Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions


What is Cycle the Hudson Valley?

Cycle the Hudson Valley is a seven-day, 200-mile, fully supported recreational bicycle tour from Troy to NYC. It follows the north-south leg of the Empire State Trail (The EST totals 750 miles, making it the longest multi-use trail in the country.) This is the inaugural tour of Cycle the Hudson Valley - come make your own history with us.

When is the tour?

We gather on Saturday, July 29, 2023 in Troy, N.Y. Pre-ride activities planned for that day include pre-rides and a Welcome Dinner. The tour starts on the Empire State Trail route Sunday, July 30. For the next seven days we pedal south toward NYC, with an optional shuttle bus returning to Troy on Saturday August 5, 2023. See the Itinerary page for more details. A week-long schedule of all events will be sent to riders prior to the start of the tour.

What is the tour like?

Cycle the Hudson Valley takes bicyclists from the Capital region of NY down to Battery Park in Manhattan through the cities, villages, countryside, and spectacular park lands that make up the Hudson River Valley.

Daily routes range from 30-50 miles with additional mileage options for riders wanting to explore more of the Hudson Valley. The route is 63% paved and 13% crushed stone trail, with 24% on road. This seven-day tour includes miles of flat stretches on paved and rolling trail, stone dust sections, with some steep climbs on rural roads. Please be aware there are short sections of either high-speed roads or urban streets that connects the gaps of the off-road trail that require experienced cycling skills.

How much does it cost?

The tour is $975, which includes free long-term parking at the start, seven overnight camping sites with hot showers and restrooms (indoor or portable outdoor or a combination), seven breakfasts, four provided dinners, three dinners “on your own” with shuttles to area restaurants. Evening activities of music, speakers and shuttles to area attractions, one or two rest stops each day and support along the route are included. Additional Fee Services are Comfy Camper tent rental service, and an optional return bus back to the start in Troy.

What is the Covid Policy for this year's tour?

Who organizes Cycle the Hudson Valley?

Cycle the Hudson Valley is organized by Parks & Trails New York, a statewide nonprofit organization. Parks & Trails New York is dedicated to improving and protecting New York State’s parks and creating new opportunities for greenways and rail and canal trails. Parks & Trails New York organizes Cycle the Hudson Valley to promote the Empire State Trail, the historic Hudson River Valley corridor and economic development through bicycle tourism.

Funds raised from the ride help support Parks & Trails New York's trail programs.

What's included in the tour?

  • Camping accommodations every evening with showers and toilet facilities.
  • Seven hearty breakfasts and four delicious dinners, and three “on own dinners”
  • One to two daily refreshment stops, stocked with fruit, snacks and beverages
  • Evening entertainment, including music and historical presentations
  • During the tour you will be passing by and staying near many Historic Sites and Museums and other attractions, (some of which may charge an additional entry fee)
  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hours may vary.
  • Cycle the Hudson Valley t-shirt
  • Baggage transport
  • SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support
  • Daily maps and cue sheets
  • Painted and arrowed routes
  • Pre-departure downloadable Rider Handbook, including training tips
  • Optional amenities (for an additional fee) including fresh daily towels, tent and air mattress rental and set up. LEARN MORE,

Are children allowed?

We love kids! Given the relatively flat terrain and so much trail riding, Cycle the Hudson Valley can be a family-friendly ride. Old and young are welcome to join us as long as they can reliably ride or be towed behind a bicycle 30-50 miles a day. Please consider your child's ability to bicycle this distance daily. We will provide sag wagon rides to the day's endpoint for physical or mechanical break-down, but not on a daily basis. Also be aware that there are some steep climbs on rural roads and short sections of either high-speed roads or urban streets that connect the gaps of the off-road trail requiring experienced cycling skills.

See PREPARING FOR THE TOUR section for more information on training and riding with children.

Note: Since children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian at all times, if a child is too tired to continue bicycling, the parent or guardian must stop riding at that time, as well.

Is there a Rider Handbook?

Coming Soon!

We expect to have the Rider Handbook for the Cycle the Hudson Valley as the tour gets closer. For general reference here's a look at the Handbook for our sister tour, Cycle the Erie Canal, last year:

Didn't PTNY offer a Hudson Valley tour previously? What's different?

