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This issue of Loop has The Grime riders on the cover but bike polo players all over the inside. Not pictured here but Riki from Japan has a full page for his Joust polo bike. Then two more full pages of Tokyo Hardcourt Bike Polo. The NYC Bench Minor bike polo tournament gets 5 full pages with a group shot followed by 14 rider shots all of out of towners. Lee, Sean McDonell, Hugo, Ben Hunter, Brian Dillman, John Atwell, Sam Jackson, Matt Lane, Johnny Crash, Tucker Schwinn, Pierre, Clement, Ben Schultz and Kremin.
More info: Loop Magazine
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Bike polo and New York is all over this European fixed gear bike mag! NYC bike polo from the visitors point of view. Half page photos of Zach and I.
Then the Fixed vs. Freewheel opinions from me, Guthrie, Kev, Matt V, Paul, and Yorgo. The last three vote fixed.
And what is likely the last interview with the Los Marcos hooligans. I have it on good authority that all of Los Marcos Polos sailed back to the island Los Marcostan on a raft just after their last tournament. Apparently they learned nothing from Rapa Nui and between all the diseases they brought back from the Lower East Side and over exploiting their resources to build bigger and bigger statues of themselves… well, they’re extinct now.
Viva Los Marcos! RIP
More info: Fixe Magazine
This image has been a t-shirt, a tournament flier, a club logo, and now a dumb little sticker like a tourist would buy at the Outer Banks. Ha! I’m just glad it’s not my photo that ranks high in a Google search of bike polo. It’s just a picture of me that keeps getting swiped.
Love bike polo? Show how much you love to mash it up with this cool sticker.
Want one? Just $4.00 each
More info: cafepress.com
Bike Polo Feature Story
April 18, 2010
By STEPHEN REGENOLD
Here is a good one, follow the link to see a good selection of photos.
A ball bounces, tires skid, and a polo match is set in motion. It is 4pm, a Wednesday in late March at McRae Park in Minneapolis. Sven Mattson, 30, is pedaling with his head down, tires tearing asphalt on a hockey rink that’s just shed its ice.
“Go, go, go!” Mattson shouts, his face obscured in the metal cage of a lacrosse helmet. Six riders crank to midcourt, mallets extended in a mad dash for an orange ball.
Bike polo is a burgeoning trend in the urban cycling scene. Mallets, modified bikes, street-hockey balls, and goal nets create a formula for a high-action sport where bike riding and ball handling take equal stock.
The sport, a feat of physical coordination, requires aptitude in steering, braking, passing, pedaling, blocking, and balancing as a little ball flings around a court. You can’t put your feet down. Hockey-inspired shoves and body checks are allowed in some play.
“It took me a while to trust that I wouldn’t get seriously injured,” said Bjorn Christianson, 35, a web developer in Minneapolis. Christianson has played polo since 2007. He now runs Mplsbikepolo.com, a website with news and a schedule for a local league.
Last month, I joined Christianson and a group of polo players for a night of pickup play. We were culled via Twitter — “McRae Park is a go! 4pm until dark’clock.” — and @mplsbikepolo, an account followed by some 600 people looking to stay updated on ad hoc games.
Hardcourt bike polo — not to be confused with its cousin sport, traditional bicycle polo, which is played on grass — has the vibe of a gritty new urban fad. But the sport’s history stretches back decades, according to Doug Dalrymple, a champion bike-polo player from Brooklyn, N.Y., who runs Hardcourtbikepolo.com. “It’s long been a poor man’s version of horse polo,” he said.
Bike polo has roots in the 1800s and was featured as an exhibition sport at the 1908 Olympic Games. Dalrymple, who has competed around North America, said the latest wave of hardcourt polo caught on about a decade ago.
Since then, scenes have emerged in Seattle, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and towns around the world. There are annual tournaments, including the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships this year July 16 to 18 in Madison, Wis.
At McRae Park last month, the Twitter alert brought out about 20 bikers by 5pm. There were first-timers like me as well as serious “poloists” with customized bikes for the sport, including wheel covers, a single gear, chopped handlebars, and one brake.
