When it comes to the basics of Bike Polo, in general, there are two teams with three players each playing in an enclosed rectangular area. Goals are scored at each long end of the rectangle.
When the game starts, the ball is put in the middle of the court and the players wait behind their own goals. Both teams charge the ball in what is termed the “joust”, following a countdown.
A player may hit the ball in two ways, including a shot or a shuffle. The former is made with either end of the mallet head while the latter is made with the side. A player must hit the ball with a shot into the opposing team’s goal in order to score a goal. The goal does not count and play continues if the player uses a shuffle.
After scoring a goal, the scoring team comes back to their half of the court. After that, the scored-on team may cross the half line and restart playing.
The game goes on until a team score either five goals or a predetermined length of time, typically 12 or 15 minutes.
The amount of contact in a certain match may vary but in general, it is restricted to body to body and mallet to mallet.
The North American Bike Polo Association has given out an official rule set for North America, which has been influential to standardizing rules all over the world.
Mallet and Ball
Originally, Hardcourt Bike Polo players handmade their mallets. Later several companies like Ben’s Cycles, Fixcraft, and others, make mallets particularly for the game of bike polo.
In terms of the ball used in bike polo, it is typically made from PVC. Fixcraft is the first company to have produced bike polo balls and still designs better versions.
Although any bike is acceptable for the game, low gear ratio single-speed bikes have the most advantages for quick acceleration and control on a small court. Most players customize their bikes particularly for the game and their needs.
Commonly, players play the sport on courts like tennis courts, basketball courts, football courts, or street hockey rinks. These courts are usually customized using boards to prevent the ball from getting stuck in the corners or rolling out of the court.