Monday, April 30, 2012

Thank you ladies!!!

I've never had so much fun not playing polo!

Great job to the London girls who absolutely killed it this weekend. Mad props to Elena for being not just my new favorite player, but breaking her clavicle and still scoring! Quinn you're my girl! Slaying like usual you've really made it... and of course Maija, Birdie, and Cherri- proving yet again why they're the best in the game.

Lexington you've outdone yourselves yet again! Here's to all you ladies who made my weekend so amazing!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Livestream of Ladies Army!

Streaming video by UstreamIt's not up just yet but it should be soon!

This livestream is thanks to Pat Grady for the tech and Machine for the commentary! If you want a shortcut to the stream you can also check out bikepolo dot tv where we stream the Battle and hope to stream further events in the future. Shoot me a text if anything goes wrong with the feed or you just want a shoutout.

Also, congrats to my good friends Nick McLean, Charlie Hill, and Jessi Conners for winning the co-ed last night!!!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mallet making secret: bouncy balls!

Can i let you guys in on a lil' secret? Bouncy balls.

Yes, those little rubbers toys you can buy in vending machines at arcades and skating rinks. Remember the lock-in at the Skatium a couple years ago? Remember when someone emptied the bouncy ball machine and threw them all over the court during matches?? Fun times, eh? Anyway, travis had the foresight to collect the leftovers, and after sitting in a bin in my basement for a while we found a use for 'em- capping the end of yr shaft.

Anyone who's played with an "uncapped shaft" knows it digs into yr skin. Most people over the years have taped nickels onto the ends to provide at least a bit of support. While i rocked the nickel for a couple years, eventually i started looking for something better. Whiskey corks are pretty easy to come by around here (right guys :) so those found their way into our mallets, though they would easily split laterally if you put too much pressure on it. Well later we tried handlebar end caps (like the screw in kind you get with bmx grips) and while they were firm they would end up being to hard on the palm of yr hand. I've even seen the rubber "feet" that are usually reserved for the bottoms of chairs... a pretty good option actually, but the wrist pain was still there...

Enter bouncy balls. Place a medium sized rubber ball on the end, wrap it in electrical tape to secure (not hockey tape, electrical tape, it holds the rubber/metal combination much better), and from there finish yr mallet like normal. I personally like to leave a bit of a "bulb" on the end as it gives me a good pivot point for shots, but to each his own. The key benefit is the easing of stress on the palm, which translate to a more comfortable wrist. This is especially notable when sitting in goal for long lengths of time.

But don't trust me- go find a vending machine near you and try it out yrself. It my sound simple, even a bit childish, but i'm never going back. Screw nickels, corks, and bar-ends- i've got my bouncy ball.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fixcraft Slimline polo specific gloves

A few months back Malakai (of Lawrence BP and Fixcraft) was telling me about the gloves they were developing. Apparently they were real close to release and i've been salivating ever since... so imagine my surprise when i saw Northern Standard gloves pop up on my radar first! Both have a similar design, though the NS gloves have a few more accoutrements and higher price, while the Fixcraft gloves are more simplified (and hopefully with a "simplified price").

While some might raise an eyebrow of suspicion over the similarities i think it shows that polo specific products will be, well, specific to polo. They both hit the design nail on the head. Very flexible and a tight fit (unlike hockey gloves), very well padded (unlike bmx gloves), and with better and more durable grips/palms (unlike lacrosse gloves). So of course the end results look similar. I'm all for more polo products, and as we've clearly seen polo-player owned businesses make the best polo-specific products *cough*fuckeighthinch*cough*. Check out the Fixcraft rundown here at their site.

Very excited to try these out. Hopefully there'll be a few pairs floating around at Ladies Army this weekend. By the way, see y'all there!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vintage Little 500 bike

Part of why i love living in Bloomington is seeing gems like this locked up around town. Even though it's a piece of history it's still someone's daily ride.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Aaron Hand's custom Marino

I just noticed that Aaron's bike was featured at It's a sweet bike that i've had the pleasure of both riding and photographing. So since "Dan the Marino" is getting some play on the interwebs i thought i'd add to the noise by putting up these shots i took back at the COMO Pull-out in March.

Great bike Aaron. See you in Lexington this weekend!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Special: Hardcourt Comics? In French??

Anyone seen this yet?? I'm usually traveling and rarely, if ever, make a post on Sunday, but this merited immediate attention. I'm not even totally sure what it says and i'm already in love!!

Check out the rest of the comics (there's only 6 right now) at Whoever is making these- thank you! More more more! and an English version wouldn't hurt!


