simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Urban Bike Polo
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Thursday, 20 September 2007

Urban Bike Polo

I really thought I was witnessing something relatively new, probably developed in NYC. An urban styled twist on a classic sport. But as it turns out, Bike Polo, Cycle Polo or Bicycle Polo has been around since the late 1800s. Itwas invented in Ireland in 1891 by Richard J.Mecredy and played as early as 1900 by the British army and the Indian Maharajas. It is a relatively formalized sport, played on a court (typically grass) with various rules and regulations governing play and equipment. This is the sober, suburban version - click here for the U.S. Bicycle Polo Association. The game I ran across (shown in the photo) was in the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side - click here for more photos. What we are seeing here is Urban Bike Polo, a much rougher variation with fewer rules and equipment which has evolved for the urban environment with traffic cones for goal posts, street hockey balls, plastic mallets and most often track bikes (fixed gear). It's bike messenger style meets polo. And as I read further, I find of course there is a world associated with this activity - websites, newspaper and magazine articles, equipment vendors, teams, clubs, championships, hundreds of videos on YouTube including one taken with a malletcam (video camera installed in a mallet) - click here. One NYC team is appropriately named the Ratkillers. Makes me feel like where have I been and why was I the last to know? ...


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