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Got questions?  We’ve got answers in our thoroughly thorough FAQ's (see the different categories below).  But if you don’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this year’s Ride in-person or virtual?
The 2021 Closer to Free Ride will take place on September 11, 2021 with both in-person and virtual options. Participants will be able to ride together with us on one of our five official routes (“In-Person Ride”) or may ride virtually in a location or on an unsupported route of their choice (“Virtual Ride”).


What are the options for the In-Person Ride?
The In-Person Ride will follow our traditional Closer to Free Ride format. Riders  will gather on the morning of September 11th at the Yale Bowl for the Opening Ceremony before heading out on any one of our five route options: 10, 25, 40, 65 or 100 miles. All of our official routes will be fully supported with rest areas containing hydration, food and medical services. Support vehicles (SAG), Bike Marshals, and Bike Tech will also be available along the routes. Upon arriving back at the Yale Bowl, all Riders will enjoy our Finish Line Festival complete with food trucks, beer garden for those 21 and over and entertainment. Spectators are welcome to attend and must follow all safety and public health guidelines.


Is there a registration fee to participate in the 2021 event?
There is a $25 registration fee for both Virtual and In-Person Riders. Your fee will enable us to provide you with an online fundraising page, training and fundraising guides and more. Your registration fee also includes your CTF ride day jersey.


What is the fundraising minimum for the 2021 CTF Ride?
The fundraising minimum for both the In-Person and Virtual Rides will remain at the originally published rates of $250 (adult) or $100 (youth/student) for 2021. 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 ($250 for Adult Virtual Riders, $100 for Youth/Student Virtual 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 7th.  If, on September 7 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 a jersey, Why I Ride Bib, event credentials, full route support, food tickets for our post-ride food trucks and two complimentary beers (21+).
  • All Virtual Riders receive a jersey and Why I Ride Bib mailed to their home prior to Ride Day (Rider must be registered by September 1 to receive jersey prior to Ride Day). Note that Virtual Riders do not have access to the official CTF Ride routes or route services.
  • All Riders are eligible to receive our fundraising rewards for pick up at Pre-Ride or on Ride Day (or mailed to home address if Virtual).

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. Volunteers and Non-Riding Fundraisers will be eligible to earn all rewards at $50+. See our rewards levels here.

Note: Rewards will be picked up by In-Person Riders and will be mailed to Virtual Riders in two shipments: one pre-event and one post-event (to be received by November 1). To receive any or all of your rewards pre-event you must reach the reward level(s) by September 1. 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!

How do I register for the In-Person  Closer to Free Ride?
Registration is open at rideclosertofree.org. You can register as a Rider, Volunteer, or Non-Riding Fundraiser. If registering as a Rider, you will choose your desired Rider type (In-Person or Virtual). Full participation details are available here.


If I’m already registered as a Virtual Rider can I switch to the In-Person Ride?
Yes! To switch your registration from Virtual Rider to In-Person, please submit your request here.


How do I sign up to Volunteer?
Volunteer registration is open on our website and additional information on all positions and opportunities may be found 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.


Can teams be made up of Virtual and In-Person Riders?
Yes! Teams can be made up of any combination of participants - In-Person and Virtual Riders, Non-Riding Fundraisers and Volunteers!


How do I sign up to Volunteer?
Volunteer registration is open on our website and additional information on all positions and opportunities may be found here.


I’ve already registered as a Virtual Rider.  How do I request a switch to the In-Person Ride option?
Yes! If you registered before July 14 and wish to switch your registration from Virtual Rider to In-Person, please check your email or contact us at [email protected]. For anyone registered after July 14, there is no need to request a switch - your registration is up to date!


Can teams be made up of Virtual and In-Person Riders?
Yes! Teams can be made up of any combination of participants - In-Person and Virtual Riders, Non-Riding Fundraisers and Volunteers!


When is the deadline to register?
You can register any time online until Wednesday, September 8th at 11:59pm. After that you can must come to Pre-Ride to register. 


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 Rider must raise a minimum of $250 and each Youth/Student Rider must raise a minimum of $100 in addition to the registration fee. In our 2020 virtual ride, the average rider raised more than $600 and 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 or a Non-Riding Fundraiser.


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 Virtual Riders and Non-Riding Fundraisers goes 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 1 with the desired allocations to team members in order to have funds placed in individual team member accounts. Each team member will need to have met the required $250 (Adult Virtual Rider) and $100 (Youth/Student Virtual Rider) by September 7 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. 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 203.200.CTFR or email [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 so that we can send your donor an acknowledgment. Please note that for the 2021 Ride, donations cannot be brought to our office. They must be mailed to the address above. 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.

