Rice University logo

Issue No. 7—Summer 2013
« Newsletter Home 

No time like the present

Tradition met technology for the first time at this year’s Beer Bike, Rice’s unique competition among residential colleges, graduate students and alumni in which teams of cyclists race and teams of chuggers drink water or beer, depending on their age and preference, in alternating rounds.  

Will Rice College may have been the big winner at this year's Beer Bike, taking all three races, but Team Timekeepers were also victorious, proving their radio frequency identification (RFID) technology timing system that used helmet-mounted RFID tags to time races with .3-second accuracy. Paul Melvin '13, Blake Miller '13, Ryan Koehn '13 and Shaun Haby '13 developed the system as their senior capstone engineering design project.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett ’71, the Rice Engineering Alumni association and the John P. Schroeter ’74 Memorial Graduate Alumni Gift Fund supported the project. Gary Woods '88, a professor in the practice of computer technology and electrical and computer engineering, was the team’s faculty adviser.

For all of Beer Bike’s 55-year history, volunteer judges holding stopwatches, clipboards, pencils and flags have determined the winners. “They have a lot of things they’re trying to manage and there’s not a whole lot of training for judges, so ones who haven’t already done it for several years may or may not really know what they’re doing,” Melvin said.

For the complete story, go to http://news.rice.edu/2013/03/17/no-time-like-the-present/ 

For the video and additional photos, go to http://news.rice.edu/2013/03/25/beer-bike-2013/