Everything To Know About the Peloton Qualifying Rides


The Friday night Peloton is a police-escorted, bike procession that travels from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to University at Buffalo’s North Campus. In order to be a part of the Peloton, riders must fundraise $1,000, and complete a qualifying ride every two years. These rides also teach or refresh riding in formation, as well as familiarize riders with the logistics of the Peloton. If you’re going on one of these rides, here’s what you should know.

What to Expect

  • Qualifying rides will total 10 – 12 miles.
  • The average time commitment is 1.5 hours.
  • Riding in a 2×2 formation at consistent average speed of 12 – 14 mph.
  • Review of verbal and hand signals, shifting techniques and more.
  • You may be asked to return for another ride if you are unable to complete the full ride at a consistent pace (no one will be left behind at any point in time).
    • If you are unsure about your ability to ride 10 miles at 12 – 14 mph, please join us for one of our weekend training rides to help you prepare.

The Dates

The qualifying rides take place at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Riders should park in the hospital’s main ramp and meet in Kaminski Park 15 minutes prior to the start time to check-in with Ride staff members. Here are the upcoming dates for this year’s qualifying rides:

  • Sunday, May 5, 8 –10 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 11, 8–10 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 18, 8–10 a.m.
  • Sunday, June 2, 8–10 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 8, 8–10 a.m.

Be Prepared

  • Fuel your ride with a proper breakfast.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Bring a water bottle.
  • In case of a flat tire, every rider should have at least one spare tube that fits your bike tire and wheel size.
  • Tune up your bike before to ensure it’s in good working condition.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Double check that your bike is properly adjusted to fit you comfortably.
  • Ride your bike in advance to confirm you are comfortable riding it and that you are able to shift gears effectively.
  • Please ride the same bike in the qualifying ride and the Peloton.
    • Road bikes and lighter weight hybrids are preferred.
    • Mountain bikes and other heavier bikes should be avoided if possible.

Shifting Gears 101

Proper gear shifting is a fundamental skill that will improve your ride and your personal safety. Brush up on shifting gears so you’re prepared for the qualifying ride and the Peloton.


The Gears
  • Most bikes have two or three chainrings in the front and anywhere from 7 to 11 gears (or cogs) in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest rear cog to the largest eases your pedaling effort incrementally. Moving it between the chainrings in the front results in a more noticeable change – pedaling feels easier in a smaller chainring and more difficult in a larger one.
Be Shifter Savvy
  • The left-hand shifter changes the front gears; the one on the right controls the back gears. Remember – RIGHT=REAR.
It’s Okay To…
  • Use only the rear cogs and the small or middle front chainring when you’re just getting comfortable on a bike.
  • Shift whenever a more experienced rider does.
When to Shift
  • The reason bikes have gears is so you can pedal (relatively) comfortably no matter the terrain. Shift to an easier gear on climbs or when you’re riding in the wind. Use a harder gear on flats or if the wind is blowing from behind.
  • When in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. When you shift, ease up on the pedals, especially on hills; if you’re pushing hard, the chain may skip or fall off.
Avoid Cross-Chaining
  • That means the chain is at an extreme slant, either in the big ring up front and the biggest cog in the back, or the small ring up front and the small cog in the back. This not only stresses the hardware, but it also limits your options if you need to shift again.

Here’s a Cheat Sheet If You Get Stuck

  • For uphills and headwinds
    • Use small or middle front chainring + bigger rear cogs
  • For downhills
    • Use large front chainring + a range of rear cogs
  • For flat terrain
    • Use small or middle front chainring + smaller rear cogs

Peloton Qualifying Rides will be posted in late spring.