Friday, October 30, 2009

Photos, mallets, and parts- oh my!

Hooray for bike polo!!! Things have been going really well the past couple weeks. More new people keep showing up each night and we've even added a third day to play (Saturday @ the basketball courts across from the Hospital on 2nd). Mother nature is still not cooperating with us (it's pouring rain as I type this) but that's not stopping us the least.

Evan took some pictures on Monday and they turned out really good. Check out more of them over at the Bloomington Hardcourt Bike Polo blog. I'm hoping he brings that fancy camera of his to the tournament in Columbia, MO next week. Also added to the schedule is the St. Louis Dead-of-Winter Indoor Lock-in happening on January 16th and 17th at some indoor skating rink. A whole night of boozing, bike polo, and not sleeping- yes please! I know more than a few people are interested in this one, so hopefully we have a small caravan making the trek. By the time January rolls around snow will prevent our weekly games (or maybe not ;) and I'm sure we'll all be itching to play.

Finally made myself a few new mallets and upgraded to 2" instead of 1 1/2". Got some "CH40 rigid pvc conduit" for dirt cheap and went crazy with a miter saw over at McCalla. After attaching the heads to some graphite golf club shafts the balance was way off. So I took a cue from the internet, broke out my wood boring bits and swiss-cheesed that shit. I made a huge difference! The beauty of the method is that you can keep going until it feels right.

Oh, and did I mention there's already a few more in the works....

^And this is just some of 'em.

And now for something totally irrelevant to everyone but me.... new bike parts day!!! If you're not familiar with Velo Orange then visit their site right now. They sell all sorts of hard to find parts and produce many of their own. Contrary to 98% of other online shops Velo Orange focuses on randoneurs and city bikes. They also (obviously) have a overwhelming affinity for all things old and French!

As sacrilegious as this may sound, I consider Chris Kulczycki to now carry to torch lit by Sheldon Brown. Sheldon inspired many, many people to rediscover the joy and simplicity of cycling, and was also an unrepentant francophile. While the rest of the world is trolling around on pink fixies or aluminum 30 speeds Chris and Sheldon never when out of style with their leather saddles, wide fenders, Sturley-Archer hubs and swept back city bars. For me cycling has always been about transportation and finding a supplier who agrees (while embracing retro aestetic) has been a godsend. This order wasn't my first, and certainly won't be my last. Check out the Velo Orange blog for some good (and informative) reading.

And come play polo! Every Monday, Thursday, and now Saturday!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Scaredy Cat Alleycat!!!

The alleycat to benefit Hugh & Tiga went down on Saturday. Good turnout and was hella fun! Plus the after party featured some amazing musicians. I didn't take any shots during the race (as I was riding) but got some good before and after pics...

^Field marshall Mike giving out safety instructions. More people showed up after this shot...I think about 15 raced, and about 15-20 people helped out at checkpoints. By the way, many thanks to all those people! Even Tiga, who (accidentally) made me puke.

^ My favorite competitors of the day! Not only did they dress up, but the little girl in the seat couldn't of been more than 5 or 6 years old!! I didn't catch their names, but he was really nice and she was a little shy (didn't want her picture taken- I can empathize). They probably hit the fewest checkpoints, but did so in style and as a team.

^ Edwin's second bike of the race. He started on his new Eighth Inch polo bike but at some point switched over to his frankenstein singlespeed. Note the unnecessary aerobars, the community bike project 'headbadge', and suicidal brake lever!!! Love this bike! And that bag to the left is full of apples from the apple-bobbing stop, which continued their life as post-race nourishment.

^ More peeps gathering in people's park, the starting/ending point. A great centralized location for the race, and it was nice to see the park not filled with drug dealing hippies for once (though I think a few followed everyone to the afterparty).

^A couple of long-haul tourers showed up at the end of the race. Apparently two nights before they slept in a rock quarry in southern Indiana near Louisville! They're from Tucson, Arizona and have been on the road quite a long time. Note the eight point deer rack on his handlebar bag!!! I cannot recall the couple's names, but they were very nice and I wish them godspeed on their continued journeys.

^Post race results at the Fort (15th & Woodburn) with organizers Taylor (left) and Ashley (right). In related news Ashley will be joining us for the Midwestern Champeenships in Columbia, Missouri in a couple weeks. These gals did a great job organizing this race! Many props to them!

^ Shot of a few of the prizes. The trophy was found in a dumpster by Gregg- 1991 Little 500 11th place! I really do love our cycling culture here in Bloomington, Indiana. We recycle everything, even trophies! A sweet pair of road shoes (for clips) was up for grabs, in addition to free beer (those white pieces of paper), free chili, and giant boxes of clif bars. This photo only shows a few prizes, many others didn't make it into the photo and/or were IOU's for custom gear. This cute girl named 'Jimmy' is apparently going to make Gregg a custom top tube pad and me a cycling cap! I cannot tell you how surprised and excited I was about these prizes.

Results as I recall: (1) Zachary, (2) Gregg, (3) Dan [who was sporting the coolest racing jersey/sweater I've ever seen], (4 tie) Edwin & Lembo, (6) some cool bearded dude from out of town who rode a mountain bike, (7) high school mike.... then my memory gets fuzzy.... must've been all that delicious Upland Wheat Ale! Thanks again, Scofield.

Holy shit if you have not heard Selfish Whales then do so right now. Two violins, no microphones, beautiful group vocals.... I love this band. Even featured my racemate Dan on the (slightly minimalized) drums! I had heard their name before, but now my ears are on board too!

