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To bike or not to bike? Beer Bike 2024 sees tents, possible wind

Jones College freshman Richie Su celebrates with her hands above her head as she finishes the race. Brandon Chen / Thresher

By Viola Hsia and Riya Misra     4/10/24 12:05am

This year’s Beer Bike took place Saturday, April 6. After a seven-minute delay, the alumni races began, followed by the women’s and then the men’s. For the second year in a row, each of the races were divided into two heats. As usual, the times from both heats will be compared, along with calculated penalties, by the Rice Program Council to determine final results. Results were not available at time of publication, and the campus-wide Beer Bike coordinators did not provide a timeline for when they will be.

“We’ve continued the two-heat format for the races for the continuation of safe bike races, as well as setting a precedent for future Beer Bikes as we introduce new residential colleges to Rice,” Willa Liou, campus-wide Beer Bike coordinator, wrote in a statement to the Thresher.

Despite no major crashes this year, there were a couple spills. Bikers from Martel, Wiess, Baker and Hanszen Colleges fell while landing in the pit during the men’s race, and the fifth mens’ biker from Wiess fell while exiting the pit.

One of the major changes this year was the inclusion of tents to provide shade for student spectators. To accommodate, RPC president Annie Ribordy said RPC spent around an additional $20,000 on tents and furniture this year.

“Last year’s heat concerns were something that we really took to heart when planning this year’s event,” Ribordy wrote in a statement to the Thresher. “While the spectator tents are costly and require additional funding, RPC’s priority is always the safety and comfort of event attendees.”

Other teams took college spirit to a new level. Right next to its spectators’ tent, Wiess stationed a giant inflatable pig emblazoned with the words “oink oink bitches.” According to Wiess Beer Bike coordinator Jerome Cerio, the inflatable pig was a Wiess tradition that got resurrected this year after dying out in years past.

“The inflatable war pig is actually a really old Wiess tradition that kind of died over time,” Cerio wrote to the Thresher. “You can see old photos of Beer Bike where they’d fly it over the track.”

Sid Richardson College hired a plane that spelled “SID RICH RULES! BFA!” as a play on the college’s motto “SRR DFA.” According to Priya Armour, one of Sid’s Beer Bike coordinators, the ‘BFA’ was intentional, standing for “Beer From Above.”

“We wanted to do Beer From Above …  because we knew BFA would get people talking,” Armour wrote in an email to the Thresher. “It was a plane, so we knew that would draw attention anyways.”

Prior to the race, there was speculation on residential college GroupMes about switching the races to a run due to forecasted windy weather. The bike races ultimately continued as planned.

“We were ready to fully transition into Beer Run as needed if Environmental Health and Safety or Risk Management made the call, but we are thankful that we were safely able to continue Beer Bike as originally planned,” Liou wrote.

Other annual Beer Bike festivities continued as usual, including the water balloon fight, color war, Martel’s morning party and the parade leading up to the race.

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