Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost?

The Empire State Ride is a fundraising event to support cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. There is a $3,500 fundraising minimum and a $100 registration fee. For Custom Rides, the fundraising minimum is $750 per day, with a $100 registration fee. On February 15, both of these registration fees will increase to $150. The third registration option is the 100-mile Virtual Ride Challenge, which has a $20 registration fee, and a $1,000 fundraising minimum.

I can’t ride in the week-long event. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can! If you can’t ride from NYC to Niagara Falls, consider registering for the Custom Ride option. You will select the starting city and number of days you will be riding, in the registration process. You can also participate as a virtual rider in our 100-mile Virtual Ride Challenge.

What if I sign up and start fundraising, then something comes up and I can no longer participate in the ride?

We’ll miss you on this year’s ride, and hope you can join us next year. If that’s the case we’ll simply roll over your registration and donations. If you can’t, we’ll accept your registration fee and the money you raised as a donation toward our mission of winning the fight against cancer.

Are meals provided? What if I have special dietary needs?

Yes, the Empire State Ride provides breakfast, lunch on the route, and dinner each day, along with snacks and hydration at water stops every 15 – 20 miles. When you register, you’ll be asked if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. We can accommodate most needs, but if you’re not sure give us a call at 716-845-3179.

What happens if I don’t meet my fundraising minimum?

Your minimum fundraising commitment is due no later than Saturday, July 28 at Rider Check-In. For any remaining portion due, funds will be collected in-person by credit card or check (made out to Roswell Park Alliance Foundation). Riders who have not met their minimum fundraising commitment or have not completed a fundraising commitment form ahead of time are not eligible to ride. As a reminder, your fundraising commitment for the full 7-day ride is $3,500. If you are joining us for a custom ride, your fundraising commitment is $750 per day.

Where do I send checks or cash?

Cash and check donations may be mailed to:

Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
ATTN: Empire State Ride
PO Box 644
Buffalo, NY 14240-0644

For checks: make the check out to “Roswell Park” and write Empire State Ride and the rider’s name in the memo field.

How long will it take for cash, checks or matching gifts to post to my fundraising page?

Please allow 10 business days after receipt for mailed donations to be processed and posted to your fundraising page. Donations made online will processed and posted immediately. Please note: Mailed donations must be received by the ESR office at least 10 days prior to ride day in order to be posted to your total in time.

How can I find out if my company will match gifts for the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation?

Whether you work for a company that matches the money you raise, or if one of your donors works for a company that does, you can double your donations by doing the following:

  • See if your company participates in a matching gift program
  • Pick up a Matching Gift form from your Human Resources Department (or ask your donor to request one at their place of work)
  • Fill out the form completely
  • Send form to the following address:
    • The Empire State Ride
      ℅ Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
      Elm & Carlton Streets
      Buffalo, NY 14263

If after contacting your Human Resources Department you still have a matching gift question, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

What’s the mileage like?

The 2018 Empire State Ride mileage will be finalized in January 2018.

In 2017, the average daily mileage was about 77 miles. The total mileage was 546. Our shortest day is 54 miles and our longest is 90. You can always ride shorter daily distance(40 mi./day) by utilizing the SAG buses, or register for the Custom Route option if you want to participate but are not available for the entire week.

I can do 30 – 50 miles per day, but not 70+. Can I still participate?

Yes! We offer the option of a shuttling ahead on the daily route so that a participant can ride half the day. It’s a great option for those who want to participate but are worried about the mileage, and those who just need a break. We can shuttle you and your bike to the daily lunch stop where you can then ride into camp, or if you want to ride the first half of the day, we can shuttle you to camp when you are done riding for the day.

What if there’s a day that I can’t finish the route?

Don’t worry! This is a fully supported ride. SAG support and shuttles will always be available for riders who need some rest or encounter mechanical issues. SAG support will help arrange a ride into camp for you.

How fast do people ride?

Everybody rides at their own speed. Some fast, others slower. You should plan on a 13 – 15mph pace with a 10mph average including stops. This will get you to rest stops and into camp each day with plenty of time to rest, refuel and refresh.

I am a day rider, where do I meet the group?

You should plan to meet the group at 7 a.m. on the morning of your departure for Rider Check-In; breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. before departing from camp. Based on the day that you have signed up to ride, specific instructions will be emailed to you.


Where are we sleeping?

Riders on the Empire State Ride will be tent camping at each overnight location. The locations are a mix of private campgrounds and public high schools.

Do we have to bring our own camping gear?

No! Just your sleeping bag and a pillow. Each rider receives a tent and air mattress that is set up and broken down by ESR support staff each day.

I’m not a camper. Can I stay in a hotel?

You sure can! If camping isn’t your thing, you can stay in a hotel at your own expense. The Empire State Ride will designate one hotel near each overnight as the official hotel. We’ll arrange for your gear to be dropped off at that hotel each night. You’ll be responsible for arranging transportation to and from the hotel each day. If you choose to stay in a hotel other than the officially designated one, you’ll also need to make arrangements to retrieve your gear each day.

Who moves my stuff?

Staff will transport your gear and tent in the gear truck each day and will have it ready for you when you arrive in camp.

How do I make sure a tent and air mattress will be set up for me each evening?

As a registered ESR rider, we will provide a tent, air mattress and camp chair for you each evening at our designated camp (unless you have otherwise noted that you have made your own hotel accommodations). You can opt for towel service for an additional cost of $30 throughout the week by calling the Empire State Ride office at 716-845-3179.

How do I get myself and my equipment to NYC?

There are a lot of ways to get to NYC. You can fly, drive or take the train. If you live in the Western New York area, we can help you shuttle you, your bike and your gear.

What options are there for getting my bike to NYC?

The Empire State Ride will provide bike shipping information closer to the tour. They will be emailed to registered participants, and posted in our Travel Planner!

The Empire State Ride will designate a bike shop in Buffalo and New York City to help with the bike shipping process.

I have a bike case that I am transporting my bike in. Can you store it for me?

Your bike cases and other packing materials will be stored during the tour and will be available at the end point. You do not need to make any arrangements for this prior to arrival.

What airport should I fly into in NYC?

Newark Liberty International (EWR) is the closest, but LaGuardia (LGA) and JFK International (JFK) will work, too!

How do we charge our electronics if we are camping?

There is a large charging station that is set up each evening at camp. There are ports for 60 plugs and several USB plugs. We would suggest that you bring your own power strip if you will want to charge multiple electronics at once.

Can my friends and family visit me?

Of course! But only staff and participants have access to the food and services provided by the Empire State Ride. If you would like, guests can join us for a meal by paying $20 when they arrive.

What happens if I get sick or hurt while on the Empire State Ride?

First aid trained staff will be on hand to attend to any injuries or sickness that occurs. If your injury prohibits you from any more riding you’re welcome to remain on the ride with us for the remainder of the week, or we can help you make arrangements to get home.