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Alumni ESR rider advice: for first-time riders

Hello first time #ESR rider, 

For a first-time rider, the Empire State Ride can seem intimidating. But, ask any of our alumni and they will remind you that this ride isn’t just a fitness challenge. They will proudly tell you that the Empire State Ride brought them a new perspective on the world, their life and each other.

If are a novice rider, or on the fence about accepting the challenge, look no further – our alumni have you covered.


You can do it!

“Your body can do anything… it’s your brain you need to convince.”Tracey M.

Studies have shown your body releases early signs of fatigue to keep you from overexerting yourself. With proper training you’ll find you can push through anything. 


“Humility. Accepting, with grace, my limitations.”Arlene K.

Sometimes enough is enough. While it is good to test your limits, you need to listen to your body. Your health and safety is our top priority. When you choose to go on the road with us, we have a team of professionals to support you every pedal of the way. 


Pace yourself, and get it done.

“It doesn’t matter how fast you pedal, just freaking pedal!”Sal T.

If you haven’t done a long-distance ride before, 500+ miles can seem impossible. One push at a time, one stretch at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have crossed that finish line.

“Pacing is key. I can hang on the back of a train at 23 mph for a day and then struggle to ride 10 mph for the next two days. Or I can ride 13 mph all day, every day.”Matt G.

Find your flow and stick to it. This is not a race, it’s an adventure. 

“For me, there are three: 

  1. Bring a battery powered oscillating fan for your tent! 
  2. It’s not a race, always take the time to stop for a picture or explore something cool 
  3. Make SURE to use the bathroom before going to bed every night. Nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night when you are exhausted and can’t see anything.” – Jason M. 

“Ride your own ride…and enjoy it.”Rick J.

No matter what, this challenge is about you and the cancer patients you are riding for. Enjoy yourself and do what you need to do to prepare so you are ready for the ride of your life.

Meet Your New Close Friends.

“Who knew in those 7 days of cycling you would inherit a family. ESR family for life.”Maurice A.

“You will have yourself another family. Ride with others but ride by yourself…you’ll have to dig in and it’ll all make sense.”Nicholas R.

At the beginning of the Empire State Ride, a group of strangers begins their journey across New York. By the time the riders cross the finish line, they have made lifelong friendships. And nothing will break that bond.

“Enjoy the moment and the great sights and people around you. It doesn’t matter if you ride 12 mph or 20 you are moving forward for a great cause.”Daisy H.

Look at the bigger picture. You are completing a ride of a lifetime to advance cancer research. Cycling is a celebration of health. We must do our part to end cancer. 

“Started as a “me” thing. Ended as a “we” thing.”Chris H.

“Putting yourself out there, challenging yourself and supporting a cause will inspire others to do the same.” 

– David V.

Road warriors are courageous. Choosing to ride the Empire State Ride is choosing to lead. Your hard work contributes to the world of cancer research and the patients at Roswell Park. 

Don’t forget your butt!

“Develop your chafing prevention protocol early and stick with it.”Chris H.

Saddle sores hurt. We suggest training for a long-distance ride, as much as possible, and finding the saddle that works for you. 

“Extra strength Desitin = Liquid Gold.”Michelle B. 

The food is fantasitic.

“Snacks!”Jose V.

Everything you need to keep you going on the road will be provided with a smile from our team. 

“I learned I can gain weight over the same seven days I rode 540+ miles. The food was excellent!”Jim M.

You have been warned. Riders enjoy catered breakfast and dinner every day

Details of the official #ESR21 route

July will be here in no time, which means the Empire State Ride is getting closer. If you’re still on the fence about participating or trying to figure out your plans before committing, we have something that will help – check out the official route. 

Let's Break it down

Day 1

Staten Island to Yorktown Heights. 58+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 2

Yorktown Heights to Rhinebeck. 79+ miles and 3,900 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 3

Rhinebeck to Albany. 75+ miles and 2,800 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 4

Albany to Utica. 98+ miles and 3,300 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 5

Utica to Weedsport. 83+ miles and 1,900 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 6

Weedsport to Spencerport. 76+ miles and 2,100 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 7

Spencerport to Niagara Falls. 77+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.

