balance due. Should you have specific questions regarding the fundraising minimum please contact us at [email protected].
What do I receive as a Rider?
All In-Person Riders receive an online fundraising page and the CTF Ride App sponsored by Haynes, a cycling jersey, bib, fully supported routes and access to the CTF Ride Finish Festival including food and beverage (2 complimentary beer and wine tickets for 21+). Remote Riders receive an online fundraising page and the CTF Ride App sponsored by Haynes as well a downloadable Ride Day bib and access to the event week website to tune into our Opening Ceremony. All participants are also eligible to receive our fundraising rewards.
Will there be fundraising rewards?
Yes. As fundraising is central to our mission, we have a great series of rewards that you’ll earn when you reach specific points beyond your fundraising minimum. See our reward levels here.
Note: In-Person Riders will pick up rewards at check-in. Rewards will be mailed to Remote Riders in two shipments: one pre-event and one post-event (to be received by mid-November). To receive any or all of your rewards pre-event you must reach the reward level(s) by August 24th. To receive your rewards post-ride you must reach the reward level(s) by September 30th.
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 signature fundraising event for Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. You can learn more about Smilow here.
Do I need to be an experienced cyclist or elite athlete to participate?
Absolutely not. We have a variety of target distances from which you can choose. You can choose the distance that works for you. We’ll also have training guides and tools available to help you reach your mileage goal. If you aren’t a cyclist or don’t want to Ride, you can sign up to raise funds to support Smilow and Yale Cancer Center!
What health and safety protocols will be in place?
The Closer to Free Ride follows the guidance and oversight of Yale New Haven Health and its team of medical and public health professionals. As the 2023 Closer to Free Ride is an outdoor event, at this time we are not requiring masking or vaccination but strongly encourage vaccination plus boosters for all. We also request that any non-vaccinated individuals participating in the Ride have a negative test within 72 hours of participation. Policies regarding indoor locations, check-in, vehicles and eating and drinking will be released closer to the event here.
What important dates and deadlines should I know?
Below are important dates and deadlines for the 2023 Closer to Free Ride:
August 24: Final day to qualify for Home Check-In (for in-person Riders)
August 24: Final day to qualify for mailed Fundraising Rewards in advance of Ride Day (for in-person and remote Riders)
September 1: Deadline to move/allocate Team money to members
September 5: Fundraising commitment due by 11:59pm (credit card on file will be charged after this time)
September 8: Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at Yale Bowl. All in-person Riders must check-in between 11am-7pm. (Riders who earned Home Check-In do not need to attend)
September 9: Ride Day
September 30: Fundraising closes & final day for rewards qualification (to be mailed late Fall 2023)
How do I register for the Closer to Free Ride?
Registration is open at rideclosertofree.org. You can register as an In-Person or Remote Rider or Volunteer. Full participation details are available here.
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 as an In-Person Rider up until Ride Day on September 9th. Note that any registrations between September 6 and Ride Day will need to donate the full fundraising minimum at the time of registration. Remote Rider registration remains open until September 30th.
What if I would like to change from a Remote Rider to In-Person Rider?
Not a problem. You can make that change anytime prior to Ride Day. To make that change email us at [email protected].
What if I decide to change my goal distance between the time I register and Ride Day?
Not a problem. You can make that change by logging into your participant dashboard and updating your rider profile. If you have trouble, email us at [email protected]
Do I have to raise money to ride?
As the Closer to Free Ride is designed as a fundraising event, each Adult In-Person Rider must raise a minimum of $500 and each Youth/Student In-Person Rider must raise a minimum of $250 in addition to the registration fee. We've got lots of fundraising tips to help you reach (and even exceed) your goal! Click here for fundraising tips.
If riding is not for you, you may also register as a Volunteer.
Do you have any fundraising tips?
Yes. We have a fundraising guide that contains e-mail templates, fundraising ideas, and sample social media posts. For all of our tips on fundraising, click here.
Where does the money I raise go?
We're glad you asked. One hundred percent of the funds raised by our participants go to work at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. To see how Ride funds are used, click here.
Can I fundraise as a team?
Yes! Team fundraising accounts may be utilized by teams who wish to fundraise as a group or gather donations for the team as a whole. IMPORTANT - Team fundraising accounts will not automatically be allocated to team members. The Team Captain must notify us by email to [email protected] by September 1st with the desired allocations to team members in order to have funds placed in individual team member accounts. Please note that we cannot break apart donations into smaller amounts. Donations must be moved in their entirety. Each team member will need to have met the required $500 (Adult Rider) and $250 (Youth/Student Rider) by September 5th or their credit cards on file will be charged.
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?
All offline donations must be mailed in along with an offline donation form. We are no longer able to accept checks dropped at our offices. Download an offline donation form here.
