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Friday Bike Polo

October 22nd, 2010

Fridays are the best!!  There is the entire weekend to look forward to and if you live near Cortez, CO you can join in the weekly bike polo match!

Bike polo in its simplest form is two teams of four people competing head to head with the objective of scoring more goals than the opponent. Goals are scored by hitting the polo ball into the net using a polo mallet while riding a bicycle. A standard bike polo field is 100 yards long by 60 yards wide but any open area will suffice. A playing field of grass is recommended but not required. Our games take place in a wide open asphalt parking lot which makes for a much faster (and much more dangerous) game. Evidently there are some rules to the game which can be found at the U.S. Bicycle Polo Association website. However, our games are simple with only 2 primary rules; you have to hold the mallet with your right hand and if your foot touches the ground you are “out of play” until you ride one complete 360 degree circle.

If horse polo is considered to be a sport for the wealthy or elite, bike polo is its alter ego.  There are no requirements for specialized or expensive equipment. Instead bike polo gives participants a chance to be creative and reuse old or discarded materials. Show up to one of our polo matches and you will see bikes ranging from cheap steel framed single speeds and recovered rust bucket cruisers to converted cyclocross bikes or everyday mountain bikes. If it rolls, it works just fine.  There are options to purchase more expensive pre-made mallets but instead we cleaned out the local thrift stores of discarded ski poles, drilled some holes in PVC pipe and screwed it all together. Total investment = less than a couple of bucks.

The games are so much fun that hours pass by in what seems like minutes. There is almost always some carnage, but so far Southwest Memorial Hospital has not had to get involved. In most cases, players get up, lick their wounds and carry on. Some of the incidents are so hilariously funny that the game has to be temporarily halted to let players recover from laughing so hard.  Kind of hard to explain why watching a player sprinting full speed for a loose ball then grabbing a handful of front brake resulting in the classic over the handlebars flips is funny, but it is (as long as they get up and walk away with no serious injuries).  It only took one game for me to realize that since you are holding the mallet in your right hand, switching the brake cables so that the left lever activates the rear brake is crucial.

The game of bike polo is rapidly growing more popular.  Games are being held in all types of venues across the world. If you don’t already have games going in your area, I highly recommend you join in the fun and get started.  Bike polo is another  awesome way to get outside, have some fun and ride your bike! For more information on getting started check out the Bicycle Polo Association website.

-Jeff Fox Osprey Bike Marketing Manager

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