When you participate in the Empire State Ride, you are not only advancing cancer research from the seat of your bike, but also taking on a unique cycling challenge. All riders get access to: 

  • Tenting accommodations, which includes a tent, air mattress, camp chair and fresh towels
  • Catered breakfast and dinner every day
  • Rest stops every 15 – 20 miles
  • On-site bike repairs
  • Support and gear vehicles
  • Charging stations 
  • and more
 And a couple other things to note:
  •  Some riders choose to stay in a hotel for the entire week or for several nights. Any rider who chooses this option is required to make the arrangements themselves and cover the expenses. We do have room blocks available, but spots are limited. 
  • All riders will end their route at camp each night, but there will be limited hotel shuttles provided to transport riders to and from the hotel at designated times.
  • There will be a charter that departs from Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, July 24 and takes riders to Staten Island for a $75 fee. This charter takes riders and luggage, but not bikes, so if you choose to take advantage of this, you will need to plan how to get your bike to Staten Island. If you’re in the Buffalo area, you can drop off your bike on Thursday at the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and we will truck it to the start line. Or you can ship your bike through Campus WheelWorks, our partner bike shop, and our team will truck your bike to the start line. 
  • Additionally, there will be a charter that departs from Niagara Falls back to Staten Island on Sunday, August 1 at 8:30 a.m. for a $75 fee. You can ship your bike back home through Campus WheelWorks. Our team will transport it from Niagara Falls to Campus WheelWorks. 
  • If you’re driving to either Buffalo to take the charter or to Wagner College in Staten Island, there will be free, week-long parking for both. 
  • All registered riders get access to a travel planner, which includes access to this information like how to ship your bike, the in-person experience and more. 
Ready to make your summer an adventure? Commit to the Empire State Ride and start making a difference. 

Charlie Livermore’s training plan

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. Here’s what he has to say about training for the Empire State Ride. 

Hi everyone, Charlie here.

I’m happy to announce that the 2021 training plans are now live. The cycling fitness and experience level of Empire State Ride participants is broad. As a coach, I’ve been challenged to provide the right advice for this wide range of riders. What is good training for an advanced rider is not necessarily good for a beginner and a beginner training plan does not serve the advanced rider.  

In an attempt to better serve all of you, I divided the group into three categories and created three versions of the training plan:

  • Beginner Training Plan – This group ranges from participants who are brand new to cycling or those that will start riding in the spring and summer months to prepare for this year’s adventure.
  • Intermediate Training Plan – This  plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Intermediate riders can tackle the distance, but it will be a significant challenge.
  • Advanced Training Plan – This plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Cycling is their passion. These cyclists can easily tackle this year’s distance. Their goal is to ride the 540 miles at the highest average speed they can achieve every single day.

Before beginning any of these plans, make sure to digest all the information presented below to familiarize yourself with the language you’ll find in each plan. 

Train Right

Before jumping into whichever plan you decide on, it’s important to start with the basics. 

Whether this is your first time participating in the Empire State Ride or you are an experienced multi-day event rider, you’ll benefit from having a structured training plan. Week-long ridrs aren’t just about training more – they’re about training right. Training right will help keep you safe and healthy while tackling our cross-state adventure. 

A few things to note

1. Don’t forget to warm up and warm up the right way: warm ups can vary depending on the day, but you want to do at least 15 minutes of conversational riding before you start high intensity intervals. The warm up period may be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, but it’s more important to focus on the specificity of the intervals than getting in an exact number of minutes.  Use your warm up to get to the best place on the road to do your intervals. For this reason, workout days will be listed with a total duration that is longer than the total time of the actual intervals.  After you warm up and complete the intervals, then you complete the total duration of the ride at an endurance pace. 