Yes, for several years PTNY organized an annual bike tour in the Hudson Valley, however it used a completely different route. PTNY suspended hosting bicycle tours in the Hudson Valley for a few years and became involved with promoting the completion of the comprehensive 750 mile Empire State Trail. This newly named Cycle The Hudson Valley tour now focuses on the 200 mile southern leg of the Empire State Trail, and highlights many of the attractions featured in the PTNY Guidebook, "Cycling the Hudson And Champlain Valleys." (see Merchandise page) Even if you've bicycled with PTNY in the Hudson Valley before come enjoy this exciting new tour. It's a brand new adventure through this historic river valley.

How can I volunteer?

Both riders and non-riding participants can volunteer to help out during the ride. Volunteers who commit to the entire tour ride for free. There are many volunteer possibilities available, including SAG and luggage truck drivers, rest stop help, route marking and more! See the Volunteer Page for time commitments and other details.

Why should I sign up?

Cycle the Hudson Valley is an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful region of New York State, learn its unique history and travel at your own pace. Riders enjoy cycling and touring with family members, renewing old friendships and making new ones. Explore historic sites and quaint shops along the way. Sign up today and start making plans for a memorable cycling trip along the Empire State Trail in the Hudson Valley.

How can I stay up-to-date and connect with other riders before, during and after the bike tour?

What if I am attending Cycle the Hudson Valley alone?

Cycle the Hudson Valley welcomes solo riders and many of our riders do come alone.


Signing up / Registration / Cancellations


Can I get my money back if I can't make the tour?

Cancelling the Ride

To receive a refund of your ride registration and, if applicable, shuttle reservation fee, minus a $200 cancellation fee per person (fees increase on June 24, 2023), you must submit a ride registration cancellation form no later than July 7, 2023. If your refund request is made after July 7, 2023 you may be eligible to receive a credit for next year’s ride. No shuttle reservation refunds or credits after July 7, 2023. No ride credits after July 21, 2023. All refunds are issued by check.

After July 7, 2023, to receive a credit for your ride registration, minus a $300 cancellation fee per person (fees increase on June 24, 2023), you must submit a ride registration cancellation request form no later than July 21, 2023. Credits can only be used toward PTNY Cycle the Hudson Valley 2024 bike tour. No credits after July 21, 2023


RIDE CANCELLATION FEES THROUGH JUNE 24, 2023

$200 PER PERSON


RIDE CANCELLATION FEES AFTER JUNE 24, 2023

$300 PER PERSON

What if I need to cancel just my shuttle reservation?

Cancelling Just the Shuttle

If you're still joining us for the ride but need to cancel your shuttle reservation and receive a refund minus a $25 cancellation fee per person (fee increases on June 24, 2023), you must submit a shuttle cancellation form no later than July 7, 2023. No shuttle refunds after July 7, 2023. There are no shuttle credits..

SHUTTLE CANCELLATION FEE UP UNTIL JUNE 24, 2023

$25 PER PERSON

SHUTTLE CANCELLATION FEE AFTER JUNE 24, 2023

$40 PER PERSON

What if I need to add a shuttle reservation?

In order to add a shuttle reservation, please email us at hudsontour@ptny.org or call 518-434-1583 x2. If you are calling to add the shuttle, please have your credit card information ready.

Is there a waiting list to sign-up?

If the ride reaches capacity, there will be a waiting list. Each rider should provide a registration form and payment to be placed on the waiting list. We will contact you if you are added to the ride and you will not be charged if we cannot.

When is ride Check-In day? When do we gather?

You can Check-In on Saturday, July 29, 2023. We have lots of pre-ride activities planned: explore the Ride Itinerary. Sunday, July 30, 2023 from 6:30-8 AM is the Alternate Check-in opportunity for those riders that arrive after 5pm on Saturday.

If I'm not riding, do I have to register?

Everyone must register and pay the fee for the event, whether you are biking or not. Everyone will receive a wristband at registration that allows access to all tours, campsites and meals.

Can I register by mail?

Registration by mail is not available for the tour. If you are unable to register online, please contact us at: 518-434-1583 or hudsontour@ptny.org.


Transportation / Parking / Bus Shuttles


How do I get to the ride?

