May 23, 2011
Lees-McRae College introduces inaugural Bicycle Studies Program to key Advisory Council members

Al Budris, President of Sidi America, and Shane Cooper, President and Founder of DeFeet International, paid their first official visit to Lees-McRae College earlier this month, as members of the College's newly formed Bicycle Advisory Council. The industry veterans were treated to a warm welcome, a campus tour, and challenging rides in the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The reason for the visit? To experience first-hand Lees-McRae's Bicycling Studies Minor program, the first of its kind in the Nation.

Spearheaded by Lees-McRae President Dr. Barry Buxton, this ground-breaking program covers areas of study in exercise physiology and biomechanics, marketing and communications, the economics of sports, nutrition and athletic performance, product development, event management, cycling infrastructure and transportation design.

"I was impressed by the dedication and passion of all involved with the college," remarked Al Budris. "Everybody is so focused on the opportunities for Lees-McRae's future that I am invigorated and even more excited to be involved with their cutting-edge minor program in bicycle business studies."

Shane Cooper added, "We are excited to be a part of this fantastic program at Lees-McRae. I know it will cultivate new cycling minds and seed them into our market. I challenge our industry to embrace this entrepreneurial spirit that Dr. Buxton and Lees-McRae are initiating. This institution, its faculty and students understand that bicycling is a big business, and they will be leading the way to an innovative, brighter future."

As the highest campus in the eastern U.S., liberal arts college Lees-McRae sits 3739 feet above sea level. Its Division I cycling team, the Bobcats, have won 10 National titles since its inception in 2001. The campus facilities include national championship mountain bike and dual slalom courses and "The Hub", a 2500 square foot facility dedicated to the needs of their cycling teams, including a hall of fame, offices, bicycle maintenance and repair stations, bicycle storage, and locker room facilities. For more information on Lees-McRae College and the cycling team, contact or visit

Sidi America, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of the 51 year old Italian company, Sidi Sport, Srl, manufacturer of the pre-eminent cycling shoe brand in the world. The company's products can be viewed at For more information, contact or 831.883.4800.

Defeet International is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Founded over 20 years ago with the goal of finding new knitting solutions for cyclists in order to enhance greater performance, DeFeet has expanded its founding spirit and design prowess into running, golf and multi-sport. Spirit, strength and craftsmanship-These elements exist at DeFeet to create the best performing products of their kind. It's why DeFeet is "Made for Driven Soles." To see DeFeet's products, please visit, call 800.688.3067 or email to

Photo: Pictured from left are Barry Buxton, Lees-McRae College President; Doug Owen, Chair of the Advisory Council; Al Budris, President-Sidi America; Shane Cooper, President/Founder-DeFeet Intl.; and Lees-McRae Athletic Director, Craig McPhail on the Blue Ridge Parkway with the Linn Cove Viaduct in the distance.

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Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
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