2. Remember RPE: RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a very simple measure of workload to determine how hard you feel you are exercising. In a training setting, the RPE scale is from 1 to 10 –  with 1 being no exertion and 10 being a maximum effort. Each workout has an RPE associated with it to get the best adaptation. To use this scale, you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each workout. The below table lays it all out for you. 

The Training Plans

Now that you understand the importance of training, it’s time to check out the plans. Below, you will find the three training plans. 

DEscriptions of Workouts

If you’re unfamiliar with some of the language used in the training programs, here is a helpful guide:

1. Recovery Miles (RM) – Recovery Miles is exactly that – miles to help you recover. This needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from the previous days. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 4 – 5 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2 – 3 times per week. 

2. Endurance Miles (EM) – This is the intensity that much of your riding time will consist of. Many people refer to it as their forever pace, but it’s also the time around your interval sets. Theses rides should be a 5 or 6 on the RPE scale and range from 90 minutes to 6+ hours. Your speed will vary with uphills and downhills, but remember to keep your perceived exertion the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State (see below) fairly quickly.

3. Fast Pedal (FP) – This workout should be performed on a relatively flat section of road or on an indoor trainer. The gearing should be light with low pedal resistance. Begin slowly and increase your pedal speed, starting out with about 15 or 16 pedal revolutions per 10-second count. This equates to a cadence of 90 to 96 RPM. While staying in the saddle, increase your pedal speed, keeping your hips smooth with no rocking. Concentrate on pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke and over the top. After one minute of Fast Pedal, you should be maintaining 18 to 20 pedal revolutions per 10-second count, or a cadence of 108 to 120 RPM for the entire time of the workout. Your heart rate will climb while doing this workout, but don’t use it to judge your training intensity. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the Fast Pedal workout with as few interruptions as possible because it should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed training intensity.

4. Tempo (T) – Tempo workouts are that pace between your Endurance Miles and lactate threshold. These workouts help develop a stronger aerobic engine by maintaining an effort outside of your comfort zone. They should be a 7 on the RPE scale and range from 15 – 45 minutes for each interval. Be very careful that you don’t let your intensity level get into your lactate threshold. It’s very easy to let it creep up, but faster doesn’t always mean better. You need to be able to sustain that pace for longer periods of time to get the best adaptation. 

5. SteadyState (SS) – Steady State is probably the most well-known term in these workouts. They’re a very important part of training and are very strenuous. They should be done at or slightly below your lactate threshold at an RPE of 8 – 9. These intervals are shorter than Tempo because of the intensity involved. Each interval ranges from 8 to 20 minutes and has a 2-to-1 recovery ratio. A typical workout may look like 3×10 minute with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.   

6. Power Intervals (PI) – Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise). They last 1 to 3 minutes at an RPE of 10. Warming up before these is even more important, so make sure to get in 15 – 30 minutes of conversational riding before you start the intervals. The recovery period is 1 to 1, so 1 minute intervals have 1 minute of active recovery.  


Now that you have a training plan and a basic understanding of the fundamentals, it’s time to get started! If you’re interested in learning more about a personalized plan, you can reach out to me at

Why you need to come to New York State for this cycling adventure

When you think of New York State, what comes to mind? 

Most likely New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Probably crowded subway stations and endless crowds. Maybe even snowstorms in Buffalo. Or a certain football team that still hasn’t won a particular championship game that takes place every February. You know the one…with the funny commercials and a big concert halfway through, but that we can’t write in this blog post because it’s trademarked. Yeah, that one. 

The truth is New York State is so much more than all those things and it’s a total dreamland for cycling. 

No, seriously.

Rolling hills, challenging elevation gains and superb summer weather make it the perfect setting for an adventure.

Particularly a 500+ mile adventure across the entire state that advances cancer research. Do we have your attention now?


Enter the Empire State Ride. One state. Seven days. 500+ miles.

Here’s what you need to know. 

It's a challenge

Cycling across an entire state isn’t easy and the Empire State Ride is no exception.  We begin in New York City, travel up the Hudson River to the capital of Albany, then climb our way over through Syracuse and Rochester, and end at one of the natural wonders of the world – Niagara Falls. 

