Bike Polo: 'A lot of people who ride bikes are an eclectic group'

Bike Polo: 'A lot of people who ride bikes are an eclectic group' »Play Video
“A lot of people who ride bikes are an eclectic group," said Sean Watters, who organizes bike polo matches in Eugene, Ore. "This is a way for them to have an outlet instead of riding by themselves."

EUGENE, Ore. -- They sit atop steel horses, riding on a concrete court.

Swinging lance-like weapons, the players battle each other in a variation on a classic sport.

The game they play is bike polo. | Rules | How to make a mallet

With the swing of a mallet, Sean Watters (above right) sends a small orange ball careening between two traffic cones halfway across the court. Players marvel at his accuracy, and Watters rides a victory lap around the court, striking a metal basketball backboard ceremoniously on his way around.

Watters has organized this group of urbanites into participating in this fledgling sport every Thursday night for the last year.

They play on basketball courts underneath a freeway, using makeshift mallets fabricated from ski poles, duct tape and PVC pipe, and barriers made from two-by-four inch boards bolted together, while drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.

"If you build it, they will come," Watters said. He first began organizing the event after a stranger from Corvallis, Ore., saw a video of his fixed-gear bike on the Internet.

“A lot of people who ride bikes are an eclectic group," Watters said. "This is a way for them to have an outlet instead of riding by themselves."


Above: Sarah Jarolimek rides by on her bike.

Bike polo began on grass courts and was played in similar fashion to regular polo. Hard court polo -- polo on asphalt -- began in urban cities. It spread from the East coast to the West and from larger cities, such as Seattle, Vancouver and Los Angles, to small cities, such as Eugene.

This year, Portland will host the Northwest's first bike polo tournament.


How to build a bike polo mallet

What you need: Aluminum ski pole, a drill, PVC pipe (2-inch diameter, 6-10-inches long), a bolt and nut, duct tape
 

  1. Saw the bottom from an aluminum ski pole
     
  2. Drill one hole into the PVC pipe and insert the ski pole
     
  3. Drill another hole at a 90-degree angle into the PVC pipe, through the ski pole and out of the PVC pipe.
     
  4. Insert a bolt through the previous three holes and insert a bolt to secure
     
  5. Duct tape the top of the pole for grip.

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How to play Bike Polo

What you need: Two teams of three people, any bicycle, mallets, four orange cones spaced one bike length apart, a field hockey ball

Rules:

  • Each game is 10-minutes long
     
  • If a player touches the ground, the must leave and reenter play
     
  • Light contact is allowed between bodies, bikes and mallets
     
  • The last goal must be hit by the end of a mallet
     

For more information