What is Bike Polo?
Bike polo is an urban sport which is similar to traditional polo, except that bikes have been swapped for a horse. Two teams of three players ride a bike on a smooth court slightly larger than a basketball court and attempt to hit a ball through a goal with a mallet. The game is fast, fun and perfect for those keen on bikes or competing without the daggy lycra and energy bars. The game is typically fast, exciting and full of interesting bike handling skills guaranteed to impress.
Simple and fun, bike polo also has a large social part which also attracts a wide array of bike enthusiasts. Not just for your typical ‘competitive sporty types’, bike polo attracts young kids, retired bike builders, timid commuters building skills and general bike enthusiasts in which tattoos, beer and vegan snacks are generally in abundance.
Where did bike polo start?
Grass bike polo begun in Ireland over a hundred years ago as a way to practice horse polo and with a more accessible cost. It was an exhibition sport at the 1908 London Olympics.
We play Hardcourt Bike Polo, which is a modern version specifically for the urban environment. It was invented in 1998 in Seattle during the dotcom boom. Bike messengers at an internet company started playing during downtime. It quickly spread to Portland and other east coast areas then across to the west coast and Europe by 2003. At our last count, it has risen to over 300 cities around the world.
How long has bike polo been played in Sydney?
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have been playing for about 6 years. It was first played in Sydney at the 2006 Australian Cycle Messenger Championships. Bike Polo has spread across Australia and New Zealand rapidly in the last 4 years (roughly 14 cities).
How does Sydney rate compared to the rest of Australia?
We play twice a week in Sydney and it is usually just a relaxed social event. Drinks and talking ‘bikes’ would definitely be the mainstay of our sessions, although occasionally we still like to get on the court and play.
At this year’s National Championships in Perth, we placed two teams in the top 4, which qualifies them for the World Championships later this year in Geneva, Switzerland. There will be 48 teams competing, 16 from America/Canada, 16 from Europe and 16 being a mix from around the world including Japan, Thailand, South America and Mexico.