The good news? We’re cycling in the summer – this year, from July 25 through 31. So you don’t have to worry about snow. 

The bad news? You’ve got the hills, heat and humidity working against you. 

But, who doesn’t love a good challenge? Not only will you get the chance to push yourself to your limits, but you’ll also get the chance to see New York like never before.

And who knows – you may even end up loving it. 

It's Impactful

Taking on a challenge is always fun, but it’s even better when coupled with the opportunity to make a difference. 

At its core, the Empire State Ride is a fundraiser. Every year, our road warriors help to advance cancer research from the seats of their bikes by each committing to raise the required $3,500 minimum. And they have real impact. 

Funds raised support America’s first cancer center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, which provides treatment and care for more than 44,000 patients from 41 states and four foreign countries every single year.

Our road warriors have helped fuel groundbreaking research, like clinical trials for CIMAvax, a cutting-edge lung cancer vaccine, and phase II trials for SurVaxM, a brain cancer vaccine. 

When you choose to take on this adventure, not only are you tackling something only the most elite cyclists have accomplished, but you’re also fueling national and international cancer research. 

It's Fully Supported

This photo was taken in 2019 pre-pandemic.

You’re never alone on the Empire State Ride. Not only will you be a part of the official class of #ESR21, but our staff is here to fully support you, before, during and after the adventure. 

We know raising $3,500 can be intimidating, but our fundraising team is here to help you meet – and exceed – your goal. You’ll get access to many tools, including but not limited to email templates, a mobile app, business cards with a QR code that links to your fundraising dashboard and is unique to you, worthwhile rewards to aim for, and more. You’ll also be invited to our private Facebook group where you can meet us and your fellow riders pre-adventure to get to know one another and exchange advice.

When it comes down to the in-person experience, all you have to worry about is cycling those 500+ miles. We’ll take care of everything else, including rest stops every 15 – 20 miles, tenting accommodations, luggage trucks, showers and restrooms, catered breakfasts and dinners, onsite bike repairs and more. 

We know that COVID-19 is still a threat, but we are working with state officials to keep everyone safe by following CDC and New York State guidelines. Check out our FAQ page for more information on these details. 

#ESR21 is a whirlwind – it’s challenging, it’s intense, it’s impactful. It’s lifechanging and it changes lives. If you’re ready for an adventure in 2021, look no further than the Empire State Ride.  

Fundraising made easy: connect your dashboard with Facebook

Fundraising $3,500 is a challenge, but when armed with the right tools and attitude, it’s easier than you think. 

One of the best tools to help with your #ESR21 fundraising is integrating your online fundraising dashboard with your personal Facebook page. This utilization allows you to easily spread the word about your fundraiser and track your progress right on Facebook. You can also quickly send updates on your progress, making it that much easier to reach your goal. Additionally, your friends and family can donate when scrolling through their newsfeeds. The best part? Your progress will be reflected in your fundraising thermometer, both on Facebook and on your Empire State Ride fundraising page, so people can stay up to date on your journey. 

Here's How to Connect Your Fundraiser to Facebook

1. Log in to your fundraising dashboard

2. Scroll down and click "Connect Fundraiser on Facebook"

3. You'll be redirected to Facebook and a pop-up window appears. Click 'Continue' or 'Ok.'​

4. Either you'll be brought to your Facebook Fundraiser or you will be prompted to go to your Facebook Fundraiser from your dashboard.​

5. Edit your fundraising information, including title, description, goal amount, end goal and more.​

6. Promote your Facebook Fundraiser by sharing or inviting people to your fundraiser to start getting donations!

This tool will allow you to spread the word about your fundraiser, engage directly with donors and reach more people than you ever thought possible.

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Empire State Ride

The Empire State Ride is back for 2021 and we’re ready to advance cancer research from the seat of our bike. We missed being on the road with all of our incredible road warriors and we can’t wait to get back to changing lives, either together riding across New York State or virtually during the 500+ Mile Challenge.

