What to Expect on the Road

Looks Like Rain

The ride runs rain or shine. There is no rain date. But it will not rain. I promise. Mostly.  Worried about rain?  Check out our optional rain insurance here.


We serve a light breakfast at the Bard College start line (probably bagels, doughnuts, coffee, and bananas, or similar) so if you're dreaming of a giant stack of flashbacks with maple syrup, better eat up before you get there.  

Rest Stops

Official Bike the River Valley rest stops are never more than 25 miles apart.  (And the first rest stop for those pedaling the 35-mile route is only 12 miles away or so).  Stop by, relax, and see your friends.  We'll be there with first aid and bathrooms.  Bike repair will be available at rest stops.  

Each rest stop features:


Sports drink

Fresh fruit (bananas and something else too -- depends on what looks best in the market)

Something bread-y (for much-needed carbos)

Something sweet (for those who prefer to use sugar as their fuel)

Something with protein

We’re also known to provide stupid stuff like homemade pie with whipped cream made on the spot, but whenever we offer goodies like this we will also always provide healthy snacks too.

This all means that we love you, but that if you are eating a strict diet, you should bring some snacks with you, or buy them early in the ride.  (After the first couple miles we are in lovely countryside and there aren’t that many places to buy stuff).

We do not serve bottled water on any of our rides. Click here to see why.

At the finish line we serve a free all-you-can-eat meal suitable for vegetarians and meat eaters.

NOTE: For the 20-mile ride, you're on the same route as everyone else, just a shorter version.  There is no rest stop on the 20-mile ride -- we’ll load you up with goodies before you leave the start line, and you should be back in a couple hours.

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Route Directions

We will provide you with a route sheet and we will mark the route clearly. When in doubt, follow the route markers. (Be careful about just following the cyclists in front of you -- they might be lost!)

Please read our How to Get Horribly Lost page before the ride. Honest.

Can I Ride With My Friend Who Is Doing a Different Route?

Sure!  Several places during the ride you’ll be given a choice of which route you want to do.  These will be marked clearly on the route sheet and on the roadway. You can decide right on the spot which distance is for you.

We ask you during on-line registration which route you prefer, but that’s just so we can get a good estimate -- you can change your mind right in the middle of the ride if you want.


We provide bike repair help at rest stops, but in the end you are responsible for taking care of your own bike. Carry a patch kit and spare tubes, a pump, and basic tools. Know how to use your repair equipment!

S.A.G. Service

S.A.G. stands for Support and Gear -- these are the wonderful folks who will help you if you can't finish the ride because your bike breaks, you pull a muscle, or you're just too fried to pedal. We provide the best S.A.G. service of any bike ride in the U.S.


We offer two different types of S.A.G. service:

S.A.G. On Demand -- we'll have vehicles with bike racks on call throughout the ride. If you break down or need help, grab a phone and call us at headquarters.  (The phone number will be printed on the route sheet you'll receive on the day of the ride). We'll dispatch the nearest vehicle to rush to your aid, but ONLY if you contact us -- the vehicles don’t just circle around; they are on-call, waiting to hear where they need to go to next. S.A.G. On Demand vehicles will usually take you to the nearest official rest stop, where we can help you. Please understand that we’ll always do our very best to help, but S.A.G. on Demand is not a taxi service -- we will not be able to take you to grandma’s house or to Thai food take-out.

Finish Line S.A.G. -- no matter what, ALL cyclists need to be at the finish line no later than 6:00 p.m. so they'll have time to shower, eat, and get home.  The Finish Line S.A.G. team drives along at the very end of the ride and looks for people who need help.  They are the clean-up crew who make sure that everyone is off the road by the end of the day. However if it’s late in the day and you need help, do NOT assume that Final S.A.G. will get you -- please call ride HQ as usual and we’ll take extra good care of you.

If you need S.A.G. service just call us, and then stay in a safe spot near the road where we can see you. Our rest stops are the best place to look for S.A.G. service -- get there if you can. (But please don't put yourself in danger just to prove you can make it to the next rest stop!)

Please note that most of our wonderful S.A.G. drivers are NOT bicycle mechanics. They will do their best to get help for you, but please don’t expect them to be able to do bike repair too!

S.A.G.ed riders will be taken to the next rest stop or the Bard College start/finish line (as you prefer), so you won't miss your friends, the party, your luggage, or your ride home!

If you leave a bag at the Bard College start/finish line, but never make it to the end, we'll bring your bag back to our office for you. Our office is located a convenient 10,000 miles from where you live.  (Reach us after the ride at luggage@biketherivervalley.com.

"How Long Will It Take Me To Pedal the Ride?"

This is one of my favorite questions -- we don't know how long it will take you to do the ride -- how fast can you pedal?

Here is a very rough answer: Easy-going cyclists pedal about 10 mph on a flat road. Pretty darn quick riders in fine shape go about 15 mph. Racers and those in superb shape cruise at 20 mph plus.  Again, these times are very rough and do not include rest stops! For this ride in particular we urge you to check out the mansions along the way instead of hammering, but it’s your call. The speed demons will arrive back at Bard before noon. The S.A.G. team will make sure that everyone is at the finish line by 6:00 p.m.