Students who want to learn more about the world of bicycling can do so by enrolling a unique minor degree program in Bicycling Studies at the Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Lees-McRae will accept the first applications for enrollment this month and the program is scheduled to start in the spring semester.
BikeRadar first reported news of the new minor degree in October of 2010, but at that time school officials didn’t think the degree would be offered until fall.
"My goal is to ultimately have 150 cyclists enrolled at Lees-McRae," said Lees-McRae College President Dr. Barry M. Buxton. "We plan to continue to win national championships, but we also want to prepare our graduates to assume positions of leadership in the business world of bicycling."
The program is focused on promoting the art and science of bicycling. Many courses are geared toward the professional cycling industry, team management, bicycle design, coaching and education, nutrition, athletic performance, training, retail, marketing and event promotion. However, it is not only suited to the competitive riders.
Courses are rounded out to educate its students about the history and principles of bicycling, the business and economics of sports, the importance of cycling as it relates to the environment, bicycle safety, cycle-tourism, city planning and urban design.
Lees-McRae College is well-known for its competitive collegiate cycling program’s Bobcat Cycling Team. The team has a long-standing history of generating championship racers on the collegiate circuit who moved on to professional cycling teams after completing their studies such as Brent Bookwalter (BM/C Racing) and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Transitions).
Buxton hopes the Bicycling Studies program will draw in members of the competitive cycling community to keep the Bobcat Cycling Team thriving. But more importantly, he hopes the program open opportunities for its graduates to work in the cycling industry.
“We want to give our talented cyclists another avenue in which to explore the ever-growing and dynamic world of cycling,” said Buxton who is also a cycling enthusiast. “Our students are talented riders and mechanics, and we want to provide them with opportunities outside of team racing. With the College’s new cycling minor in place, our graduates can be extremely competitive in the cycling industry as coaches, managers, officials, planners, ream directors, designers, promoters, trainers, etc.”