So, ready to tackle this bucket list item? Here’s what you need to know. 

The OPtions

There are two registration options available for all riders: weeklong and virtual. Weeklong riders commit to riding all seven days (from July 25 until July 31, 2021), from NYC to Niagara Falls and fundraising the required $3,500 minimum. The route, which will include exact mileage and elevation gains, will be finalized in early 2021. Our team is working with state officials and will be following CDC and New York State guidelines to keep everyone safe. 

If you’re not feeling comfortable coming out to an in-person experience but still want to participate, the 500+ Mile Challenge is perfect for you. There’s no registration fee or fundraising requirement, and you can train to ride 500+ miles in your hometown. This is a great way to get a feel for what the Empire State Ride is like without the commitment. 

The Fundraising

If you’re a little intimidated about having to fundraise, we have a ton of tips and tools to make it easier on you.

First, kick off your efforts by making a self donation. Then, let all your family, friends and colleagues know that you’re fundraising for cancer research. Promote it on social media and email everyone in your address book. Don’t forget to personalize your fundraising dashboard, download our mobile app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and integrate your fundraiser with Facebook.

The Experience

When you join team #ESR21, you’ll be supported on and off the road – by both fellow riders and our staff. The Empire State Ride is fully supported. What does that mean exactly? As a rider, you’ll get access to:

  • Bike mechanics and repair support
  • Rest stops every 15-20 miles
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner options for all dietary restrictions
  • First-aid trained staff
  • Support & gear buses to pick you up if you need some help
  • Luggage truck
  • Camping accommodations
  • Showers and restrooms
  • Access to a private Facebook group to meet fellow riders
  • Training tips
If you’re taking on the virtual challenge, you’ll get access to all the same online tools. We are here to support you – no matter where you are located. 

No matter which option you choose, the Empire State Ride is the perfect chance to challenge yourself while advancing cancer research. Our road warriors are unstoppable on their mission to help end cancer – become a road warrior and join us on our adventure. 

Please note – the in-person 2021 experience is our dream. But we understand that the effects of COVID-19 are constantly changing. We will continue to monitor the situation, following CDC and state guidelines, and communicate any and all updates. Check out our FAQ page for more information. 

6 ways to use the#ESR21 fundraising app

Fundraising $3,500 can be a challenge. But with the right passion, hard work and tools, anyone can do it. Download the Empire State Ride fundraising app, which makes reaching the fundraising commitment easier.

Now, everything you need to be a successful fundraiser will be located in one place on your mobile device. Features of the app include:

  • Monitoring your fundraising progress
  • Sharing your page using social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and SMS
  • Viewing and managing donations
  • Updating your page with a personalized story and photo
  • Integrating with Facebook to start a fundraiser
  • Easily importing email contacts and sending emails

The app is available for both Apple and Android devices. Head to either the App Store or Google Play, search Empire State Ride Fundraising and select download – it’s that easy.

Take a Tour of the App

With this new tool, there’s so much you can do. Here are 6 ways to make the most out of it.

Monitor Your Fundraising Progress

Once you log in using your credentials from registration, you will see your fundraising progress. Here, you can:

  1. Track your goal
  2. Adjust your goal
  3. See your team’s progress (if on a team)

Share Your Page

Now that you’ve made the commitment to fundraise for cancer research, it’s time to spread the word. The Empire State Ride app makes it easy to share your personalized page across many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SMS. You can share your page from three different locations on the app:

  1. Home (right under your fundraising progress)
  2. Donors
  3. Page

View and Manage Donations

Keep track of your donations all under the Donors tab. You can see who’s donated to your efforts and how much they gave. You’ll be able to thank them right through the app, too. Additionally, you can opt to be notified via email when you receive a donation. This is a great option to make sure you never miss a chance to say thank you to a donor.

