Beer Bike is a combination intramural bicycle race and drinking competition dating back to 1957. Elaborate rules outline biking regulations, chugging allowances, and race rules. Each residential college, as well as the Graduate Student Association, participates with a men’s team, a women’s team, and alumni (co-ed) team. Each leg of the race is a relay in which a team’s “chugger” must chug beer (an option for those over 21) or water; once this is accomplished, a “biker” from that team may begin to bike around the track. Men chug 24 ounces and bike three (3) laps while women chug 12 ounces and bike two (2) laps.
As a biker rounds the last curve of his or her last lap, the next “chugger” prepares for the next leg of the relay. Over the years, a chant has developed which counts down to the moment when the next “chugger” may begin. Rice students enthusiastically use this chant as a way to cheer on their team and encourage both “bikers” and “chuggers”.
Willy Week is a term coined in the 1990s to refer to the week preceding Beer Bike; it is a time of general energy and excitement on campus. There are a number of events during this week, including Beer Debates, International Beer night, and events planned by the Traditions Committee. Willy Week is also a popular time for jacks. On the day of Beer Bike, two other popular events are the water balloon fight and the cheer battle.
The very first Beer Bike was held on May 5, 1957, just over a month after the inception of the residential colleges. Baker College finished first, followed by Will Rice and Wiess. Hanszen was disqualified for taking a ”shortcut.” Since then, Beer Bike has gradually evolved into what it is today. Despite past changes and changes to come, Beer Bike will always remain what is was first intended to be: a friendly competition between the colleges; in short, uniquely Rice.