IS HARDCOURT BIKE POLO THE NEXT BIG SPORT?
From Krakow to Paris, London to New York, Mexico City to Puerto Rico, the democratization of polo is in full swing. Old school games are definitely back in vogue. Dodge ball, kickball, roller derby, bocce ball, chess, checkers, board games have all been trending in popularity for the past several years. Urban bike polo with it’s 3 on 3 players, swinging mallets atop fixed speed bikes is no different.
The game, which was invented in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1891 by retired cyclist, Richard J. Mecredy was fully remixed and brought back to life circa 2000 via Seattle bike messengers with down time between deliveries.
It has since exploded and is now played in over 30 countries and 300 cities, with even Louis Vuitton has jumping into the fray.
The rules of the game are pretty basic, yet vary slightly from city to city/country to country:
• A match game is played of two team consisting of 3-5 players each.
• You score points by hitting the ball with the end of your mallet into the opposing teams goal post.
• You cannot touch the ground ground with your foot, if you do, there is a tap out penalty.
• Any contact must be the same, i.e. mallet to mallet, body to body or bike to bike (no mallet to head!)
• The first team to 5 points wins. Or, if it’s a timed game, which usually happens during tournaments, the team with the most points at the end of regulation wins.
Is this the end of $200,000 polo ponies? Probably not, but we could very well see this evolve into an Olympic sport in 5-10 years. In 2013 alone, there were over 125+ tournaments around the world. ESPN, are you listening?
Check out the video gallery below a more in-depth look at the sport: