2008 News Articles-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar holds Inaugural Bill Brown Ride

Bicycle ride to Al Khor was held in memory of longtime professor and avid cyclist

March 5, 2008

Andy Zrimsek

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar holds Inaugural Bill Brown RideSeventy-six cyclists and nearly 20 volunteers turned out bright and early at the Doha Golf Club on Saturday, March 1, to take part in the inaugural Bill Brown Ride. The bicycle ride was held in celebration of Bill Brown, a beloved biology professor at Carnegie Mellon University and avid cyclist who passed away last year.

Starting at 8 a.m., cyclists of all ages and riding abilities headed north from Doha toward the town of Al Khor. Cyclists had the option of riding a 16-mile loop to Lusail; a 28.5-mile loop to Simaisma; or a 42-mile loop to Al Khor. One-third of the cyclists completed the full Al Khor loop, which is the course Bill rode almost every weekend when he was in Doha.

“It was great to see so many cyclists in Qatar come out and ride the course that Bill enjoyed riding,” says Majd Sakr, Ph.D., Computer Science professor and cyclist. “We had riders of all ages, and had a mix of serious athletes and recreational bikers. Everyone could join the event, which was something Bill would have wanted.”

A strong wind from the north made the outbound journey somewhat challenging for the cyclists, but they were able to catch their breath on the cruise back. Several Qatar Traffic Police – in Land Cruisers and on motorcycles – kept a tight patrol on the cyclists and the streets. They blocked off roundabouts as cyclists approached and ensured every rider was a safe distance away from speeding vehicles. After the ride concluded, riders, volunteers and several members of the Carnegie Mellon Qatar community enjoyed a relaxing BBQ lunch at the golf course.

Not only was the Bill Brown Ride a way to honor of our friend Bill, it was also an opportunity to raise money for the Bill Brown Scholarship Fund. “This was a great combination of fun, friendship and good exercise for a good cause,” says Chuck Thorpe, Ph.D., Dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar. “Bill’s favorite bicycle ride was the MS 150, which is a ride to raise money for charity. The fact that we can remember him and at the same time raise money for scholarships is exactly the kind of thing he spent his own life doing. The ride was the type of event Bill would have loved.”

Donations are still being accepted, but as of now the total money raised has exceeded QR 14000 or approximately $3,835. Anyone still wishing to make a donation may contact Andy Zrimsek at azrimsek@qatar.cmu.edu.