Update Your Page and Picture

Updating your page and photo just got easier. Instead of needing a desktop or laptop, now all you need is your phone and the app.
Make sure to update the story of why you’re participating in the Empire State Ride. This will help donors understand your drive and passion, which can ultimately lead to donations.

Integrate with Facebook

Facebook fundraising is an incredible tool to reach more donors than ever. Integrating your personalized page with the social media giant is one of the best things you can do. Now, you can do it through the app with one simple click. Simply scroll down on the home screen and click “Connect to Facebook.”

Send Emails to Contacts

If you have your email contacts stored on your phone, you can easily import them into this app. It automatically syncs with your address book, making it that much easier to reach out to your contacts to spread the word about your #ESR21 fundraiser.

The Empire State Ride Fundraising app will help you reach and exceed your fundraising goals. Download it today to get started.

3 Tips for Tackling 500+ Miles

3 Tips for Tackling 500+ Miles

Greetings ESR riders!

I wish I was giving you these tips on how to get through 500+ miles live and in person after a good day on the bike, Greg’s map review talk, a great catered dinner under the tent and the inspiring words from Terry and the survivors we get to hear from.

The ESR ride has been a major “BIG FUN” week in my life for the last 4 years and I’m going to miss it dearly this year. But here we are making the most out of a difficult situation – thriving vs surviving. Because that’s who we are!

The range of riding experience and fitness level of ESR riders made it a bit of a challenge to come up with the three best tips that everyone can use to help tackle riding 500+ miles.

I was recently on a cycling vacation in North Carolina that gave me some time to ponder the basics of what makes long distance bike riding enjoyable and what can make it feel like punishment.

On Day Three of my ride, I made a huge hydration/nutrition mistake on a long hard ride that resulted in the worst 40 minutes that I’ve had on a bike in years. This reminds me that no matter how fit or experienced a cyclist is, hydration and nutrition can make or break you.

I also happen to be on a new bike that I’ve only done 3 rides on. I’ve had a dozen bike fits in my time as a cyclist and have fitted over 100 athletes on the Retul system myself so I know when my position is right for me. Still it took 5 rides of tiny adjustments to get it perfect.

I was also fortunate to get to ride with my friend (and yours) Katie Hamister. Talking with Katie about her accident and how she thinks about safety now inspired me to include this topic as one of my tips.

Kudos to everyone who has been putting in the miles and raising funds during the ESR challenge in July and best of luck to everyone of you for taking on this next challenge.

So here are my 3 tips that I hope will help you exceed you goals.

Tip #1: Hydration and Nutrition

In order of priority, hydration trumps nutrition. Nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated state. It’s August hot now and your body’s cooling mechanism is sweat.

You must replace both the liquid and the electrolytes that make up your sweat. The less acclimated you are to heat the more electrolytes you lose through sweat.

  • Drink 1 to 1.5 bottles per hour. Depending on the intensity and length of the ride.
  • Use an exercise hydration product that focuses primarily on replenishing electrolytes vs carbohydrates.
  • If you have a computer that has an “Alert” feature, program it to remind you to drink every 10-20 minutes. The latest research recommends drinking greater amounts every 20 minutes vs small sips every 10 minutes. If you choose every 20 minutes, you’ll need to drink a third of your bottle at a time. Either way, you’ll be fine.
  • Drink before and after your ride.
  • Try not to ride during the hottest part of the day.
  • The rate at which you consume carbohydrates during your ride depends on the intensity and length. See the recommendations based on the latest science below.
  • Important to remember that the amount of calories in a bar or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for example, is not made up of 100% carbohydrates. When you’re calculating your energy needs use grams of carbohydrates vs calories for you measurements.

Tip #2: Comfort via Bike Fit

I know, I’m always harping on this bike fit thing. Thing is until you’ve had a professional fit, you just don’t know what you don’t know. The level of comfort and biomechanical efficiency you’ll get from a bike fit can be transformational. As an added benefit a good fit will greatly decrease overuse injuries.