Christianson explained the basics of play: You ride with one hand. Your mallet — a DIY club with a ski-pole shaft — swings free at your side. To score, push and pass the ball down-court and thwap it into the net.
The rules are easy. The play is hard. Bikes swirl on the pavement. Collisions are common. Touch a foot to the ground and you’re out of play until you tag a center point.
I jumped in for a try after observing several games. “Three, two, one, polo!” someone shouted, and a new game began.
The rush was on. Six mallet-wielding poloists pedaled midcourt toward a stationary ball. I swooped to the side, watching for a chance to reach and swing.
Play was five minutes or five points, whichever came first. My team, two men and a woman, pedaled the length of the court dozens of times. We chased runaway balls. We balanced at the goal when the opposition got close, a sideways bike a formidable block to the offense.
“Pass it!” players yelled. “Shoot!” I rode in circles. I occasionally touched the ball.
But then, at one point, I was alone and balanced with the ball. I rolled an inch and repositioned. A rider was coming fast from the other team. I lined up and shot, the ball bouncing away.
The orange sphere skipped toward an unguarded net. The opposition reached, mallets extended, but not close enough. My lucky ball bounced in, a point on the board. Cheers. A high-five. A moment of elation. And then the game rolled on.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.
Hard-court bike polo grows in popularity
By Alexandra DiPalma
April 12, 2010
Here is a new story about hardcourt bike polo, The Pit, and polo players in NYC. Ram Man and myself are included in the audio segment. Also follow the link to see photos.
Each Sunday in Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side, six athletes ride small bicycles, racing back and forth over a blacktop surface about the size of a tennis court. They are divided into teams, and most wear helmets, padding and hockey gloves. Each player wields a mallet, attempting to hit a small plastic ball into a goal while biking without crashing, falling or putting a foot to the ground.
They are playing hard-court bike polo, a variation on traditional horse polo. And while the sport is usually associated with high society and royalty, bike polo matches in Manhattan’s Lower East Side draw a more diverse following.
According to Doug Dalrymple, the unofficial promoter of New York City bike polo, interest in the sport has steadily increased in recent years. But despite its growing popularity, many New Yorkers still know little about hard-court bike polo.
“If I had to describe the game to someone who knew nothing about it, I’d say that it’s something like horse polo, with the feel of street hockey,” Dalrymple said. “On bikes.”
Dalrymple has been playing for more than five years. Now, he helps to organize league play and is responsible for running the club Web site.
“We have about 40 people who play regularly,” said Dalrymple. “But it’s not like we’re a legit club — you don’t have to pay to play with us; you don’t have to be a member. All you have to do is show up.”
The community’s loose attitude makes the sport accessible to newcomers, and the nature of the game attracts young players who cannot necessarily afford a horse. Players ride on souped-up bicycles and use homemade mallets. Rather than a 300-yard grass field at an exclusive polo club, hard-court bike polo is played on parking lots or basketball courts.
In New York, enthusiasts gather at an asphalt court called The Pit, between Chrystie and Grand streets. Large crowds come out every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday to watch pick-up games played by bike polo veterans and rookies alike.
The Pit has been the location of several high-profile bike polo tournaments and is a well-known venue throughout the national bike-polo community. Just last week, a two-day tournament at The Pit drew bike polo teams from France, England, Germany, Switzerland, and all over the U.S. and Canada.
While the game might sound like some new-fangled extreme sport invented by urban youth, there is a great deal of history behind it.
“A lot of people think it’s a new thing, but bike polo has been around almost has long as bikes,” Dalrymple said. “It probably looked a lot different than this, considering bikes had just been invented, but the idea is still the same.”
First played in Ireland in 1891, traditional bicycle polo was played on a rectangular grass field and was included as a demonstration sport in the 1908 London Olympics.
Hard-court bike polo is different from the original game in that the rules are less formal and can be played in a wider variety of spaces, making it popular in urban environments where large grass fields don’t exist.
Most of the New York regular bike-polo players are men in their 20s and 30s, but there are a few die-hard players who are exceptions.
“We have college students and young people, but we’ve also got a few women, and our most senior player, Frank.” Dalrymple said. “I’m not sure anyone really knows how old he is.”
