Beer Bike successful despite setbacks
Kudos is due to Matt Sawyer, the university-wide Beer Bike coordinator, and the Beer Bike coordinators from each college (see story, pg. 1). Beer Bike came and went smoothly, safely and too swiftly. The Beer Bike leadership was met with a multitude of challenges never seen in the past, and each problem was addressed with great success.
Alcohol responsibility was a necessity for this Beer Bike much more so than for any in the past. The Rice student body enjoyed a Beer Bike which included minimal to no hospital transports for over-intoxication; furthermore, the students exhibited strict adherence to the newly revised conduct policy, which prohibits hard liquor consumption in private or public gatherings. Champagne, malt liquor, wine and beer were prevalent on campus, representing a Beer Bike which included both great times and responsible drinking.
Another unique problem presented to the coordinators of this year's Beer Bike was the drop-out of many truck rentals. The coordinators smoothly executed the movement of the trash cans and every college was prepared for the balloon fight. Furthermore, this was the first year that the parade system was changed. The lengthy meandering of the Inner Loop was replaced with a cheer battle which was was perfectly spontaneous and brilliantly spirited. The lack of parade also allowed for fighting access to all colleges and ensured that more balloons were available for the actual battle. The fact that the fight ended earlier than usual likely encouraged more students to make it to the race, as attendance was exceptional with the grand stands full.
A final alteration was necesitated by the dangerously windy racing conditions plaguing the track. Heavy winds caused 11 injuries before Sawyer prudently called an "all-stop" on the track. After a quick conferral with the college coordinators, a decision was made to convert the race to a running competition. The Beer Bike leadership preserved biker safety while not depriving the audience of a winner.
To no fault of the coordinators or bikers, the numerous accidents that occured over the course of the three races are definitely a cause for concern, and moving into the future, it may be wise to take proactive precautions. First, reducing the total number of racers from ten to five or seven would ensure that a greater majority of competitiors are skilled bikers. Some of the more apathetic colleges are often forced to pull racers from the crowd who may lack the safety training and experience necesary for them to be apt racers in a very fast and very competitive arena. Secondly, the racers need to be more thoroughly monitored to ensure that they complete all necessary safety training prior to being permitted on the track. A racer should not be allowed to help fill out a team if they did not go through the tutorials during Willy Week.
All in all, the Thresher commends the 2011 Beer Bike coordinators for adeptly adjusting to unique circumstances and putting on an extremely successful Beer Bike.?
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