Sunday, March 13, 2011

One: Beer Bike

Yesterday, I decided to spend part of the day at Rice University to witness the spectacle that is Beer Bike.

Beer Bike is the hugest event of the year at Rice for the students and alumni, even bigger than Homecoming. It had its humble beginnings in the 50s and has evolved into a highly regulated "sporting" event that involves, you guessed it, beers and bikes.

Before it was regulated, the race involved one person chugging beer and then (trying) to race on bike in a relay against all of the other residential colleges. Obviously, this form of racing was arguably dangerous, and so now, there is a chugging "team" and a biking relay team, each performing the duties separately.

And yes, I went to spectate this "sporting event" yesterday if nothing for purely photographic means. I figured it would be a gold mine of opportunity, and since I have never been to Beer Bike before, I thought it would be "fun" to "experience" it for myself at least once while we live here.

While it was certainly crazy to behold at times, I had tons of photographic fun wandering around the Beer Bike "grounds" with my camera, which included the undergraduate side of the track where all of the colleges were cheering on their team.

Each college has a theme each year for their team. I saw such "themes" as "The Kegfather" and "The Fresh Pints of Bel-Air". Brilliant.

Once the races got started, we wandered over to the graduate student side, and we beheld what Matt referred to as a possible Quiddich scene from Harry Potter.

Quiddich? Nope. Beer bike. Different "sport", but the same crazy fans.

I was glad, however to be on the graduate student side as it was much more chill. Everyone was having fun rooting for the GSA (Graudate Student Association) team, which historically does quite well in the races.

I had much more fun, even as a teetotaler, than I thought was possible. I hung out with Matt & his graduate student friends during the races and watched the occasional craziness break through.

And these bikers were hard core. Halfway through the race, the GSA was nearly a full lap ahead of everybody else.

Unfortunately, a bad crash involving a spectator stopped the race, and 30 minutes or so later after the judges (yes, there are Beer Bike judges) had deliberated, they decided that it was too windy to continue the race safely on bike, and so they turned it into a Beer Run.

And somehow, the decision was made for the GSA team and the college that was in second place to start in the same spot on the track. Boo!

And the GSA ended up coming in second because of this. I left soon after the race ended, but I can only imagine what righteous anger and plenty of alcohol would have looked like at the after party for the GSA.

And so I have experienced Beer Bike. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had because I was simply hanging out with friends the whole time. And I brought home a lobster-red sunburn to match my hair. Awesome.


  1. Did this post already? Blogger won't let me log in as me...weird. Anyway, this is Kelsy.

    What a hilarious event!! I'm actually surprised more college students don't start drinking/athletic competition hybrids...seems like a perfect fit!

    I'm so glad you started a new photo challenge and I'm excited to see what else you have in store for us!

  2. Great start to the new series. I love the photojournalistic view point. Really looking forward to the next 51.