Frank Marcus, a middle-aged man who jokingly claims to be 25 years old, comes from his home in Long Island to practice each week. Like Dalrymple, he’s been playing for about five years and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“I just like to come out and enjoy the game,” Marcus said. “But sometimes I get in trouble for it. I got a few drinking tickets from the cops for having beer during the games.”
Marcus’ teammates tease him about the incident, and one of them caught the exchange on video and posted it to YouTube. Now Marcus is well known throughout the bike polo community for his run-ins with police.
“At the tournament last week, guys kept coming up to me and saying ‘You’re that guy who got the drinking ticket! You’re famous!’ ” Marcus said. “I still haven’t seen the video.”
Marcus and many of the other regular players have been dedicated to the game for several years, and they have the scars to show for it.
Phil “Ram Man” Miarmi, 34, moved to New York in 2007 and first saw a bike polo match at The Pit within his first few days in the city. He immediately was hooked.
“I started playing right away,” Miarmi said, unzipping his jacket to reveal a custom-made T-shirt with “Ram Man” emblazoned across the front. “And it’s been painful ever since.”
Miarmi is notorious for his countless injuries, and his tendency to cause them on the court.
“The first time I was out there, I just remember smashing into everyone, going full speed into the wall and pieces of my bike flying in the air,” he recalled. “I just don’t care.”
He has marks from several injuries, including cuts, scrapes, blackened nails and even a bruise that he had to “drill a hole in to get the blood out.”
Miarmi is not the only one with battle scars. Ethan Benton, 33, from Brooklyn, has been on hiatus since his shoulder injury.
“I fell off my bike, then my arm fell out of the socket, then I moved my arm and nothing went back the way it was supposed to,” Benton said. “So I’ve been taking a little break.”
Even the newcomers seem immune to the roughness of the game. Sara Wojcik, originally from New York, started playing bike polo in Poland a few months ago while she was living abroad. Wojcik and a few friends started a club in Warsaw when her mother agreed to sponsor them, providing mallet head material and balls.
“I came back to New York for a vacation, then I intentionally missed my flight back to Poland and went to my first polo tournament in Richmond, Virginia,” Wojcik said. “It was totally worth it, but it was very, very ‘bro.’ ”
Wojcik doesn’t mind being one of the only women in the scene. In New York, she has helped to organize a women’s bike polo night, or as they refer to it, “no bro polo.” Since skipping her flight back to Poland, Wojcik has had a lot of time to focus on the game.
“I’m still unemployed at the moment, so polo kind of rules my life,” Wojcik said, while bandaging her knuckles to cover a fresh cut. “It’s awesome and awful at the same time.”
On the new Blogspot site for Nashville’s polo club there is a selection of club logos they are trying to decide on. http://nashvillebikepolo.blogspot.com/2010/04/vote-on-nashville-bike-polo-logo.html They may have already made their decision because the best one is in the header as I write this but if you look you may notice that examples 3, 4 and 5 are of yours truly.
Ed has been shooting bike related events in NYC for years. Here is his new promo card, it’s got a shot of me playing bike polo in The Pit, kind of like that. And that reminds me, photos are worth money. If a mag or paper asks you for a picture they want to print, and they sell ad space, ask about the rates. Meaning the pay rate to publish your work. Because when you give away your photos, people like Ed have a hard time making a living at being a photographer. And you miss out on your payday.
More info: tedwardglazarphotography.com
Earlier this year in Milwaukee there was a bike polo tournament. Peter DiAntoni (peterdiantoni.com) of COG Magazine was there taking team portraits. I was also there as a player but in between games I of course was taking photos as well. A few of them were even used in the 8 page story COG Polo Invite by Captain Jake Newborn (of Hero Squad fame). Jake also wrote a review of the Eight Inch Scrambler frame and fork, his old polo bike before getting sponsored by Milwaukee Bicycle Co. And Joe Burge, another member of Hero Squad and sponsored Milwaukee polo player, also wrote a review of a goofy little bike he used to play polo on. haha.
COG Magazine is full of beautiful photos and covers the spectrum. Seattle to Boston. Milwaukee to Taipei. Nagasawa to Lucas Brunelle.