GENERAL RIDE FAQs
WHO CAN RIDE?
Anyone who is interested in riding with us is encouraged submit an application for a Rider position. For the safety of our Riders, the approximately 90 mile Ride is limited to approximately 480 pre-qualified Riders who are offered a “confirmed” position in the Ride. Riders must make a commitment to properly train and condition themselves for riding approximately 90 miles at a 15 – 17 mph pace on the flat portions of the Ride. All new Riders agree to make the four commitment rides. Riders from previous years, who have met their Commitments, are invited to ride again.
WHAT ARE THE COMMITMENTS?
- To help the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children during the next year, by participating in its education and community programs associated with The Ride. This is one of the most important parts of our mission and one in which we want all Riders to participate.
- To participate in The Ride for Missing Children keeping an average pace of 15 – 17 mph on the flat portions of the Ride.
- To raise a minimum of $500 in community donations to support the poster distribution of missing children, the community education program and the mission of the Mohawk Valley office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
WHAT KIND OF BIKE IS NEEDED?
Road bikes are the best suited for long rides and are strongly recommended. Some of the Riders use mountain bikes or hybrids with street tires (slicks), though they are not recommended. Mountain bikes with knobby tires will be very difficult for riding ~90 miles and are not recommended. Our target pace is to keep an overall average of 15 mph for the Ride, slowing the pace as we go up some of the hills. If you are considering buying a new bike for The Ride, we recommend that you contact us if you are unsure of what type to buy.
IS THERE A NEW RIDE TRAINER PROGRAM?
The Ride for Missing Children is for cyclists of all levels of experience. We have developed a “Novice Rider Program” for first-year Riders who are not already experienced cyclists. The program is run by Riders with many years of experience who will teach you the basics of bike riding including: shifting your gears, proper “spinning”, and riding safety. We’ll develop and improve your riding distance and skill level to enable you to confidently ride with the main group. Novice Riders will do their first training rides with the Novice Rider Training Group as more experienced cyclists may attend the main training rides. Participants in the Novice Rider Training Group will train separately from the main group of Riders until we verify they can keep the Ride pace.
Please fill-out the “First-Year Rider” section of the Rider Application. Further information for First-Year Riders will be available at breakout sessions at our Rider Meetings that are held January through March before The Ride. Please contact Chip Hemmel or Molly Ballard, Co-Chairs of the New Rider Training Program with questions.
WHERE DO FUNDS GO?
Funds raised support the missing children poster distribution and community education.
The posters are sent out for targeted distribution of missing children to aid in their search and recovery. The local office is the only geographically targeted poster distribution center in the United States and posters are sent to saturate locations carefully chosen where children and abductors might be found. Approximately 10,000 to 17,000 posters are sent out for 7 to 12 missing children in one week’s time from the office.
WHY ISN'T THE ROUTE A CIRCLE?
The open loop represents the never ending search for all missing and exploited children and the continuation of hope that someday they will be found.
RIDE DAY FAQs
WHERE DO WE STORE EXTRA CLOTHES AND GEAR
Bring only one gear bag (weighing less than 20 lbs.) with ID number & ribbon attached (you will get these in your rider bag). When we arrive at Troop D you will put your bag in the appropriate Gear truck that will follow the Riders all day
WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING
Weather in Upstate NY is unpredictable and this is an “all-weather” Ride. Bring warm weather, and cold weather clothing; rain gear, extra socks –remember to bring your helmet!
Good Gear to Bring: Bike gloves,extra socks, rain gear, sunscreen, lip balm, ibuprofen or aspirin, towels, extra clothes you may need. Bring spare tubes for your bike. In case of rain, place clothing in plastic bags before placing them into gear bag.
WHAT FOOD AND BEVERAGE WILL BE PROVIDED?
We have Rest Stops every 10-20 miles or so at Schools along the Ride Route.
At all the “full” rest stops, we will have a wide variety of food and beverages. If you have special dietary needs, we encourage you to bring your own supplies and store them in your gear bag. Bring two bike specific water bottles and carry them on your bike.
WHAT ARE THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE?
We will have an Ambulance as part of our Escort, provided by the Utica Fire Department. Other ambulance corps from local communities will be “on stand-by” as we ride through their service areas. If you have a special medical condition, you may want to speak to the EMT before the beginning of The Ride. We also recommend writing down your name, emergency contact information, and any medical conditions pertinent to you, on an index card and keep them in your bike jersey pocket.
WHAT IF I CAN'T KEEP THE RIDING PACE?
If you are not keeping the pace, ride on the right near the white line; if someone is riding with you, you must ride single file so other Riders can pass you. Tell other Riders you are moving to the back and encourage
them to pass you on the left. If you “fall off the pace” and reach the back of the line, the Sweep Shepherds will give you an opportunity to catch up. If you fall back more than 20-feet, the Sweep Shepherds will instruct you to get into the Support Bus and the Bike Support Crew will place your bicycle in the Support Truck. Follow all instructions immediately. You can rejoin the Ride at the next rest stop.
WHAT IF I GET A FLAT TIRE?
- Yell out “Flat Tire” to alert the Riders around you. Do not stop abruptly – slow down gradually as you ride to the right side of the road.
- Stop when you are out of the line of riders on the right side shoulder of the road.
- Remove the spare tube from your bike seat bag and hand it to the bike crew.
- The Bike Support Crew in the support vehicle will put your bike in the van and replace the tube. We do not carry spare tires – tubes only. You will be in the Support Bus at the back of the Ride, and can rejoin the Ride at the next rest stop.
- All Riders must bring at least one spare bike tube in their bike seat bag. We recommend bringing three spare tubes. (yes – it has happened). Keep at least two spare tubes in your personal gear bag. If the bike crew replaces a tube for you, please give them your spare to replace it. You may bring an extra tire if you wish and store it in the gear truck – put your name on it. We will have some spare tubes available, but cannot have all types for all bikes.
WHAT IF MY BIKE BREAKS DOWN?
- We cannot make bike repairs or tune-ups during The Ride. Our mechanics will only replace tubes. We DO NOT carry spare tires.
- Take your bike to a qualified bike shop before commitment rides start to have it tuned and repaired before the Ride. NOTE: many of the local bike shops are very busy with tune-ups and repairs in the weeks and months before The Ride – make an appointment early!!!!!!
SPECTATOR AND SUPPORT FAQs
WHERE CAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS SEE US RIDE?
Family and friends will NOT be allowed to drive along with the Riders due to safety and traffic considerations. People wishing to watch the Riders are strongly encouraged to park off sites and watch the Riders go by. Drivers must not park on the shoulders of the roads – roads must be kept clear for the Riders.
Genesee Street in South Utica – New Hartford. The #1 best way to see The Ride for Missing Children is as we ride down to the New Hartford Recreation Center.
CAN FAMILIES ATTEND OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES?
The Opening Ceremony is closed to the public.
Families/friends are welcome to attend the Closing Ceremony at the New Hartford Recreation Center. Please make family members and friends aware that backpacks and carry bags will not be allowed on the premises of the Rec. Center.