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January 09, 2005

Bicycle Polo: Proof that cyclists are daft

This was just too fascinating not to share.

Did you know?

In August of 2004, the 7th World Bicycle Polo Championship tournament was hosted by a Jericho-based bicycle polo club, with expert teams coming from Pakistan , India , France , and California .

I didn't either. :-)

You can stop scratching your head, now, because the Cycling Dude is here to enlighten you.

This story is about a bunch of knuckle-headed Canadians who have taken a shine to this mad idea of a game.

A highly sophisticated, cruelty-free and affordable alternative to a historically snooty game is gaining turf in Vancouver ’s Eastside. And while it may look silly, impossible, or even dangerous to the occasional passers-by, this poor-man’s polo is an up-and-coming trendy team sport.

Played three or four players per side, cyclists – or rather members of Vancouver ’s cycling community and repair centres – mount their steeds and proceed to whack a street-hockey ball across the field and between one of two hastily-constructed upright goal posts. The mallets are homemade, constructed from either sawed-off golf clubs or ski poles with hard-plastic tubing or cutting-board cut-outs pinned and duct-taped to the ends. Sometimes frustrating, always challenging, often fun, players finished two games to ten points before they wrapped up another Sunday on the pitch.

Is it any wonder some cities consider banning people from playing games on Parks and Recreation sites due to concerns over insurance coverage?

However, Polo has been around for millenia, in one form or another, and it was only a matter of time that some adventuresome souls tried to play it from the seats of bicycles.

Much to my suprise it seems Bicycle Polo has been around for over 100 yrs.

It's taken nearly that long for it to begin to catch on in North America. :-)

The following reasurances about what appears to be a scary sport, but is actually one that takes great co-ordination, and balancing skills, had me laughing:

Thankfully, bicycle polo seems to be relatively safe for rider and steed, especially when played on a grass or ‘forgiving’ gravel field. Although riders are, in some circles, allowed to throw their mallets towards the goals to block a score, actual human-equipment collisions are fairly rare – or at least rarely serious. However, it is forbidden to “T-bone” or cut-off another player in a dangerous manner, and though you can use you body to block and shove another player, you may not use your hands to interfere, say by grabbing another player’s handle-bars.

As for the steed, you can easily argue the economic and human advantages of velocipede-versus-equine polo. One website on the matter summed it up quite nicely: Bicycles eat a lot less than horses, are easier to clean up after, and, if you break a spoke, you don’t have to shoot your bike.

As the writer of this piece says: What next? Segueway polo?

The full, fascinating, article:

SEVEN OAKS: A magazine of politics, culture, and resistance -- Polo for the (cycling) masses by ( 12/14/04).

January 9, 2005 in Cycling News Network | Permalink

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