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 11, 2021.


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 for Virtual Riders?

  • All participants will be invited to visit our Ride Week Website beginning on Tuesday, September 6. 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 Ride Day, September 11, Virtual Participants will watch the Opening Ceremony online and then head out to ride on their desired course. Again, this course will be unsupported. We encourage all Virtual 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 happens on Ride Day for In-Person Riders?
All participants will be invited to visit our Ride Week Website beginning on Tuesday, September 6. 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 Friday, September 10th all In-Person Riders must check-in at Pre-Ride to receive their jersey and event credentials. Pre-Ride is located at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, 480 Sherman Avenue, New Haven, and will run from 11am to 7pm. Once checked in, Riders are strongly encouraged to bring their bike to Overnight Bike Parking at the Yale Bowl. Security will be provided for bikes left at the Yale Bowl and no bike locks are necessary. NEW THIS YEAR - Riders may check-in and pick up jerseys and credentials for family members or friends. Note that only bikes displaying official event credentials may be dropped off at Overnight Bike Parking.
  • On Ride Day, Saturday, September 11, all In-Person Riders can start arriving at the Yale Bowl at 5:45am. Our Opening Ceremony will take place at approximately 7am before each route will open. Once you have completed your route, you’ll join us back at the Yale Bowl for the Finish Line Festival complete with food trucks (all Riders receive tickets for food), complimentary beer (21+) and more.

What will the start/finish look like?
The In-Person CTF Ride begins at the Yale Bowl with an inspiring Opening Ceremony. The finish line for all In-Person routes is also the Yale Bowl.  Upon crossing the finish line, participants will enjoy our Finish Line Festival complete with food trucks, live music and a beer garden (21+ of course!). Virtual Riders will watch the Opening Ceremony via live-stream and will have access to the Ride Week Website to take part in a variety of activities.


What distances will be offered?
In-Person Riders may choose from one of our five fully supported routes: 10 miles, 25 miles, 40 miles, 65 miles and 100 miles. Route selection and details may be changed at any time by emailing us at [email protected] or notifying us at the time of check in.


When and where do I check-in for the In-Person Ride and receive my jersey and credentials?

  • All In-Person Riders must check-in on Friday, September 10 at our Pre-Ride event. You will receive your jersey, Why I Ride Bib and event credentials at that time. Once you have your event credentials, you will be able to bring your bike to Overnight Bike Parking at the Yale Bowl (strongly suggested)
  • Pre-Ride is located at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, 480 Sherman Avenue, New Haven, and is open from 11am to 7pm.
    NEW THIS YEAR - Riders may check-in and pick up jerseys and credentials for family members or friends. Youth participants must be checked in by parent or guardian. Note that only bikes displaying official event credentials may only be dropped off at Overnight Bike Parking.

How do I receive my jersey as a Virtual Rider?
Virtual Riders will receive their jersey and Why I Ride Bib in the mail approximately 3-5 days before Ride Day. 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 email us the updated address no later than September 1, 2021. Please note we use FedEx to ship and therefore cannot ship to PO Boxes.


How do I get my fundraising rewards?

  • In-Person Riders will receive their fundraising rewards at Pre-Ride or on Ride Day.
  • All Virtual 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 you must reach the reward level(s) by September 1. To receive your rewards post-Ride you must reach the reward level(s) by September 30th.

What services will be available along the In-Person route?
Just as in years past, any registered Rider on our official routes will experience a fully supported ride. All routes will be well marked and contain fully stocked rest stops, SAG, bike tech and medical support if needed. Please note that only participants who have registered and checked-in for the In-Person Ride  will be allowed access to services. 


Will food and beverages be served this year?
As with past years, food and beverages will be available at rest stops and at the Finish Festival at the Yale Bowl. Participants are required to bring their own water bottles this year. Please note to enter the Beer Garden, a valid photo ID with DOB will be required.

 

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.

Indoor Mileage:

  • Peloton, follow these instructions to link your bike to your Strava account.
  • Zwift, follow these instructions to link your accounts.
  • Spin bike that doesn’t capture metrics, see manual entry below.

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.

What COVID-19 safety measures will be in place?
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. Participants exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 are asked not to participate in the Ride.


Do I need to be vaccinated to participate?
Vaccination is highly encouraged but not required to participate.


Are face coverings required?
For vaccinated participants, face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces (such as Pre-Ride at the Floyd Little Center) and in any Ride transportation including sweep vans and shuttle buses. Unvaccinated participants are required to wear face coverings in all ride settings including Yale Bowl, rest stops, indoor spaces and in any Ride transport vehicles.