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frequently asked


We know there’s so much to consider.

You should find the answers to your questions below. If you don’t, contact us.

On The Road / General

The 2022 Empire State Ride leaves Wagner College on Sunday, July 24 and arrives in Niagara Falls on Saturday, July 30.

There are three ways to participate in the 2022 Empire State Ride:

  • Riding from July 24-30 as a weeklong road warrior.
  • Riding 500+ miles from anywhere in the country on your own schedule.
  • Volunteering to support the riders along their adventure.

Our road warriors’ enjoyment and safety is our top priority. To support you, we provide the following:

  • Catered meals including breakfast and dinner in camp and lunches at a rest stop
  • Rest stops with food, hydration and a restroom every 20 miles
  • Food and hydration on the routes
  • Camp snacks and beverages
  • Personal tent with air mattress and camp chair
  • Camp amenities: Towel service, restrooms/portable restrooms, shower truck
  • Daily camp programming
  • Camp setup and takedown
  • Access to experts: Medical team and athletic training personnel
  • Bicycle checks and basic repairs (complex repairs at the riders’ expense)
  • Scheduled shuttles to assist riders in need on the route
  • Coordination with local emergency services and law enforcement for traffic safety
  • Marked route and signage
  • Fundraising tools
  • Training plan and blogs
  • Live Town Halls
  • Private Facebook group

The Empire State Ride is a 500+ miles ride from New York City to Niagara Falls, New York. Empire State Riders cycle along the Hudson River to Albany and west to Niagara through cities, towns, villages and the open country.

The route is a combination of paved trails, busy streets and rural roads. Our cyclists share the roads with cars, trucks and pedestrian traffic. In past events, the ESR overnight sites have been Yorkton Heights, Rhinebeck, Albany, Utica, Weedsport and Spencerport. Actual routes and locations for 2022 will be confirmed in early 2022.

  • 6 a.m. – breakfast at camp
  • 7 – 8 a.m. – start line at camp
  • 1 – 5:30 p.m. – rolling finish line at camp – extended time for rest, recovery, hydration, snacks and shower
  • 3 p.m. – rest stops close – cyclists struggling to finish will take the ESR shuttle to camp
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – dinner at camp
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – evening program focused on the mission of ESR and impact of rider fundraising.
  • 8 p.m. – free time in camp, more rest and recovery

Most cyclists will average 14-15 miles per hour. Some athletic cyclists will average 18 miles per hour. Weather, elevation and road conditions will slow any cyclist.

Total distance for seven days is 500+ miles. Distances each day vary. The average distance is 79 miles. The shortest day is between 50 and 60 miles and the longest day is 100 miles. Riding at 14-15 miles per hour on a 78-mile day, equals 5 to 5.5 hours of cycling. Add about 1.5 hours at about four rest stops for a 7-hour cycling day from camp to camp.

ESR is a ride, not a race. Everyone has good days and better days. Arriving prepared to ride the distance each day is important, however, if you are struggling you can take advantage our Empire State Ride support shuttles. They are there to help give you a boost to finish at camp or start the day at one of the rest stops. Daily shuttles are scheduled to meet the needs of the group. In an emergency, riders in need will be picked up and cared for immediately.

Catered camping is the core of the Empire State Ride experience. Our staff sets up and packs away your tent, mattress, chair and provides you with a clean towel every day. Camps are set up at local schools, parks and fairgrounds. Some have access to indoor facilities; some are more rustic. Each camp has a rider reception and services area, tenting area, dining and program tent. Restrooms or portable restrooms, traveling shower truck, bike repair, electronics charging station and power for CPAP machines are also provided.

A shuttle will be provided to and from the designated hotels for those not camping. Your bike will need to stay in camp. Bring a lock for it. Riders staying at the hotel each night, will be able to retrieve their luggage directly at the hotel. The Hotel Luggage truck will be stationed at the hotel and manned by a staff member from the time of the first hotel shuttle until the last shuttles return to the venue before dinner. If you choose not to go to the hotel prior to dinner, please communicate to a staff member so we can make accommodations for your bags.

Yes! Licensed massage therapists offer optional massage sessions daily at your own expense. Massages will be offered at 30 minutes for $50 and therapists will be able to accept credit cards. Massage signups will be available at dinner the night before and on a first come first served basis.

Preparing For ESR

All riders need to arrive at Wagner College on Saturday, July 23. There are two main ways to get to the ESR start line.

  1. Take the ESR charter bus ($75) from Buffalo to Wagner College on Saturday, July 23, 2022.
  2. Travel to major airports, train and bus stations, drive or get dropped off at Wagner College, Staten Island.

Long term parking is available at no cost at Wagner College, Staten Island and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo.

  • Travel direct from Niagara Falls, New York.
  • Join friends and family at Niagara Falls.
  • Book a room at one of our preferred hotels, walking distance from the finish line.
  • Take the ESR charter bus ($75) to Wagner College on July 31, 2022.

