Bike polo: Jacksonville team adapts a lofty game, takes it to the streets
July 31, 2010
By BRIAN AKEL
Polo, a game once reserved for royalty and gentlemen of fortune, has now found its way into common culture, with an uncommon twist.
At least once a week, the members of the Jacksonville Bike Polo league mount their bicycles to play an urbanized version of polo.
The game consists of six players, three on three, each with a mallet similar to the ones used to play croquet, a plastic street hockey ball, a bike and a competitive sense of fun. Goals are set up at two ends of a parking lot, and the first team to score five goals is the winner.
Thomas Williams, one of the league founders, said it’s all pretty informal. About 10 or 15 people usually show up to play, and league members sometimes travel to tournaments.
“Last year’s tournament in Fort Lauderdale consisted of approximately 20 teams, and we played on pre-made hockey rinks,” Williams said. “Our current group has been together for almost a year and a half, but people come and go, and all are welcome. All you need is a bike and we’ll provide the rest,”
Local games are held at a parking lot adjacent to Zombie Bikes co-op at First and Main streets in Springfield.
The competitive, fast-paced, yet friendly nature of the sport has attracted a range of participants. “Anyone who likes competition and camaraderie is welcome,” said Venus James, a nurse at Shands Jacksonville and a bike polo player.
“People from all ages and walks of life come. Boys, girls, married couples, bicycle enthusiasts and serious players all participate in shoulder-checking and trash talking on the court, but are all friends after the game,” she said.
“It’s cheap to play and growing in popularity. It’s loosely organized, and we try to fit around everyone’s schedule.”
Short and sweet. Be sure to follow the link to see photos and video.
This is a real bummer, I read this over at communitymallets.blogspot.com
This past weekend was the All Florida Bike Polo Championship held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Bike polo players from all over Florida came to have fun, eat food, and play their friends. The Ft. Lauderdale community was complimented hundreds of times over the weekend for having such amazing courts, and beautiful park to play in. The weekend went smoothly with no injuries, no drinking, and no trash whatsoever at the park.
On Tuesday evening, we showed up to Holiday Park only to find that the lights were turned off, and our cones were in the middle of the court. Asking the park ranger why the lights weren’t on, his response was “because you’re not playing anymore.”
The FTL bike polo players have been playing at Holiday continuously, 2-3 times a week, for over a year now. We’ve had no complaints other than “open containers” but it is never the bike polo players, only spectators on bicycles. The bike polo players brought this unused court back to life, and now it’s been taken away.
The city has never complained about bike polo in general. Their reason now is “as of November 10th, 2009, it is $20 per hour for the permit for the court, and another $40 per hour for lights.” A total of $60 per hour to use, otherwise unused, roller hockey courts. The All Florida tournament was held on December 5th and 6th, just about a month after the permits came into act.
If you have any references, stories, or legal help for us, please write to me! FTL will not go down without a fight!
Help save our courts!
Saturday, May 23, 2009 – Monday, May 25, 2009
Here is a brief run down of the weekend’s itinerary…
Saturday May 23rd
- Super Smash Up Alley Cart 5$
- Sign Up at Holiday Park Street Polo Rinks 3pm Race Begins at 4PM SHARP.
730 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Show at night @ Radioactive Records @ 8 PM
1930 E Sunrise Blvd # B
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
- Games and tricks
- Full contact/Regular/Doubles footdown comp!
- Quick and Dead Sprints
Sunday May 24th
- Polo Tournement Sign Up at 11AM Begins at 12:30pm Sharp. 30$ per team
-Meet at Holiday Park
730 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Monday (Memorial Day) May 25th
- Velodrome Memorial Day Kickback BBQ 12 Noon
(Helmet, track bike, no brakes required) if you don’t have any of that, it can be rented from the velodrome)
Atlantic bikes with be donating a frame and wheel set for prizes, The
skirts are also on board with helping and donating some hand sewn
goodies, Burro bags has also jumped on board with a couple messenger
bags and accessories. If you havn’t heard of them, get with it. Chicken
Death cat is donating some u-lock holsters and things of that nature.
Alley cat willl be a Mario cart themed alley cat Entitled ” Super Smash
Up Alley Cart “, so start gettin your costumes ready =P you will have
an advantage if you come dressed for the occassion!
730 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
Pensacola Beachcat Two & Bike Polo Spring Break
Alleycat, bike polo friendlies, side-events
February 10th – 15th, 2009
Winners: “Seattle” Leon, Amanda, Seabass (Seattle)
2nd: “Mallets of Mayham aka le swaphelurs” Brian, Alexis, Angelo (Ottawa)
3rd: “Bike Polo Spring Break” Javier, Gus, Kremin (Boston/Milwaukee)