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Blogathon 2009 – Unintended Uses: Bike Polo (!) (?) at Sunset Beach

Blogathon 2009 Vancouver for Vancouver Public Space NetworkThis blog post is part of Blogathon 2009, in which I am blogging for 24 hours straight in order to raise money for the Vancouver Public Space Network, an entirely volunteer-run organization who do advocacy and education on the public realm in my home of Vancouver, British Columbia. Please consider supporting by sponsoring me with a pledge, leaving a comment or contacting me to contribute a guest post.

Yesterday evening, Richard and I were out for a bike ride along Vancouver’s seawall around Sunset Beach passing by the lifeguard tower and washrooms…when I nearly did a double-take on my bike. I pointed it out to Richard, and we stopped to gawk for a few minutes…

Bike polo players at Sunset Beach

We’d heard rumours, but never actually seen people playing bike polo. Bike polo!

bike polo?

Cycle polo or bike polo is similar to traditional Polo, except that bicycles are used instead of horses. The sport originated in Ireland and was formally invented by Richard J. Mecredy in 1891. The game has seen a sharp spike in interest as of 2007 and new teams are sprouting up across the world. […]

Cycle polo was officially recognized by the International Cycling Union in 2001.

In recent years, an alternate form of the game known as “Hardcourt Bike Polo” or “Urban Bike Polo” has grown in popularity. In this less formal variation, teams composed of three to five players compete on tennis courts, street hockey rinks, or whatever other surfaces are available. The rules (which vary by city) are also adapted to reflect the urban environments.

As Richard tweeted, bike polo looks more to be a game of balance than a game of speed – the players we saw were moving skillfully but not too fast, and the balance involved seems to involve simultaneous steering and wielding of the mallet. I noted that the way of designating teams seems to be in the presence of cards stuck in the wheel spokes.

Along with Parkour, I love it when people play with the space to do what’s never been done before. I’ll likely never have the balance for this, but it’s lots of fun to watch!


  1. Goran

    Ha ha ha.. cool idea! :)

    Posted July 25, 2009 at 7:35 am | Permalink
  2. Noah

    Polo also happens pretty regularly in Grandview park. There’s a pretty competitive scene here in the pacific north-west with regular tournaments here, in Portland and in Seattle.

    http://bikepolo.ca/ functions as a portal to the worldwide hard court bike polo community.

    Posted July 25, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  3. Thanks for the additional link and infos. I love learning about new niche sports, they turn up in the most unexpected moments. Richard’s dalliance with floorball reminds me of that a bit too, it being a sport that’s mostly big in Europe.

    Perhaps we can find a way to combine Richard’s love of mapping and baseball…

    Posted July 25, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

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