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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 as a fully virtual event. We had hoped to include the in-person option but due to the recent progression of COVID-19 variants, recent data and guidance from our medical team at Yale New Haven Health, we have made the difficult decision to return to a fully virtual ride for 2021.  On Ride Weekend, participants will tune in for our powerful Opening Ceremony broadcast on Friday evening. Then on Saturday, will head out to ride a distance on a personal route (or at home on a spin bike). 

Is there a registration fee to participate in the 2021 event?
There is a $25 registration fee for Virtual 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 Virtual Ride is $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 Virtual Riders receive a jersey and Why I Ride Bib mailed to their home prior to Ride Day (Riders must be registered by September 1 to receive jersey prior to Ride Day). All Riders 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. Volunteers and Non-Riding Fundraisers will be eligible to earn all rewards at $50+. See our rewards levels here.

Note: Rewards 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 Closer to Free Ride?
Registration is open at You can register as a Virtual Rider or Non-Riding Fundraiser. 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 any time online through Ride Day, September 11th at 11:59pm. Note that any registrations between September 8 and September 11 will need to donate the full fundraising minimum at the time of registration.

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 September 10, our CTF community is invited to watch the Opening Ceremony online at 7:00pm on our Ride Week Website.

On Ride Day, September 11, Participants will 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.

More Ride Day Details are available here

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?

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.


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.