  • Regardless of the kind of bike you’re riding, it must be the right size for you.
  • Your flexibility/mobility determines how your position on the bike should be.
  • The width of your sit bones determines your saddle width. This has little to do with gender or body composition/shapes.
  • Comfort should be your #1 priority for a 500+ mile challenge.
  • The standard on bike fitting systems is Retul.

Tip #3: Safety

Now that you’re properly positioned on your bike and have a hydration and nutrition strategy you’re ready to tackle this challenge. Your #1 goal should be your safety.

  • Install a flashing rear light on your bike. Even better are rear lights with radar that shows oncoming vehicles on your bike computer. I use the Garmin Varia.
  • Wear bright colored jersey. Bright green and red jerseys are the most visible.
  • Keep your eye on the road when your drinking from your bottle (don’t till your head up and look at the sky) instead hold the bottle level and squeeze for water flow.
  • Ride defensively. Although you may have the “right” by law, assume that vehicles will not exercise them in your favor. Be aware of “the worst case scenario” in any situation.
  • Hold on to your handlebars. The images below illustrate what I mean by this. In image 1, the rider is merely placing weight on the hoods. In image 2, the rider is holding the bars while placing weight on the hoods. The same applies in images 3 and 4. When the thumb is over the bars vs. under the bars. Those of you who have heard me speak bout this know it as “the hook.”

Be Well!
Coach Charlie Livermore, CTS Pro Coach


BINGO: Get Inspired for Your Next Virtual Fundraiser

COVID-19 may have stopped us from going to work, hugging our loved ones, and enjoying a meal at our favorite restaurants, but we got creative. We figured out new ways to connect with coworkers from home, send love to our families, and support local businesses.

Now it’s time to get creative with our fundraising to support cancer patients. Not even COVID-19 can stop cancer, and we need to continue to raise funds and make an impact on the future of cancer research, even if we can’t be together on the road.

Looking for inspiration? We want to introduce you to two of our road warriors, Stephanie and Brandon Zarbo, whose passion and dedication to the cause helped them raise $1,200 during just one virtual event!

Stephanie and Brandon hosted a virtual bingo night in early May where they had 45 players, sold 250 bingo cards, and attracted over 400 viewers. “It was a lot of fun for us and gave us something to do while we’re cooped up,” Stephanie told us.

Their first one was so successful, they scheduled a part two for May 17 where they hoped to sell 500 cards!

We talked to Stephanie and Brandon about how they planned this event and made it as successful as it was. Take a look:

Where did the idea come from?
As the COVID situation began playing out, it was becoming clear in early April that our planned fundraising events in late April were not going to be able to happen. On top of that, we knew it would be very challenging to try to raise money as we know people are struggling financially. But, we also knew how much friends and family were in need of some fun distraction and we had been wanting to organize some type of virtual game night since this all started. There are lots of online group game options available now, but not anything large scale. Bingo came to my mind because we wouldn’t have to get everyone on a call, and I could easily distribute playing cards via email. We decided the prize should be dinner deliveries from a local restaurant to add another layer of support for our community.

Your viewers/participants – were they local? How far was your reach?
Most viewers were from the area, but we had friends and family playing from everywhere! I think some of the farthest were our friends in Salt Lake City and South Carolina, and some cousins in Northern Ontario!

What platform did you do it on?
We used Facebook Live and that worked out well. Most people have a Facebook account, even if they don’t use it often, so it was easy to get everyone watching in the same place.

How did you get the bingo cards? How did you set it up?
When I first had the idea, I started researching virtual bingo options. There’s a great site called that made it very easy. From there, as donations came in, I sent out playing cards via email to players with instructions for how to play. We sold out of game cards so we also decided to add Live Trivia in between rounds to add a little more fun, as well as another chance to win prizes. Players called in via Houseparty and we streamed them in our live video. In terms of the live setup, we had started planning assuming that we would just set up a phone and go live. But Brandon and I are video production professionals and after being out of work for 6 weeks, it felt like the right time to flex our production muscles. We had a two camera live stream and also included the live call-ins. It was a lot of moving parts, but it went really well for our first time and so much fun!
You can check out Stephanie and Brandon’s live stream of their first virtual bingo here:
Great job Stephanie and Brandon! We are so grateful to have your dedication and support.

