Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cool videos from 2009

Obviously I spend a lot of time on the internet learning as much as I can about bike polo. While there is nothing "official" about our sport it does lead to all sorts of d.i.y. organization and documentation. See for and for example. Video is my favorite. You can tell so much about a city and their club from watching a video of their pickup or tournament. Just the variation in courts and the surrounding scenery is awesome to see, let alone the different types of bikes and styles of play.

Anyway, here's a bunch of sweet videos I've run across the past few months.

Minneapolis BFF tournament
- great music. also the location of the Midwesterns happening in May 2010.

Brenden's film about London Bike Polo
-great 'what is bike polo' type film, really well done

Pickup at the Pit in NYC

Los Angeles tournament
- long but well done video montage.

Guadalajara pickup
- (their editing is better than their playing ;)

Ben Hunter @ COMO video
- awesome Madison player who tends to fall down a lot

btw, almost all the videos by Mr.Do are worth watching.

Paris BFF tournament

Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia at the NYC in Mad tournament
- full length games are the shit, but usually limited to one person's view. imagine if there was ESPN quality games and highlights from bike polo matches!?!

Northside Bike Polo Invite
- point of view recording set to jazz music.

Kremin, my hero - by Mr.Do
- hilarious. highlights of kremin from the MKE 2v2 set to star wars music, complete with laser noises!

Oxford, England tournament
- 9 minute long german language news coverage of bike polo in the UK. I'm posting this because even though I don't speak German I've watched the entire 9 minutes. Twice.

European Championships in London
- well done overview of the biggest tourney in Europe. won by three guys from Geneva wearing suspenders.

If you actually watched all of these videos, you know you take bike polo way to seriously. Seriously.

Match in Indy on the 1st! I'm glad my first day of the new decade will be spent playing bicycle polo.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Evan, Rinzin, and I built a ton of new boards today. Also in the mix are lacrosse gloves, a new hockey stick, more balls (since we broke two last night), tons of new mallet material, new boards, curved corners and a plethora of other things. Plus we have lots of new people interested and coming to polo. Even though this is our "winter" season we've had more players than ever!

Sadly though, one of our best player is leaving us....
Francis just finished his undergrad and is moving on to bigger and better things. We'll all really miss him, but it's not like he's dead or anything...well...he is moving back to St.Louis, so it's not really much better! Naw, just an excuse to play more polo with our many friends in Missouri!

No polo on the 24th and 26th. But Monday the 28th is a go at the Wright tennis courts, and Thursday the 31st we plan on playing 2-6 at the big court across from the Hospital. January 1st is our date with Indy from 4-7 at the Harrison Center. Very excited 'bout that!

2010 shall be the year of bike polo! Here you me.


- - - - -

New group pic from two weeks ago (roughly?). Lots of great people coming out have been coming out!

^^This is the most recent pic, taken this past Monday night. Just for the record I'd like to point out that we had more players than there were degrees on the thermometer! [ <20 people, >20 degrees ]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pilgrim's Progress

Last thursday it was 19 degrees out and we had 19 people show up! We were so inspired we took a group photo, though clearly my camera is still a piece of shit... Evan's got some good ones though. Then on Saturday (after going to sleep at 5 am) Edwin, Evan, and I got up at 7 am to make the trek to St.Louis for the Missouri friendlies. God damn what a fun day! We're all definitely getting a little better too. Tons of pickup, tons of fun. No pictures cause we were busy playing, but if you haven't gotten to play some out-of-towners yet, your immediate ambition should be to do so...

Thankfully on January 1st we've been invited to play some exhibition pickup with the Indianapolis crew up in their city. Mark the date (like it's hard to remember), but more on that later though.

^This is what my truck looks like almost every night now. We have so much equitment that I can't possibly bike to the courts anymore. We built new boards to replace our stolen ones and brought over our other set of cone-goals (of course we have to take everything with us at the end of the night). Bringing extra bikes too...I even need a golf club bag for all the mallets!

^Rinzin showed up on his new whip. No, he didn't play polo on it, and yes, it is awesome. Not sure if I like the narrow profile on those B43 rims, but that's just my taste. The frame itself is insanely light and if you look at the frame from the right direction the bottom bracket will smile at you! Seriously.

^New jazz in the mail from Danscomp! If you're not familiar with Dan's Competition BMX then check out their site now. They're basically the CaliforniaCheapSkates of BMX biking. Cranks, pedals, brakes, grips, seats... these are all bmx parts that regularly find their way onto polo bikes cause of their strength and durability. I mostly needed a good u-brake, but then found a bunch of other little things I wanted.

^My cat loves anything out of the ordinary. I'm still waiting on another package from BikePartsUSA before I start installing all this jazz. The reason why this stuff got here so fast is simple yet news to me...danscomp is located down near Evansville, Indiana!!! I had no idea they were so close. I talked to one of the guys on the phone and he told me they have a giant showroom with more parts then they actually list! Roadtrip!