We have compiled a listing of Transportation Options.

Where is the long-term parking?

Long term parking will be available only at the start of the ride, where we'll gather at Hudson Valley Community College, 80 Vandenburgh Ave., Troy, NY 12180. There will be an optional shuttle bus on Sat. Aug. 5, 2023 to return back to the long term parking. There is no long term parking arranged in NYC.

How do I get my bike to the ride?

There are many options for transporting your bicycle to the starting point in Troy. Many people ship their bicycle ahead of time via UPS. Also, the Amtrak Station closest to our starting location is Albany/Rennselaer Station, 525 East St, Rensselaer, NY 12144 approx. 6.5 miles away. NOTE: not all Amtrak trains allow bikes on board. Carefully research which trains accept bikes, and if they must be either boxed or if they can be "rolled on." Bikes , either boxed or unboxed, typically require a reservation in addition to the passenger.

Do you offer a shuttle bus back to long-term parking after the tour?

We only offer one Optional Shuttle:

  1. August 5, 2023 (SATURDAY) NYC - Albany/Troy (END OF RIDE)
    1. We do not offer a beginning of ride shuttle

For the Return Shuttle:

  • The shuttles do not drop off passengers anywhere but back at the Long Term parking in Albany/Troy
  • Shuttles make a short stop mid-way, but do not stop for meals.
  • Shuttle Fee includes passenger, bike and luggage
  • Bike Loading: Handle-bars will be turned. All water bottles, bags and panniers must be removed.
  • If bringing a trike, tandem or other non-traditional two-wheeled bike, please notify us, via email, at hudsontour@ptny.org


I will have a bike box / bike case with me. Where can it go for the week?

Bike boxes / cases can be stored on the luggage trucks during the week and transported to the end of the tour in NY City or back to long term parking in Troy. PLEASE NOTE: Saturday morning you must make sure your bicycle box is on the correct luggage truck. Luggage will be split between those ending in NY City and those returning to the start via the optional shuttle back to Troy.


During the day

What do we do during the day?

Each morning, a truck will be waiting for your luggage. After loading your luggage you are then free to travel the established route, riding at your own pace, stopping along the way to visit attractions and arriving when you wish. Parents and minors participating together are required to stay together during the day's ride. Along the way you'll find helpful volunteers, offering snacks, drinks and support; and repair vehicles to take care of your daily needs.

Where can I get information about the areas we will be biking through?

Our Monthly Rider emails will highlight different towns that we'll be riding through. The Hudson Valley Guidebook includes lots of maps and includes "Things to See" and "Trail & Travel Notes". See the PTNY Shop page.

Overnights

Where do we stay?

Cycle the Hudson Valley is a camping tour. Each night, you'll set up camp at the official campsite. Trucks will transport your baggage each morning to the next evening's campsite. Check out the itinerary for the list of overnight locations and addresses.

Comfy Campers provides rentals of tents, air mattresses, camp chairs and clean towels (fee includes setup and break down). For more information, or to reserve a tent, visit the Comfy Campers website.

What are the campgrounds like?

The "campgrounds" are either school grounds, college campuses, city parks or similar open spaces where you'll set up your tent. Portable toilets and the shower trailer will be available each evening. Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, local venues may have different levels of access to indoor facilities.

Check out the itinerary for the list of overnight locations and addresses.

Is there indoor camping?

CTHV 2023 has No Indoor Camping. If this changes you will be notified via the rider emails.

What if I don’t want to camp?

You can make your own arrangements to stay in motels or bed & breakfasts. A list of accommodations is available Alternate Accommodations.

NOTE: please see "How do I manage my luggage" if planning to stay off-site.

If I stay off-site, how do I manage my luggage?

We do not deliver bags to any off-site lodging locations. We suggest checking to see if the hotel or inn has a shuttle, or you can take a cab/Uber your off-site accommodations. If you'd rather bike to your off-site lodging location, you can take a night bag with you containing only what they need, and leave your main luggage on the luggage truck overnight. If you choose the last option, be sure to let the truck driver volunteer know those bags will remain on the truck overnight.

What is your policy on RVs/Trailers?