An Update on the 2020 Empire State Ride

When you’re riding a bike and approach a hill, what do you do? You shift gears to accommodate the terrain, which allows you to continue on to the next leg of your journey. You adapt in order to conquer your challenge.

Well, this year, COVID-19 is our challenge. And in order to overcome it, we have to shift gears on the Empire State Ride.

Unfortunately, our weeklong adventure cannot take place as it normally does. But our road warriors can still make an impact on the future of cancer research. Cancer isn’t stopping. So we can’t either.

We’d like to introduce the 500+ Mile Challenge, a way for us to safely ride while changing the future of cancer research. From July 1 until August 1, we are asking our road warriors to cycle 500+ miles any way they’d like. We’ll also be continuing our fundraising efforts and hosting fun opportunities for our riders to honor what would have been #ESR20, July 26 – August 1.

First and foremost – your fundraising. We want to ride together for the 2021 Empire State Ride. That’s why we are saving a spot for all 2020 registered riders during next year’s adventure, which will take place from July 25 through 31 and deferring your 2020 registration fee to next year. 

The funds you have raised so far are absolutely critical to advancing cancer research, and are already hard at work.  We know you worked hard to fundraise this year and want you to continue your #ESR20 efforts. That’s why whatever fundraising amount you achieve by August 31, will boost your #ESR21 fundraising efforts.

2020 Fundraising Level 2021 Boost
Riders at $1,000 - $1,999
Riders at $2,000 - $3,499
Riders at $3,500 - $4,999
Riders at $5,000 - $7,499
Riders at $7,500+

The donations you raise for the Empire State Ride this year will support the most promising, cutting-edge research happening in the world right now, and it’s happening at Roswell Park: immunotherapy. It’s the future of cancer treatment, and Roswell Park researchers are leading the way in developing these new therapies that help our own immune systems fight and kill cancer. They’re our best hope for saving more lives. You even stepped up to the challenge in April to helped raise $29,500 for COVID-19 research!

And don’t worry — you still have the chance to receive rewards for all your hard work.

2020 Fundraising Level Rider Reward
Riders at $1,000 +
ESR20 Jersey
Riders at $3,500+
ESR Backpack, Cycling Cap & Socks
Riders at $7,500+
ESR Limited Edition Windbreaker
Riders at $10,000+
Excelsior Jersey & SAC Grant
Riders $15,000+
Daily massages, towel service, and tent concierge in 2021

The 500+ Mile Challenge

Even though we can’t gather on the steps of Wagner College for our annual picture, we are still determined to make this summer not only impactful but fun for all our road warriors. Let’s all commit to riding 500+ miles throughout the month of July. It doesn’t matter whether you complete this outdoors or on your indoor trainer. It just matters that we do it.

Not only are we going to track everyone’s mileage in the #ESR20 Strava club, but you can also try to ride the mileage you would have during the week of July 26  –  August 1.

Day 159 miles
Day 273 miles
Day 375 miles
Day 4100 miles
Day 583 miles
Day 677 miles
Day 778 miles

We are also planning on having virtual activities for everyone to participate in – more to come on those. So stay tuned!
And you’re going to need some new Empire State Ride gear in order to participate in these new adventures!
Our store is now open, so make sure to place an order by June 4 in order to receive it for the week of #ESR20.

Will You Join Us?

We know this is different and not at all how you pictured riding your first (or second or third) Empire State Ride. But the passion all our road warriors have is contagious. Let’s harness it this summer and advance cancer research. Because even though we can’t have our normal adventure, we can still do something to change the future.

Thank you for your support, dedication and passion. Check out this message from our founder, Terry.

You can join the 500+ mile challenge today!

Ride wherever you are, with whoever you want.

There’s no registration fee or fundraising requirements.

Any funds you do raise will support cancer research right now.

Register Today!

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