^Old man winter is right upon us, and while our court usually looks like this... I wish it looked like this....

Can't remember where I saw this pic, but I think it's in Central or South America somewhere. I'm jealous of both their weather and art. Reminds me of Charybdis from Odysseus' travels. How cool would that be painted at the center of a polo court!!!

^And since the holidays are around the corner, if anyone wants to get me a present make it a set of these :)

....and if you're a really good friend....

...maybe some Mack World Champion Super Lights? Please? Santa maybe?

I guess he's about as real as my chances of owning these. Still, a boy can dream.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ups and Downs

Three quick announcements. (1) is that there is a "full moon" bike ride happening this wednesday. Meet 10pm at the sample gates! Brent (who's played a few times) is organizing this and it should be hella fun. There's a good chance we might end the course at my house and engage in some post-ride intoxication! We'll see. Item #(2) is that on January 1st the guys in Indy will be playing an exhibition game for First Friday (an art gallery/community event, i think). Anyway, we're invited and it's super close, so let's go show them what we're made of! And finally, (3) the St.Louis friendlies are this weekend!!! I'm very excited to see lee and cole and jake and lucky and hopefully a bunch of the como kids show up too! And this time I actually have legitimate mallets to play with.

Alright, ups and and downs.

Up. Polo is still happening three days a week and lots of people are still showing up! Good times had by all.

Down. Someone fucking stole all our boards... probably the IU grounds crew or something, but still, no one steals the fucking basketball hoop when people aren't shooting around...

Up. Tons of new mallets!!! Between the como orange pipe and some local yellow that I, uh, found, we've all stocked up on quality skipole/gaspipe mallets. I even found an old golf bag for $1.50 at the local thrift store! Hella helpful.

Down. Bumps and bruises. like Ryan YellowBike taking a breather here after a wreck. At least the play stopped and you can see his fellow players are offering him a hand... Overall things have been pretty good- a few sprained wrists and sore knees, but no serious injuries whatsoever. People, that is. Bikes are another story... we had another taco'd wheel tonight- Francis' rear got bent not just once but twice. An unintentional t-bone, but still my truck had to ferry his polo bike home.

Up. New bikes, new players! In front you can see my "ross gran tour" that is being slowly converted into a dedicated polo bike. Round behind it is my good friend (and new player) Ryan's freewheel singlespeed that he's been playing on recently. That bike actually used to belong to fellow polocat Evan, though he "payed it forward" once he got his new Leader batmobike. Lots more polo-only bikes showing up.

Up. Kids in Indy seem to be playing polo again!

Down. We drove up to play with them and not enough people showed up, so they left.... 30 minutes before we arrived :(

Up. Indy has tons of space to play.

Down. Not very accommodating surface and sides for polo.

Apparently this is where they play, 11th & Pennsylvania below the highway. It's wide and flat, but not a lot of barriers to stop the ball. With some boards or a freestanding court the location could be a pretty decent location, but in a city the size of Indianapolis I'm sure there are better locations.

Regardless, I have high hopes for Indiana bike polo now that us and indy have finally gotten in contact. This is what I love about polo- not only do you make new friends in every city, but they're new friends who really want to play polo! And this time we won't have to travel so far...

Oh nine is quickly coming to close. I know we probably won't be playing much over the holidays, but once the new year is here it's a whole new ballgame!

As long as that game is bike polo.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friendlies, helmets, and boards

[Everyone from midwestern's before the final match. Click for large.]

First and foremost-- there will be intercity "friendlies" between the St.Louis and COMO crews on DECEMBER 5th, and Edwin, me, and that spectre named Rinzin will be making the trek over for some quality polo with quality peoples. Hopefully a few more Bloomingtonians (that sounds akward) will ride over with us- anyone is welcome to come! Should be good practice before the JANUARY 19th Lock-In in St.Louis. I also hear there might be some polo happening up in Indianapolis again. Hopefully I can find out more about that soon.

Here's something kinda cool. Doug from NYC posted that video I shot of the midwestern final here on his polo blog. If you're not familiar with then you should bookmark that shit right now. His blog is basically north america's primary polo news source, and I believe he's even the one who coined the term "hardcourt" bike polo (to distinguish our sport from its grass polo forefather). Great site that I check daily and to see that video on there was pretty sweet! Check it out if you haven't yet.

And of course don't forget the forums at, which is an equally important website. While you're at it sign up on the Bloomington club page here.

Now on to local stuff. As always lots of new people are showing up and great fun is being had by all. We're also been up-ing the ante as far as equipment goes...

