In 1969, the Mini 500 made its debut as a Homecoming activity.
However, this was not the first time students rode tricycles on Tech’s campus. The race actually comes from an old fraternity prank where pledges were forced to use tricycles to get around campus.
Today, the Mini 500 is seen more as a privilege, with only 51 teams (including Reck Club) allowed to participate.
This year, the event will take place on Friday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. at Peters Parking Deck.
Originally, the event had male teams complete 15 laps and female teams complete 10 laps. This has been changed so everyone now completes eight laps.
Teams of seven (four racers and three pit crew members) compete to see who can complete the laps the fastest (determined by a chip timing system).
There is also an award for the best tricycle decorated in Tech spirit (worth three points in homecoming competition).
The biggest thing with this event is to follow all of the rules. Some rules may be obvious, but many result in your team being disqualified.
No part of the originally red Radio Flyer tricycle should be visible.
There are specific modifications that are and are not allowed. One of the most important of these is that teams must replace the original tricycle wheels.
The Radio Flyer tricycles are originally rated for up to 49 pounds. According to the rules however, the replacement wheels cannot exceed the original wheel diameter by more than one inch.
It is important to make other modifications to the tricycle, specifically to the seat. The seats are very fragile and should be reinforced.
Even simply wrapping and securing a towel around the seat will help. New this year, the tricycles all have bells on the
The tricycles were distributed to teams on Sept. 27 with plenty of guidance on how to modify them and stay within the
The more serious violations fall under being a danger to yourself or others. This includes alcohol and drinking. If any team member is visibly intoxicated or if a race judge sees alcohol, that team is immediately disqualified.
A trickier but equally serious subset of this rule involves smashing a tricycle during the race. Any time a team’s trike falls apart past the point of being rideable, the crowd inevitably shouts encouragement for the rider to smash the trike.
Both this rule violation along with alcohol infractions result in a two year ban of the team’s organization from the event.
Beyond following the rules, it is important that everyone have fun, spectators and participants alike.
Even though it is October, Georgia has yet to realize Fall has arrived, so make sure to bring water and stay hydrated.
Replacing your wheels and making other modifications to the trike are also key in order to prevent it from falling apart.
Past years have shown it is easier to go up hills backwards and it is best to rotate riders after each lap. Each team is required to make three wheel rotations, recorded by race judges and only allowed in the team’s pit area.
The Mini 500 is an exciting and entertaining Homecoming event and not one to miss. Be sure to join Buzz, President Peterson and his wife and the Ramblin’ Reck Club next Friday to watch (or race).