The Basics of Hardcourt Bike Polo

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By David Barthod —

History: Hardcourt bike polo is the modern version of grass bike polo. The original version was born in Ireland at the end of the 19th century and was included as a demonstration during the Olympics in London, 1908. Hardcourt bike polo was reinvented by Seattle messengers who had downtime in between deliveries in the late 90’s. They built mallets with ski poles and gas pipes and rode their fixed gear bikes while smashing beer cans (used for the ball)!

Les Beehive Boys at the National Championships.

Today: Hardcourt is now played all over the world in every major city. NAH (North American Hardcourt) is the American organization leading the sport and supporting the events in NA. Since 2009, we have North American Championships and World championships. USA, France, England, Germany are the countries where the major teams come from but Asia, South America and Oceania are also into it!

Bikes and gear – ready to play!

Equipment: A 700c or 26” single-speed bike, a mallet and a helmet are the main gear needed to play. Then, it’s all about the players’ choice: wheel covers, frame pads, knee pads, flat or clipless pedals, disc or V-brake (mostly front), etc. The ball is identical to the street hockey one made in PVC.

Court: Most of the clubs play on street hockey, tennis or basketball courts. Sometimes a parking garage is used. Court size does vary a bit but should have boards to keep the ball inside the court. A smooth surface is of course nicer!

Rules: 3 vs. 3 players play against each other. 10 minute games or the first team to 5 goals. There is not fixed goalie and body checking is authorized only to the ball carrier. The rules are evolving year after year making the sport faster, cleaner and more attractive to watch. For more details, check the NAH ruleset: http://www.nahardcourt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2015Ruleset-V4.5.pdf

Current NAH Champs: Outlawz Birds (France, Hungary)

Current World Champs: Monster Truck (Portland, Seattle)

Bike Polo videos: http://mrdovideo.com/

Utah Bike Polo Information:

Beehive Bike Polo Club — Salt Lake City, UT, Weekly hardcourt and grass bike polo. Tuesdays at 8pm, Saturday afternoons. Check out the Beehive Bike Polo Club on Facebook for location, Chuck Heaton, 801-688-7268, [email protected], facebook.com/groups/189631497724953/, beehivebikepolo.wordpress.com

David Barthod
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