^Shot of my newer mallets. The two golf/conduit ones I broke at midwestern's really opened my eyes to the durability required for "real" polo. Thankfully the ski poles and mallets we brough back from como have worked out beautifully! Again, thank you lucky and nick!

6Rinzin has been collecting random ski poles and we finally got the chance to turn them into some mallets. The hdpe we got from the COMO boys has been working out splendidly! We're actually almost out of it, so if you want a piece to make your own mallet just hit me up at pickup- I usually bring an extra one or two for people who want 'em.

^Two new things have been implemented at pickup- boards and helmets. The boards, though rudimentary, have kept the ball inside the court and allowed games to go on continuously! Very nice. I already have some ideas for much better boards and even a free standing court. Helmets... why the hell have I not been wearing one the whole time? Everyone takes the occasional spill (me more than others) and it's just a safe thing to do. My $20 kid's bmx helmet works fine and I don't even notice I'm wearing it. Best part is everyone's been dusting their helmets off and now at least half the players on the court at any given time are wearing 'em. And 5 out of 6 mallets are now ski poles! Nice.

^Courts have been wet though. The boards are meager but functional; though my friend Ryan plowed into and broke one of these immediately after it the photo was taken. It was kinda funny though, so it's all good.

And if you look closely you can see a ghost in the background. Seriously.

That's about it. See you at pickup!


And just for fun, I'm gonna post this photo of a sweet beater bike that I saw online. All I could think was "that'd make a great polo bike!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Midwestern Champeenships!!!!!

It's Wednesday but I'm still recovering from this past weekend. After warming up at Thursday night pickup it was off to Columbia, Missouri on Friday for the Midwestern Champeenships. Three days straight of the most intense polo I've ever seen or played. Ashley, Evan, and I represented Bloomington well (i think). We made lots of new friends, learned many new skills (wheelie shot!), and even brought back a plethora of mallet making materials (thanks Nick and Lucky!).

I don't know how much I'll write as there is just too much polo-related awesomeness to convey over the interwebs; so I'll just post some of the random, shitty photos I took and you'll get the idea.

First though, here's the video I took of the final match between Chicago and Milwaukee. The camerawork and video quality sucks, but you can get a good idea of tournament level play from these two quality teams.

/// /// ///

And now for some crappy photos that don't even begin to convey the magnitude of the event.

^Overview of the stands at midcourt. Everyone spent most of the weekend propped up against the side of the hockey rink (street hockey court, hardcourt polo field, or whatever the hell you want to call it).

^Bikes of the St.Louis team King Shin Way featuring two brothers (Lee and ?) and another guy named Jake. We played them in our first match and holy shit were they good. While waiting for our match to start we told them this was our first match and Lee was like "oh cool, well maybe we shouldn't get physical just yet". Sure, they beat us soundly 5-0, but we got some good stops and Evan and I only wrecked a few times. But later... dear god these St. Louis boys may as well been playing hockey. Full body checks, ceaseless mallet hacking, leaning in with the shoulders and elbows at every moment. The Como Arigato vs. King Shin Way match was to most brutal and exciting of the entire tournament. Too bad my video camera died two minutes in...

^Vince (left) gave up playing in the tournament to organize and run it. Same with Drew, who you can see at the beginning of the final match video. Chris (right) also was instrumental in making the Midwesterns happen. He hooked us up with his teammate Nick, who's house we stayed at. Add a tall lanky kid named Charlie to Nick and Christ and you've got the Columbia A-squad. Hell of a team to watch play.

^Curtis (far right) was Nick's roomate and local Pedicab driver. Nicest guy ever. Lucky is the dog who hung out in the shade all weekend. Local kid getting a free lift.

^Down court from behind the goals. Love the hockey nets. They wouldn't work on our small courts, but on the big ones they'd be nice. There was never a debate as to whether the ball went in or not.

^Local bike shop "Klunks" set up an open air bike shopo and offered free repair work. It was mostly truing wheels and fine tuning before matches, but a few major wrecks made this little workshop indespensible. Cool Danish cargo bike too!

^Crowd along the wall.

^Teammates. Did I mention we could drink right on location?

^After party. Joy Division cover band called Joy Revision. Fun times. There was an after-after party too at an abandoned warehouse called the Hair Hole. Or was it Hare Hole? I have no idea cause I passed the fuck out.

^Bikes, bikes bikes.... saw so many great polo-specific bicycles this weekend. Here are a few of my favorite.....

I'm pretty sure this one belongs to Chris from COMO. That kid had amazing skills. On more than one occasion he abandoned his mallet on the ground and played with just his bike-- blocked multiple goals and one time took out all three players from the other team! And his wood laminate disc cover is totally my style. Might have to steal that idea....

^ Best wheel cover of the tournament.... yes, those are porno playing cards.

^ Favorite bike I saw. Quality frame and parts but with the "primary colors" of gold, pink and sky blue. Belongs to one of the best players I saw, Kremin from Milwaukee.