Getting your bike to and from ESR is each rider’s responsibility. Here is what we recommend:

  • Rack it on your car or a friend or family member’s car.
  • Ship it.
  • Use the ESR Buffalo to Wagner College bike shuttle truck bike drop off on July 21, 2022.

Think of Empire State Ride as three 30-mile rides each day, with rest stops to keep you going. If you head out from camp by 8 a.m., at an average pace of 14-15 miles per hour, with rest stop time, you can expect to arrive in the next camp around 3 p.m. each day, with time to spare.

Catered camping is included in the Empire State Ride experience. Hotels are optional at the rider’s expense. Empire State Ride will reserve limited room blocks at local hotels each night on the road (Sunday – Friday). Book early in these “official” hotels. ESR riders opting into a hotel stay will pay a nominal surcharge to offset the cost of shuttling riders and luggage to the official hotels. Hotel shuttles are scheduled each day to ensure riders can experience our evening programming, rest and recover.  

ESR riders may bring two pieces of luggage and a sleeping bag. Luggage is shuttled from camp to camp and to the hotels each day. See the recommended packing information on the website for more details.

ESR will schedule shuttles to assist riders who need a boost. Shuttles can advance riders to the next rest stop or to the lunch stop to start the day with a boost and finish at camp. Shuttles are scheduled for riders staying in hotels. In emergencies, ESR will pick you up. In non-emergency cases, riders who are eager to get to the hotel or other destination outside the shuttle schedule should use Uber or Lyft.

The ESR medical team is on hand to evaluate common athletic training and physical therapy issues and to screen for basic medical treatments and for conditions that might require a telemedicine or in-person visit to urgent care or the emergency room.

ESR will have a team of traveling and local licensed massage therapists for optional appointments at the riders’ expense.

If you have one or if you see an emergency, call 911, then call the ESR rider help line. ESR has a traveling medical team to help with daily wellness checks, athletic training and physical therapy issues. ESR has telemedicine connections to UBMD Emergency Physicians for video exams. ESR will coordinate with riders who might go to an emergency room or urgent care center.

The ride happens rain or shine.  Please pack with varying weather conditions in mind.  In the event of extreme weather, the ESR staff will recommend the best course of action. Extreme heat, high winds and lightning are examples of extreme weather that could be encountered during the week.

A simple answer is to train so that you can ride 30 miles outdoors at a brisk pace without stopping. Ride your bicycle outdoors as much as you can prior to ESR. Get plenty of “seat time” to help your body adjust to the feel of long-distance cycling, including cycling clothing, padded riding shorts, clip on shoes or lightweight flat soled cycling shoes. Learn about personal care products such as Chamois Butter, Desitin and other remedies for chaffing and body endurance issues. Ride with others to get accustomed to group riding, communication, traffic and road hazards. Work with your local fitness center to build strength and endurance. Get your bike tuned and serviced at your local bike shop and get their advice on fitting your bike to you and your dimensions. Join ESR riders and alumni who organize local group rides in your area. Check out the ESR training program on our website.

  • A road bike designed for long distances works better than a mountain or hybrid bike.
  • CPSC helmet (required). Helmets degrade over three to four years, so replacing an older helmet is a good investment. Helmets with MIPS technology are best.
  • Cycling shorts with padding, jersey or sweat wicking shirt and gloves.
  • Cycling shoes and pedals OR general comfortable shoes for platform pedals
  • Bike lights — A flashing bike light significantly increases your visibility on the road. White lights in front and red lights in the back.
  • Saddle bag with spare tubes/patch kit and CO2 inflators or mini pump.

Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, a slight misalignment can create inefficiency, pain or numbness. A bike fitting can help correct technique, improve biomechanics and prevent injuries. Most bike shops offer bike fitting services where they will set you up on a stationary trainer and perform measurements, as well as analyze your pedaling and body motion.  


The fundraising commitment is $3,500 for the weeklong ride with a $100 registration fee until December 31, 2021 and a $200 registration fee from January 1 until registration closes. There is no fundraising commitment or registration fee for the 500+ Mile Hometown Challenge.

The deadline for registered riders to raise the minimum fundraising commitment is July 24, 2021.


Empire State Ride is committed to providing a safe experience for our riders, volunteers, vendors, staff and the communities that welcome us. With this in mind, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test within 72 hours will be required to participate in the Empire State Ride weeklong event. COVID-19 guidance and safety is everchanging. In addition to vaccine requirements, we are continuously monitoring, and will adhere to the latest New York State CDC guidance for masks, social distancing and other protocols.

All riders must show proof of vaccination or proof of negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before arriving at Wagner College.

Our team is working closely with statewide officials to ensure CDC and New York State guidelines are followed throughout the week. 

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