Lees-McRae College has already won national championships on the collegiate cycling level, but the Banner Elk school sees another challenge now.
The school wants to prepare cyclists for jobs after college that deal with their sport, so the school has announced a minor degree in bicycling studies to begin this spring.
It is the first school in the United States to offer an academic-based minor degree program in bicycle studies.
“We are truly pioneers in this,” Athletic Director Craig McPhail said.
“We want to give our talented cyclists another avenue in which to explore the ever-growing and dynamic world of cycling. Our students are talented riders and mechanics, and we want to provide them with opportunities outside of team racing,” Lees-McRae President Barry M. Buxton said in a press release.
Goals for the program are, according to the press release, to “promote the art and science of the bicycling industry, provide quality education to support the knowledge and skills of bicycling competitors and enthusiasts, promote bicycle safety and prepare future generations of bicyclists.”
The minor is part of a revitalization strategy that Buxton, a cycling enthusiast who became the school’s president last summer, hopes will help strengthen the school. His hope is to have 150 cyclists enrolled at the school.