^All girl pickup game on one of the side courts. Bunch of gals from Austin, TX showed up, along with a decent female crew from Colorado Springs and Denver, CO.

^1st Place - Machine Politics (Chicago) On the far right is "Lefty Joe", the tournament MVP. First place got some sweet Brooks saddles. Notice the smoke in front of the camera? That's one of the "victory cigarettes" that were lit promptly after the match finished.

^2nd Place - the Beaver Boys (Milwaukee) - MKE's A-squad, winning their Milwaukee messenger bags. This team was intense and fun to watch.

^3rd Place - Hot Sauce Enema (Milwaukee) MKE's other squad with the beer homebrewed specifically for this event by COMO Megan. There was a third team from Milwaukee that was super nice and we hung out with a bit. Apparently the trifecta of Chicago, Madison (WI), and Milwaukee seems to yield the highest level of competition and therefore some of the best players in the Midwest. We've gotten the invite to come up and play at any time. Like I said, nice peoples.

^Here's Chicago Ben attempting to "herd cats". After the results were announced and the trophy handed out he took a moment to try and do some group organization. Mob rule decided that the next of the biennial midwesterns will be held in Minneapolis, MN this spring, while the autumn installment will happen in Lexington, KY. Both places sound great to me as I have lots of friends up in Minnesota and Kentucky is super close. Also a formal organization called North American Hardcourt is in the works.

^Goodbye beautiful street hockey court commandeered for bike polo!

6 hours later we were back in Bloomington. I caught a few hours of sleep before waking up and building a slew of boards and mallets for our tennis courts. We used all the new gear that night and it made a world of difference! (aside from the mallet I took to the face, ouch) After the quality of courts and play I experienced at COMO I want to bring that same quality here to our regular games. But more on that later.

I have more film from the tournament, but I'll have to try and edit that into something that's not so incomprehensible. Evan took a million pictures too, so more on this amazing tournament weekend to come.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New court, new people!

I've noticed the title of every post I make usually includes an exclamation point. I think that's a good indicator of how excited I am every time I talk about bike polo. Tonight is no different!!!

The biggest piece of news is our new court. Well, not 'ours' per se, but as citizens of Bloomington they're ours to use I cannot say how amazing this is to play on after months of tiny tennis courts. This is just the north end of it...

...and here's a look at the south end.

Yeah, it's big....really big. Three full sized basketball courts side by side. I'd guess 200 ft maybe? It's also pretty wide. I'd bet you could fit three of our regular courts just inside this one. Anyway, the important thing is that it is amazing to play on! Concrete siding around most of it, quality chain link fence with no big gaps, excellent location (right across from the hospital ;) and its even right next to a small park with parking, bathrooms and a playground! Polo is just more fun to play when you have room to maneuver and space to make breakaways. Everyone was instantly passing better, using more control, and generally just playing better. Guess that's the advantage when you're not running into each other every 5 seconds and chasing wayward balls every 10.

In the first photo you can see some high school kids playing pickup football in the field next to the courts. This space would be so perfect for grass polo that we're about ready to give that a try any day now!

^Even the corners are nice. Note my feet in the picture, the concrete barrier I'm on is about 3 1/2 to 4 ft high and wraps around 50% of the court. Great for rebounds. And the quality fence means we're not chasing balls every five minutes. The autumn leaves made some fun obstacles and we even started a few games by hiding the ball in a pile of leaves in the middle of the court! Fun times.

^And since we were playing on Halloween, Ashley decided to come in full regalia! Cool costume, cool girl, cool bike.

^Some of the players hanging out between games... Ok, now for the bad part- we can only play during the day. The court has a couple lights, but they're pathetic and in no way meant to illuminate the courts for use. For now we'll just use this as our Saturday afternoon spot, but a neighbor told us the city was thinking of putting lights anyway.... maybe we can help urge them in the right direction.

I don't want to get to far ahead of myself, but I this could be an amazing location for a tournament. Or at least some springtime friendlies.

Second thing I'm really excited about is all the awesome new people! Some enthusiastic new guys came tonight, the second-third timers are already really good, and the regulars are honing their skills.

^You can't really tell, but a goal is about to be scored in this pic. This is about as good of an action shot as I can get with my shitty camera


^Edwin's war wounds from a high mallet tonight. His glasses protected his eye but it was not cool at all. Gotta remember to keep them sticks down!

Good times were had by all! And this kid named Brent stopped by and told us about a night ride that occurs every full moon! A great idea that had just been mentioned by a fellow polo player not one hour before! The internets tell me that the next full moon is on December 2nd, so hopefully we can all join forces by then and enjoy some moonlit night-cycling.

Midwesterns at COMO this weekend. Very excited, we'll see how it goes.