If riders are bringing any vehicle larger than a passenger van, please contact us ( Hudsontour@ptny.org ) for information. Some overnights cannot accommodate large vehicles.

Where can I charge my phone/other small devices (smart watch, gps unit, etc.?

CTHV provides phone and device chargers at each overnight location. Do not plug in strips or splitters at the stations as this can overload circuits. Consider bringing a fully charged battery pack to help keep your devices charged.

What if I need access to power overnight for a CPAP or other medical device?

  • Electrical outlets are limited in several locations. Riders are responsible for charging medical devices, including CPAP devices. We cannot guarantee charging facilities.
  • CTHV highly recommends that CPAP users bring two batteries on the tour.

What do we do in the evenings?

Four out of seven evenings includes dinner at the site, and 3 dinners “on your own” with shuttles to area restaurants. Evening activities included music, speakers and shuttles to area attractions. A daily schedule will be distributed with your registration packet.


Bicycling


How many miles does the tour average per day?

Daily routes range from 30-50 miles with additional mileage options for riders wanting to explore more of the Hudson Valley.

50 miles a day seems like a lot!

You can bicycle 50 miles in about five hours or less. This leaves plenty of time each day for sightseeing and visiting historic sites. Sag wagon rides are available for physical and mechanical breakdowns.

50 miles a day doesn't seem like much!

Additional rides can be added during the week for those seeking more distance. However, Cycle the Hudson Valley is designed for relaxation, learning about the history of the Hudson Valley region and having fun. We encourage riders to take a leisurely pace, see the sights, and finish the week rested.

What sort of terrain will we ride on?

Much of this southern leg of the Empire State Trail is a series of connecting trails. The route is 63% paved trail, 24% on road and 13% crushed stone dust. This 7-day tour includes miles of flat stretches on paved & rolling trail, stone dust sections, some steep climbs on rural roads and short sections of either high-speed roads or urban streets requiring experienced cycling skills that connects the gaps of the off-road trail.

Are road bikes suitable for the ride?

Remember the tour covers 30-50 miles per day, so we highly recommend hybrid bikes for comfort and versatility. For participants who choose to use their road bikes, we suggest using the widest possible Kevlar-belted tires for the bike frame. This helps prevent flats. Remember, the ride is not designed for speed and Cycle the Hudson Valley is not a race. It is designed with stops along the way because you will be traveling through one of the most historic and beautiful areas in New York State!

Are child carriers, tandems, recumbents, trikes, or trailers allowed?

Yes. All are allowed. If you plan to use our shuttle service after the tour for your tandem, recumbent, or trike, please email us at Hudsontour@ptny.org so that we can assure there is proper space on the trucks for it.

What if my bike breaks down?

Mobile mechanical (fee for services, the mechanics have parts and services availble for reasonable rates) and SAG wagon support is available every day to fix problems or get riders and bikes to bike shops for help. PLEASE NOTE: if your bike is non-traditional (trikes or folders with small wheels, tandems or recumbents with long chains.) not every bike shop may be stocked to fix your issues. Best to consider bringing bring spare tubes, chains, etc. Riders are responsible for all repair and part costs.

Why aren't e-Bikes allowed on the tour?

Ebikes are not allowed on CTHV 2023. The Empire State Trail (EST), that we will be following, has multiple sections that prohibit electric bicycles. Prohibitions on ebikes along the EST include NY State Law, and local jurisdictions.

PTNY is excited about the growth in popularity of ebikes, allowing more people to enjoy the outdoors, yet guidance, infrastructure and laws have not kept up with this increased traffic. PTNY will continue to follow progress for allowing eBikes, and we encourage any eBike owner wanting to attend CTHV to check back in 2024. Additionally, consider attending our original and well-loved tour, Cycle the Erie Canal, as it allows and supports Class I ebikes.

What if I can't bike the whole way one day?

Bicyclists are expected to train to a fitness level where they are able to bicycle 50 miles every day. However, when assistance is needed, the sag wagon will bring riders and bicycles to the Tent City at the end of the day. See Preparing for the Tour.

Are there GPS directions for each day?

