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Before jumping on your bike and cycling across New York State, it’s extremely important that you train your body for the elements and get your bike ready for the adventure. No matter your level of cycling experience, proper training will help you avoid injury and stay safe. Make sure to continue to practice CDC and state guidelines regarding COVID-19 and these activities.


First things first – make sure you have the right equipment. The Empire State Ride is not a race and is open to all riders and gear. While we don’t require specific brands or models, here’s what our team suggests to maximize your experience.

Road Bike

We highly recommend a road bike, as opposed to a mountain or hybrid bike.

CPSC Helmet

Helmets are required.

Cycling shorts

Preferably with padding.

Cycling Jersey

Or similar sweat wicking shirt.

cycling gloves

Cycling shoes & pedals

Or general comfortable shoes for platform pedals.

bike light

A flashing bike light significantly increases your visibility on the road. Nearly all bike shops carry these lights.

Saddle Bag

With spare tubes/patch kit, CO2 or Mini Pump (Mini Pumps are easier for beginner cyclists).


bike fitting

As you ramp up your training, it’s extremely important that you are comfortable on your bike. Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, a slight misalignment can create inefficiency or pain. 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.


Bike Maintenance

Regardless of the make and model of your bike, we highly recommend all riders take their bikes to a local bike shop before setting out on our adventure for a tune up. In addition, while there will be plenty of support along the Empire State Ride route, it’s always helpful to know how to change your own flat tire and any bike shop can teach you that.

time to train


Training Plan

Everyone’s favorite cycling coach, Charlie Livermore of Carmichael training, is back for #ESR21. He’ll be providing training tips to our riders before and during our weeklong adventure. Every year, Charlie puts together an incredible training guide that outlines how to get ready for July. This year, he’s put together three plans – one for beginner riders, one for intermediate riders and one for advanced riders. 


Practice Group Riding

If you’re a novice rider, cycling near other people may be a new experience. Learning to ride in a group, as well as proper etiquette, is essential. If you’re able to, practice riding in a group setting before embarking on the Empire State Ride. Additionally, most local bike shops have weekly and weekend rides to get a feel for how to do this. Consider joining one to work on your bike handling.


join our Strava Group

One of the benefits of becoming a road warrior is getting access to exclusive perks, like our official Strava group. After registering for the Empire State Ride, request to join to keep track of your training and see all the progress of your fellow riders.


Stay hydrated

Always carry a water bottle with water or other hydrating liquids with you . Stay ahead of your intake before you’re thirsty. A good rule of thumb is to finish a standard water bottle every 45 minutes to 1 hour. This may increase or decrease depending on the temperature outside. Pack more than you think you’ll need so you don’t run out.


It’s so important that you carry food with you while training. You can also stop at a local convenience store to fuel up. Make sure you’re consuming a few hundred calories per hour to avoid ‘bonking’. And just like staying hydrated, make sure to pack more than you think you’ll need so you don’t run out.

Find Your Electrolyte Brand

You need to find one that you enjoy drinking, even if it’s not the healthiest option. If you can’t tolerate the flavor, you won’t drink and will end up dehydrated.

bring snacks

For rides longer than 30 minutes, we recommend bringing a nutritious snack with you. Use your time training to find the perfect option for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but make sure you’ve found the right one before you arrive at #ESR21.

Don’t Forget the Protein

For rides greater than an hour or an hour and a half, grab something with a lot of protein. It might taste a bit gritty, but it aids muscle recovery.

Beware of Overly Sugary Drinks

While you will need sugar to recover, it’s important to not overdue it. Go for something with less sugar or water down an overly sugary drink for a better ratio of sugars and electrolytes.

Do What’s Best For You

You know yourself and your body better than anyone. Do what works for you. Training is a great time to test it all out, but ensure you have your preferred list of products by the time you arrive in New York City for the Empire State Ride.

Don’t Forget the Protein

For rides greater than an hour or an hour and a half, grab something with a lot of protein. It might taste a bit gritty, but it aids muscle recovery.