Friday, April 20, 2012

NAME CHANGE! presenting

Laugh if you want, but I'm happy this site exists. It's become a journal for my life with polo. And hear you me, my life has been much better since i discovered polo. In '08 when i ditched Bloomington and moved back to Seattle it was a dark time in my life, but right before coming back to Indiana to finish my degree i discovered something wonderful- bike polo. It's not just an random hobby to occupy my time- it's an amazing sport with an amazing community that's allowed me to travel all over America, meet incredible unique people, keeps me in shape, and didn't just get me back in the saddle, but keeps me there. It's a way of life. The good life.

Now, why TOP SHELF POLO? Cause there's nothing as great as that feeling when your shot lifts off the ground, goes over the goalie's wheel, and finds the top shelf. To hit the top shelf means to aim high and shoot right. The top shelf isn't for open goal tap-in's, it's for hard fought, well shot, game changing goals. That's what we all strive for, right? Top shelf so refers, as you probably know, to good whiskey. Not that bottom shelf bullshit (though lord knows i love me some Old Crow) but the good stuff... Woodford Reserve, Johnny Walker Blue, Bulleit Rye. Here in Indiana we love our our whiskey and we love our polo- a suitable name, don't ya think? Thanks to my teammate and best friend Travis for coming up with that one!

The name change has been a long time comin'. I initially started this site as a blog for our Bloomington club, but another fellow had the same idea at the same time and we kept as our club blog, while this site descended into my own ramble-fest. Ironically this site has survived while the club blog languishes, but that's mostly cause everyone uses facebook nowadays. This site still has a purpose, for me anyways. Blogging gives me an outlet for all the random thoughts and interests i have relating to polo. When all my friends are sick of me talking about polo i can at least talk to myself. Or make a post about it anyhow.

Hell, if you start from the beginning this site reads like a history of the bloomington club. From our first shitty mallets and bikes to our first real tournament you can see how we've progressed over the years. There's serious stuff like my first real injury and the first polo tourney ever in Indiana... and then there's silly stuff like that old polo video i found in the Monroe Library basement.

Where will this site go from here? I'm not totally sure, but as long as i can ride a bike i'll always take a few photos, write a few thoughts, and keep this train moving. Thanks to all y'all who actually read this, and a million more thanks to my true friends who have made this journey possible.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

I already miss this...

...a large court with pristine surface, 75x130 dimensions, scaffolding, teams wearing uniforms, the best players in the world, good food, good friends, those awesome sliding doors we made...

Luckily, we've already locked down a host for next year's Battle! and as amazing as RCA Park in Bloomington is, next year's location is EVEN BETTER! I can't reveal too much right now, but believe me when i say it'll be even better than this years... here's to 2013!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jeremy's orange and cream custom Marino

Yet another beauty in the Bloomington stable!

This photo is actually a few weeks old. Jeremy has since built it up and has vastly improved since he started riding the new setup. Geometry designed by Travis from Tree City. The thing is nimble and wheelies like a dream while still fitting Jeremy's larger torso. Yet another custom polo frame made possible by the low-cost production of Peru's Marino Bike Company! That guy is changing the poloverse one frame at a time.

If for some reason you've been living under a rock and don't know about Marino bikes, maybe this Spanish-language interview will provide some insight.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Urban Brad's photos of the ESPI Bench Minor

Great shots Brad! Looks like y'all had fun. While our Pittsburgh friends lost out to stronger teams from NYC and RVA it looks like everybody got into the bench format team spirit. If they had even half as much fun as we did here in the Midwest last week i'm sure it was a helluva time. Still wish i could've afforded to fly out to ref this thing but as i always end up saying- "time and money"...

Check out the full gallery here at Urban Velo.


PS - anyone notice the shot of Nate Mumford's squarebuilt prototype? That bike is just so bloody cool!

Monday, April 16, 2012

This weekend - the 62th annual Little 500!


Maybe you're not familiar with this event, but for the past six decades Indiana University in Bloomington has been holding one of the world's greatest cycling events. No pro athletes or millions of dollars at stake- just students racing for pride. Oh yeah, and our little city loses it's mind with the non-stop partying...

If any polo players are gonna be in town this weekend hit me up if you need a place to stay. Lots of drinking and revelry, probably pickup at some point, and we'll watch our own Megan B race for the ladies' crown.


PS - if you wanna get in on all the drama and shit-talk, head over to Geraint's Bloomington Velo News where he just posted his odds for the race:

Mens Little 500. April 21st 2pm.

Phi Delta Theta- 4/1 co-fav. Sharp is the joint-fastest guy on the track, they lose a little without West yet showed in TP they are ready. Have been the aggressors the past two years but with arguably the best sprinter will they have a different strategy this year? Will carefully watch the laps this year.....