Please mail donations to:
YNHH Office of Development
PO Box 1849
New Haven, CT 06508
If you have any questions please call us at 203-200-RIDE or email us at [email protected]
Please make sure that when you mail checks, 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 that we can send your donor an acknowledgment. Please note that for the 2023 Ride, donations cannot be brought to our office. They must be mailed to the address above or brought to check-in. If you are mailing donations, please note that it can take 3 weeks before you will see these posted to your fundraising page.
I mailed in 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 roll?
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.
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. Participants should expect matching gifts to take up to a few months to be processed by companies and mailed to Yale New Haven Hospital. As such, we highly recommend not relying on matching gifts for your fundraising minimum.
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 9, 2023.
How do Donor Advised Funds work?
Please contact your donor advised fund organization and request a donation to Yale New Haven Hospital designated for the Closer to Free bike ride. The correct tax ID # is 06-0646652.
Be sure to request that your name (the donor) and the rider or team name you are supporting is included.
Donations will be sent to us by the organization to the address they have on file. Should an address be required for your submission, please use:
YALE NEW HAVEN HOSPITAL
OFFICE OF DEVELOPMENT
CLOSER TO FREE BIKE RIDE
PO BOX 1849
NEW HAVEN CT 06508
It is important to note we do not have an estimated time a donation will be received but once we do have the donation; it will be posted to the bike ride site/rider’s page within 2-3 days of receipt.
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.
What happens during Ride Week and on Ride Day?
All participants will be invited to visit our Ride Week Website beginning on Tuesday, September 5. The Ride Week Website will be filled with special activities and content for you to tune into all week long and on Ride Day.
On September 8th, In-Person Riders who have not qualified for Home Check-In (by raising $1000 (adults) or $500 (youth/student)) will need to come to Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT between 11am-7pm. At Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule you will receive your event jersey, credentials and any earned rewards. The Closer to Free Ride Store will also be open for apparel and accessories with all proceeds supporting Closer to Free.
On Ride Day, September 9th, In-Person Riders will gather at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT for an inspiring Opening Ceremony before heading out onto one of five routes. All routes will end back at the Yale Bowl where participants will enjoy the Finish Festival. Remote Riders will tune into the Opening Ceremony via our website and then head out to ride on their desired course (unsupported). We encourage all Remote Participants to log their activity and connect with us on Strava and by sharing photos using #CTFRide which will be displayed on our Ride Week Website and social accounts.
What are the in-person ride routes? Will I know the routes ahead of time?
The CTF Ride offers five route options: 10, 25, 40, 65 and 100 miles. Routes are available here. Please follow green route arrows on Ride Day as routes are subject the change.
Is there a minimum pace I must ride during the in-person Closer to Free Ride?
Riders must maintain a minimum riding speed of 12mph in order to receive route support and ensure services are available at rest areas and the finish festival. Any Rider who falls behind this pace can be moved forward on the route by our support teams and vehicles to stay on pace.
How do I receive my jersey as a Remote Rider?
Remote Riders will receive a jersey by raising $500 or more. Jerseys will arrive in the mail approximately 3-5 days before Ride Day if the fundraising minimum was met by August 24th. Please note that we will use the address on file at the time of registration. If you have moved, or if you plan to ride elsewhere, please update your address here no later than August 24th. Please note we use FedEx to ship and therefore cannot ship to PO Boxes.
How do I get my fundraising rewards?
All In-Person Riders must pick up their rewards at check-in (or mailed in home check-in packets if qualifying). Remote Riders will receive their fundraising rewards in the mail (we ship via FedEx so please no PO boxes). Rewards will be mailed in two shipments: one pre-event along with your event jersey and one post-Ride (to be received by November 1). To receive any or all of your rewards pre-event, Remote Riders must reach the reward level(s) by August 24th. To receive rewards post-Ride, you must reach the reward level(s) by September 30th.
Do you have Training Plans?
Our Training & Activities page will be continuously updated throughout the year and will contain training plans and virtual activities to help you prepare for your ride. Check back often as we’ll be adding new elements!
How do I join the CTF Strava Group?
The first step is to Join the CTF Strava Group (you’ll have to create a Strava account if you have not already). To log miles follow the instructions below.
Outdoor Mileage: On the Strava app, you can log miles directly by choosing “Record” on the bottom of the app screen before you begin your ride. Don’t forget to choose “Finish” when you are done to log your complete ride! Strava also integrates with many GPS watches, smart watches and cycling computers to sync activities.
Manual Entry of Outdoor or Indoor Mileage:
If you’re on a spin bike that doesn’t capture metrics or you forgot to log a live ride, all you have to do is enter the ride manually on Strava to ensure your miles count towards our group total.
To do this, if you're using the web version of Strava, select the “+” in the upper-righthand corner and select “Add manual entry.” If you're using the Strava app, select the “+” in the upper lefthand corner and choose “manual activity.” You can see more details here.