Next up was Pink Houses. Again a band I had heard of but never heard. Tight, thrashy punk that, despite the name, has nothing to do with our own Johnny Coug'. Humble, friendly guys. I will definitely see this band again, probably many times.

^The last band I had no idea was playing, even though I'm basically related to 2/3 the band. Humans is a fucking awesome dirty punk band. They have a cassette coming out soon (that I actually have a coy of!) that kicks some royal ass.... ok, I know my ranting has gone from bicycles to music, but it's Bloomington, so it's all the same! A few more pics then I'll shut up.

^Jeffery Ray (& the guns).

"Mighty Joel Young" and his excellent denim vest!

So yeah, this post contains no real polo news, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to report! Goods things are happening for Bloomington Hardcourt, but I'll wait until I have accompanying photos to spill the news....

High fives to everyone who came out to the alleycat! Rumor has it there is already a Holiday/Christmas alleycat in the works.... ;)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Rain? What rain?

Good f*ckin' night!

It's rained almost every Thursday for the past month. Same story tonight, 'cept a dozen people showed up regardless! Even after it started pouring everyone just kept playing. A good night indeed.

Edwin got a new Eighth Inch Scrambler frame that he's building into a dedicated polo bike. And Evan build up an old steel frame into a very nice fixed setup. Lembo is fine tuning his Ross and even I have a few new parts coming my way. Though I still think Crashley's folding bike with white bmx tires is the best polo bike ever!

And my hand hurts from that damn fence.


Oh yeah, and that alleycat is happening on Saturday at 3pm. Meet at people's park.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn in Indiana!

Another fun night o' polo! The leaves are changing and full of color- autumn is settling in nicely here in Indiana. Break out the scarves and ready those mallets! Speaking of mallets, took a few shots of my mallets tonight...

All of them have 1 1/2 inch pipe, mostly just cause its whats available. I can already see the advantage of the larger striking surface of a 2 inch pipe, and I'd definitely like to upgrade to HDPE instead of the PVC and ABS I've been using (broken 2 so far). Still, the smaller surface forces me to shoot straighter and more accurately. Maybe practicing with 1 1/2" and playing with 2" might work, i'm geeking out about the size of plastic pipe-- guess bike polo will do that to ya!

The left two use steel golf club shafts and the right two use graphite club shafts. The far right one ("charlotte") is really firm, I believe it was an iron club shaft, while the second-from-right is a driver shaft and is almost too light. The far left ("old blue") is one of my original attempts and is probably still my favorite. It's just so well balanced! And there is even a crook in the middle of the shaft that gives the mallet head about a 10 degree slope. Looks janky as fuck but works like a charm.

Also took a quick shot of them bundled up. I use an old toe strap+ piece of cloth to hold 'em together, then lash 'em to my messenger bag with another spare strap. Works pretty well actually.

In related news there will be an alleycat to benefit Hugh & Tiga (arrested I-69 protestors) this Saturday around 3pm. Not sure of all the details yet, but I'll definitely be attending this and hopefully not sucking too much. Polo afterwards!

Also, we're looking to add a daytime scrimmage to our schedule (at a new location! the basketball courts across from the hospital on 2nd). Probably saturdays at 3pm when the Bike Project closes down. Of course not this saturday because of the alleycat, but hopefully from here on out.

So yeah, another good night of polo with many more still to come!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Mist, mud, and mayhem!

Another great night of polo!

The weather behaved, though the court was a little muddy, while the mist kept us cool. Unattempted 360's abound + lots of sliding. Very fun though! Ashley is quickly becoming one of the best players and "Lightning Lembo" (never strikes twice) is finding his rhythm. Also great showings from Tyler and Scofield, who are both improving immensely. Hell, who isn't improving? Maybe one day we'll actually be semi-decent polo players!

The weekend of November 6/7/8 we (Evan, Lembo, Zachary) will be heading to Columbia, Missouri for our first legitimate polo tournament (the Midwestern Polo Champeenships). While we fully intend on getting schooled-- but that seems to be exactly what we need. Should be a great weekend. I'm sure I'll have much to say as the date nears.

Good times are being had and many good times are still ahead of us. See you monday at the courts!


Friday, October 9, 2009

More rain+ polo.

This past monday was a good night. Decent amount of people, competitive play, no real wrecks or injuries.

This past Thursday was practically rained out, but Edwin, Nick, Stacy, Ashley, and I moved to a parking garage for what I can only describe as an impromptu practice session. It was actually really fun!

More to come.

Friday, October 2, 2009

3, 2, 1, GO!

After a being rained out two nights last week this Thursday was a great success. Though only about ten people showed everyone was playing hard and having fun. Not one, or two, but THREE girls showed up tonight! And we had our first game in the rain! !!

Even as winter nears things seem to be moving forward in our small group. There is talk of getting a team together for Midwesterns at COMO and playing the indoor tourney coming up in St.Louis. Sadly our best player is now on house arrest, but what can you do. The girls were talking alleycats and Edwin has a line on more mallet materials. Hell, someone even volunteered to be a secretary!!! We don't really need a secretary (she spent most of the night yelling 321go), but the fact that everyone is stepping up and offering to help is great.

Oh, and I may've even found a group over in Columbus, IN that plays grass polo... hopefully we can convert them to our hardcourt cult.

Good things all around, god I love this town.