In search of cycling activities to partake in this summer, I happened upon the sport of cycling polo or bike polo. At first thought, you must wonder if bike polo is really such a thing. Or perhaps you are intimately familiar with the sport finding it amusing that everyone else is just learning about it. I mean, where have we been?
Of course, we’ve all heard of the Equestrian sport of polo. Even if only from the movie, Pretty Woman. Who has not seen Pretty Woman a gazillion times as Julia Robert stomps the divots while on her date with the ever-so debonair, Richard Gere? More than likely, we all also have heard of water polo. While many of us played it during our summer time fun at the pool (or is that marco polo?), it is also an Olympic sport. Bike polo takes on a similar form except for the mere fact you are on a bike. Not just any bike, but a bike modified specifically to play the sport of bike polo.
Where is Bike Polo Most Popular?
Seemingly so, bike polo is most common in certain areas of Europe. Here is a little history according to the League of Bike Polo:
Bike polo has been ‘invented’ dozens of times. Whenever and wherever bikes have been popular, cyclists have picked up mallets of one kind or another, and hit balls while riding. The first bike polo on record was in the 1890s in Ireland, on a traditional polo field. The sport soon spread to North America and was played in leagues in along the Atlantic seaboard. But with the First World War and the rise of the automobile, cycling culture waned and bike polo along with it. Since then, we have seen several resurgences of bike polo played on grass in North America, Europe, and South Asia. ~Hardcourt Bike Polo
However, bike polo was sort of resurrected in the early 1990s by a few New York bike messengers taking the sport from the grass to the court:
In the late 1990s, a group of bike messengers in Seattle started messing around with a ball and some homemade mallets, and a new incarnation of bike polo was born. Played on roofs, parking lots and tennis courts, this incarnation spread slowly through the bike messenger scene, picking up steam with the explosion in popularity of fixed gears and single speeds. It was christened with the name “hardcourt bike polo” in 2007. Eventually the sport eclipsed the bike messenger alleycat circuit, and it is now played in 400+ cities in over 50 countries, with hundreds of tournaments being held every year. ~Hardcourt Bike Polo
For now, I will stick regular ole cycling, but this may be a fun activity for some of you to try out. If you do decide to test it out (or you have already), please share with us your experience. I am curious to know where you played and did you like it? Did you play here in the U.S. or some place else? Did you play on a polo field or a hard court?
I would imagine since you have to control the bike that bike polo may require a little more coordination than equestrian polo. A horse is a massive creature, but typically horses can handle commands. A bike is a simple machine. There are no commands to give. Hence you have to manage your bike fully as well as your mallet. I’ve ridden horses before and it requires skill. Not to mention the horse is considerably higher than a bicycle. Maybe it not possible to compare the two. If you have participated in one or more various polo sports – water, equestrian or bike, give us the skinny on the similarities and differences. Inquiry minds want to know.
Hardcourt Bike Polo
League of Bike Polo