Yes, the Cycle The Hudson Valley digital routes to input to your device are typically released a week before the tour begins, in order to provide the most accurate route and account for any last-minute construction or trail changes. Our digital routes include specific directions to CTHV Rest Stops and overnight camps. For preview only (but do not download for CTHV) you can preview the general route at https://bikeempirestate.com/cue-sheets.aspx


Food


Where do we eat?

Meals will be served in a combination of tents and/or cafeterias if available.

What do we eat?

At the beginning and end of each day's ride, Cycle the Hudson Valley and host communities provide a delicious and nutritious meal, including 7 Breakfasts and 4 Dinners. Note that 3 Dinners “on your own” with shuttles to area restaurants. Vegetarian meal options are available and we do our best to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan dietary requirements. Rest stops with snacks and drinks are provided one to two times a day along the route, however we do not have peanut-free tables at rest stops. Lunch is on your own.

Will there be a non-meat meal option?

Yes, non-meat meal options are provided for the breakfasts and dinners that Cycle the Hudson Valley provides. We will do our best to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan dietary requirements but we can’t guarantee every meal will have all these options. We will ask the caterers to specify which items are “dairy free, gluten free or vegan. Lunch is on your own.


Luggage / What to Bring


What do I need to bring for the tour?

  • Bike: A multi-geared, better quality bicycle, with tires in good condition, always makes the tour more enjoyable. We highly recommend using a hybrid bike. A second choice would be a mountain bike with non-aggressive tires for on-road travel. Riders do use road bikes with wide tires (at least 25mm). We have found that older tires cause many tire repair problems. If in doubt, we recommend getting new tires for the ride. If your handle bars are straight across, bar ends might be a welcome addition to your bike. Bar ends are inexpensive and available at most local bike shops , and provide alternate hand positions which may reduce forearm fatigue on the longer mileage days.
  • Helmet: You must have a helmet - you won't be allowed to ride without one.
  • Gear: You'll need a small tent and other basic camping gear, including sleeping bags. An odometer on your bike will be helpful, as all route directions use mileage. The route is also marked.
  • Clothing: Comfortable clothing for a variety of weather conditions.
  • Luggage: Everything should fit into one large or two small bags. Each bag should weigh less than 40 pounds.
  • Masks: Please note Historical sites and individual venues can require masking, consider bringing masks for any changes.
  • More information: See Preparing for the Ride.

How many bags can I bring?

Each biker may bring 2-3 luggage bags, and each piece of luggage must not weigh more than 40 pounds. Do not strap anything to the outside of your bag (i.e. tent poles, etc.). Bags should be soft sided. We do not allow bins as luggage. Use waterproof luggage or put your gear in plastic inside of luggage bags.

Will my luggage and bicycle be safe?

Theft of baggage or bicycles is extremely rare. More often, someone mistakenly picks up the wrong bag. Bags should be distinctively labeled, painted or decorated with ribbons to find them easily. All bags should have name tags. We suggest locking up your bicycle when not riding. Cycle the Hudson Valley does not guarantee the safety of your baggage, bicycle, or other equipment.


Emergencies


How can my family reach me in an emergency?

Family members should contact Parks & Trails New York from 9am to 5pm on weekdays at 518-434-1583. They can also contact April Amodei, Ride Director, at 315-406-6213, anytime. Family members should have a copy of the ride itinerary and can contact local police in that day’s tent city community, if they need to reach you. Cell signal is generally good, but not perfect and will depend upon your carrier.

What if there is an important weather alert or announcement?

If there is a sudden weather emergency or urgent news about the tour, you can sign up to receive text message alerts via our Rained Out system. To sign up:

  • Watch for the 2023 Cycle the Hudson Valley tour link from Rained Out in the monthly email updates.

Policies

Cancellation Policy

COVID / Pandemic / Illness Policy

e-Bike Policy

Ebikes are not allowed on CTHV 2023, please check back in 2024 for updates on this policy.. The Empire State Trail, that we will be on, has multiple sections that prohibit electric bicycles.

PTNY is excited about the growth in popularity of ebikes, allowing more people to enjoy the outdoors. PTNY will continue to monitor laws and guidance for the Empire State Trail. Note: Consider joining us on Cycle the Erie Canal, it will be our second year of allowing and supporting ebikes on the popular July Tour.

RV Policy


More questions?


Please email us: Hudsontour@ptny.org.

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