Delta Tau Delta- 4/1 co-fav. RJ Stuart is a best rider on or off the track but are DTD too reliant on him? As usual I would expect a wait-and-see strategy with RJ trying to break it open late in the race. DTDs have ridden above their abilities in recent years and if they can again, they could very well win.

Cutters- 4/1 co-fav. They have to still be favoured with all their experience. Not sure who make the team (info please...) but Walsh recently won a good road race. Depasse and Nixon are going well yet Schroeders results suggest he's a little off the boil. However his previous 2 rings have come from a supporting role...can he step up to lead this year?

Beta Theta Pi- 5/1. 2012 has been the year of Beta! Four good riders gave an excellent TP. Some doubts about their ability to ride in a straight line and won't win a sprint so will need to break it up to win. The question is whether they want to win or will be happy with top 3?

Black key Bulls- 8/1. A very solid squad who showed well in TP and throughout the spring. Experience behind the scenes but have been found lacking on race day in the past few years. Can they put it all together this year. Again, like Beta will they be happy with a top 3?

Sigma Chi- 12/1. Two excellent riders but the TP was a worry. Wasn't aware Tom S had left their side and whatever you think, he is an overall benefit. Will likely be able to hang with the leaders so who knows what might happen. Morrow is a fighter for sure!

Theta Chi- 14/1. Really stepped up their speed this year after just outside the top ten in 2011. Good to see that level of progression and a good top ten may put them in a position to truly compete next year. They could be there at the end and then who knows....

Sigma Phi Epsilon- 16/1. Don't know anything about these guys but Torrance did a great ITT and the TP was solid. Look good on paper but inexperience may cost them in the race.

Acacia- 16/1. Unspectacular in ITTs but returning a full team from a top 5 in 2011. Will they be happy with the same this year or can Bortz propel them higher?

FIJI- 16/1. Desperate for a win and they think they can do it. Pride comes before a fall but you have to aim high right? Top 5 would be a good result.

The Field- 20/1. The Mens field always throws up a surprise or two so don't count out Delta Chi, SNU, DSP, CSF, CRU, Kap Sig to make the top ten. No winners in that group though....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Northern Standard - new polo specific gloves!

Wow these things look awesome! Extra protection for the heel of yr hand, leather fingertips, reinforced palms (amen), and they even added a little sweat wipe on the side! I'm impressed. Clearly these guys did their research and took their time developing the perfect gloves. Pre-order now for $79 (CAD). I guarentee they work better than my $30 Franklins, but i'll probably wait until i see them in person before i pull the trigger. Still, if you can't wait, head over to the Northern Standard website and claim a pair for yourself!

Since the sitting world champs will be rockin' em this season i'm sure they'll spread like wildfire. Can't wait!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upcoming tournaments...

Just got signed up for Eastsides with Mr.Magoo and Frank the Tank! From the list of teams it looks like Ann Arbor A, Columbus, LEX, and the COMO younguns are all gonna be there! Who wants to pitch a tent city at polo camp?!?

Then of course the granddaddy of them all- the Jenny Cup. Tree City will be reppin' Bloomington and taking this one seriously. That might even mean *gasp* sleeping in a hotel room for once!

Then there's this! I'm really excited about this one. Dougie Fresh gave me the heads up a while ago but i'm super stoked it's all coming together! A shuffle tourney means no set teams and we'll all be mixing it up in the middle of Illinois.. can't wait!

But before all that can happen- LADIES ARMY!!! Adam Say, Quinn, and I are playing the co-ed on friday, but look for me to be wearing the zebra stripes saturday/sunday and harassing Machine while he provides live commentary to the world! This year just keeps getting better and better!

See y'all on the court.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Team photos from the Battle

Who's that random guy standing off to the left?? Clearly he's not on that team...

Big love to my Indiana family! Thanks again to all you awesome midwest players keepin' it real. Midwest is definitely best!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

LIVE NOW - the Battle for Middle West

Live stream by Ustream Everything about this tourney is top notch!

If you're not lucky enough to be here at least follow along at home!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

South Central final match - Just say MO vs Seakings

Aww hell yeah somebody did take video!!!!

Many thanks to Adam from Memphis!


Cosmic Puke

For today, something different.

There's a long running thread on the London polo forum called Cosmic puke. Originally stemming from a humorous take on London slayer squad "Team Cosmic" the thread has spent two years spiraling out of control and giving us lovely gifs like the one above of Cosmic Todd...

While this may only be tangentially related to polo, it's pretty awesome! I've been watching that thread forever and ever once and a while i come back to it... hopefully you do too!