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$70,000 devoted to bike track
by Angelique Siy
Next year, Rice will have a brand-new track for the biggest event on campus: Beer-Bike.

According to maintenance planner and coordinator Hannes Hofer, who is in charge of the project, the budget for a new track is approximately $70,000.

"We are hoping that the new track will last a long time, like ten years at least," Hofer said. "Basically, the old track was just laid on top of the parking lot. This one will actually go deeper into the ground."

Last March, the asphalt track was resurfaced for Beer-Bike; the year before that, the track had been so uneven that riding was hazardous. "The track was horrible. The straightaways were fine, but if your bike hit any of the little ridges on the turns, you could very easily end up [in] a skid," Tracey Kreider (SRC '95), the 1995 Sid Richardson College women's bike team captain, said.

Details yet to be settled on are the exact date the re-laying will occur and the identity of the contractors who will do the job.

"We can do [the new track] this summer -- the advantage [to that] is that we can be assured of having good weather, or we can do it before next Beer-Bike -- the advantage there is that you will have a fresh track," Hofer said.

A track laid in the summer would not be "fresh" because many outside organizations use the stadium parking lot -- and the track -- for their events. Assistant Athletic Director Steve Moniaci said that Cadillac, Corvette and BMW dealerships rented the track twice a year in 1995 to let the public test-drive their cars, and although the companies did pay for the necessary repairs, students said that patches only aggravated the problem of unevenness on the asphalt. Also, cars drive over the surface when Houston Livestock and Rodeo Committee members and others park in the lot, and trailers are dragged over it when the chili cook-off arrives -- the track itself, since it is raised above the level of the parking lot, traps water inside the ring. That water, Moniaci said, wears away the asphalt, too.

According to SRC senior Josh Earnest, when he and Hanszen College senior Brenna Copeland, both Beer-Bike coordinators, approached the administration with the problem, they were heard.

"[President Malcolm] Gillis' support was very important," Earnest said. "He made the recommendation to the Board of Governors for the proposal, and he deserves as much credit as anyone."

At the Willy Week dinner, held in Autry Court last week, Earnest and Copeland presented Gillis with a mountain bike to express students' appreciation for his contribution.

This item appeared in the News section of the April 4, 1997 issue.

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