Archive for February, 2010
Personal Best: Bike polo a great combo for Winter
By: David Liepman
Special to The Examiner
February 21, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — Raised in the Midwest, Joel Winter’s athletic outlets as a kid were playing hockey on frozen ponds in the winter and riding his bike the rest of the year.
A San Francisco resident since 2004, Winter recalls spotting a blurb on bike polo in a 2005 San Francisco Bicycle Coalition newsletter. Combining his two favorite childhood outdoor pursuits, it was a no-brainer for Winter to give bike polo a whirl.
“At the very worst, I’ll get in a good bike ride,” he surmised. “I jumped in and started playing, and it’s been a habit since day one.”
His first two years of bike polo, Winter played on grass, highlighted by a tournament in Dublin, Ireland in 2007.
Since Dublin, though, it’s been all about bike polo on pavement. A tournament in May of 2007 on the Golden Gate Park Panhandle, the North American Cycle Courier Championship, was Winter’s first taste of the hard-court game.
“The sport has skyrocketed in the past three years around the world,” the 38-year old resident of The City’s Castro district said. “It’s been a time of really strong growth for hard-court bike polo.”
When Winter isn’t playing with a group of 20 dedicated players at Jose Coronado Playground in the Mission district, he may be in his garage constructing polo mallets from ski poles and pieces of plastic pipe. Or, he may be meeting with San Francisco Rec and Park in an effort to identify more multiuse courts in San Francisco.
With only three players per side, all players must play offense, defense and protect the goal.
“I’m good at passing,” the 5-foot-11, 210-pound pedaler said. “Shooting and goaltending I have to improve on. People will hit that ball right through you.”
Winter and his mates have faired well in his last three tournaments, placing third in an Oakland tourney last summer. At last year’s North American Championships in Seattle, Winter’s team finished in the top 16 in a field of 48. He was also proud to finish in the top 12 of 36 teams at the Los Angeles “Polo Picnic” in January.
A true cycling enthusiast, Winter and girlfriend Cecilia Broadaway tool around town on their tandem bike.
“It’s been discussed,” Winter said about an inquiry on his interest to attempt tandem bike polo. “We know two bike polo players who have tandems and girlfriends, and we’ve talked about it.”
San Franisco Bike Polo
Where: Jose Coronado Playground, 21st Street between Shotwell and Folsom streets
When: 7 p.m., Monday and Thursday nights; tournaments on the weekends
Equipment: A bike, preferably of the mountain variety, helmet, gloves and pads
Summer tourneys: July, North American Championships in Madison, Wisc.; August, World Championships in Berlin
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: sfexaminer.com
Follow the link to what you need to know if you’re playing in the Bench Minor
I’m going to have a slide show of 100+ photos from my NY to LA ride this past summer on display at Bike Shorts this weekend. I’m not sure if Ken is going to play it before or after the short films but it’s always a good idea to show up early and get a good seat. From what I hear this installment is to be a good one.
Previously: Bike Shorts 10 …or 11, I’m not sure anymore
As this blog approaches its two year mark I wonder if the future will look anything like the past.
I love bike polo. It’s as easy as riding a bike and it’s as stressing as doing eight things at once, while riding a bike. I always wanted other people to play bike polo with. And in some way I thought if I could show others what this sport is, what it looks like, how it’s played, and how many others that love it too, then I might never be at a loss to share a game with new, or old, friends. My history of using the internet to promote bike polo goes back further than when hardcourtbikepolo.com started in February of 2008. There were a few places I used going back to 2006 but the idea of my own blog seemed to be the best way to meet my goals. I wanted to be found easily, have the basic info available, like rules and how to build a mallet. Also to keep track of the variety of aspects close to bike polo such as news, events, products, and videos. And last but not least to show my photos. I like the way bike polo comes across in photography. I’m not a good writer in fact I’m terrible but when it comes to conveying ideas, I think the images of riders leaning on each other just to hit a little red ball, or the crossing of mallets so close to spinning wheels, arms stretched, teeth showing, or the shots of a small corner of the court with all six riders packed in and none are frozen in a parallel line to any other but all eyes are fixed on that little red ball. That ball is like a fox on a rail for us, for 10 minutes nothing means more. I love to even just watch bike polo.
As this sport has taken off in the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, too much, just to keep up with all the growth and to do what I can to keep others up to date about it’s growth. I guess it’s been good. I have never said no to an interview or held my breath too long when I thought some shit needed to be said. I guess maybe I think I’ve tried to encourage others to try bike polo if they feel like it. But now I feel discouraged to be that person. I don’t feel discouraged to play, just to do the other things I’ve done besides play. Because this site that has my name on it, the biggest thing that I wanted to do is to add original content, I never liked all the blogs that do nothing but repost some content from some other site over and over again. If I don’t have original content I don’t have a reason to do this. Since most of the time I only write a little and try to post my best photos I consider my photography the base of my content. But, and this is the reason for all of this, I don’t feel like posting my photography of bike polo anymore. For two reasons. One, I don’t get the response I’d like to get. Because I can feel satisfied with a good photo wither it’s posted or not, the posting is really just a waste of my time. Sometimes it’s like I post them and then they sit there silent, almost like the energy is gone. The other reason is when I do post a photo someone will quietly swipe it if it’s of them or if it suits their need then chop it up, crop it to their liking and not tell me it’s being used or give credit.
There are other reasons too, a few, but there isn’t much reason to go over them here beyond saying that I’ll be working on other projects. At best I’m just going to take a break from this for a while, it is February after all. I have not posted anything original in a month so there has been nothing on here that can’t be found somewhere else. And like I said. I’m not a fan of sites that just repost shit from other sites. That being said there might be some reposting going on here because I’ll usually repost suggested topics upon request.
At worst this site will be static for however long.
This site will stay up at least two more years, I just renewed the URL. Maybe I renewed it for 5 years, I forget now.
That being said here are some of the links I look at when I want to see what’s going on in the poloverse.
As we all know there is League of Bike Polo but here are some (a lot of) other blogs…
You may need to hit little box in the upper right to expand the screen.
Previously: Announcing the DRAFT for Bench Minor Tournament
Just a quick look at the weather site before I go to bed.
Wednesday is the day of the week I do doubles as a food delivery guy. Working 11am til midnight. yeah.
There’s a little hope there at 7pm.
Highlights from the 7th Midwest Bike Polo Champeenships, held in Columbia MO, November 7-8, 2009. Chicago’s ‘Machine Politics’ took home the Jenny Cup. Runners Up were Milwaukee’s ‘Beaver Boys’ & ‘Hot Sauce Enema’ followed by 4th place Madison.