Hardcourt Bike Polo Has Flourished In South Florida (part 1)

Forget American football for now. There is a small game known for getting a worldwide draw in South Florida, especially in Broward County.

Hardcourt bike polo was originated in Seattle in the early 2000s and is a subtle form of grass cycling, invented in Ireland in 1891.

Players form three or four teams and use small hand-painted characters from ski poles to skillfully advance the ball to the goal.

These games are played on the streets and in difficult areas such as basketball courts, tennis courts and roller hockey rinks.

With kindness and balance, the games are fast and played with good strength. Athletes in street clothes ride on fast-moving bicycles and often customize their bikes with handmade wheelbarrows, shortened handlebars and move the brakes to one side so that players can brake with one hand.

The game was held in South Florida about 2007, when a team of 15 or more players will meet at the roller hockey rinks at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale. Initially, the FTL Bike Polo meetups were inconsistent until the name came to prominence and re-emerged in late 2011. Now the group meets every Thursday night.

In court competitions can be violent, but apart from court players they promote a cohesive community, often sitting on weekends, celebrating birthdays or simply wandering around. When players are on the road or going to other cities, they can connect to other areas of the polo field and find a bed to hit on.

The Bike polo is divided into seven areas throughout the United States. Kreally ‘K’ Kasai, a long-time resident of Fort Lauderdale and a cyclist, says: “South Florida was one of the last places to bring a bicycle pole, so the increase in excitement we are seeing is the arrival of other cities. See a huge increase now.”

After that, the sport grew and spread to Miami.

The Basics of Hardcourt Bike Polo

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.

Bike

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.

Court

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.

The development of North American Hardcourt Bike Polo

Although bike polo is more than 100 years old now, hardcourt bike polo occurred only 21 years ago, in Seattle, a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States, by a group of bike messengers trying to pass time between jobs.

Hardcourt bike polo, which used to be played in alleys, parking lots and even on rooftops, quickly grew with the love of bikes and bike culture. Tournaments were held as side events in messenger races, known as alley cats.

In 2007, there were about 20 cities through North America that claimed  established clubs thanks to the spread of the game through the internet and messenger culture. The next year, the largest competitive tournament to date and also the first North American Championship (featuring 35 teams) was held in Chicago. This competition was run in conjunction with the 2008 NACCC messenger championships, but it is independent. The Chicago tournament exploded the scene as well as galvanized the North American hardcourt polo community, which quickly made it the right time to start organizing tournaments with hardcourt as the sole focus.

Early in 2010, democratically elected 21 representatives from North America, established the North American Hardcourt (NAH), which is the first organizing body that would start to address the concerns of a rapidly growing constituency. NAH has since been instrumental in influencing and encouraging a change to standards: a set of rules and refereeing, familiar court dimensions and goals, a swiss-round tournament format, and much more.

Nowadays, there are around 200 hartcourt bike polo clubs in North America alone, with about 1000 players competing in the most recent version of the NAH Tour Series. This culminated with the most successful NAH Bike Polo Championship up to now, setting records for viewership of the sport and perhaps the deepest field of competitive players in any tournament.

History of Hardcourt Bike Polo

Hardcourt Bike Polo is a key part of traditional bicycle polo. In order to understand more about it, let’s trace back from the very first day of its foundation to nowadays.

1999

1999 is the year when Hardcourt Bike Polo was established. Seattle may be the hometown of this sport. The first group of bike polo played the sport in alleys, parking lots and on rooftops. After that, thanks to bike lovers and bike culture, bike polo has developed rapidly. Tournaments held as side events in the messenger races named alley cat.

2007

Nearly 20 cities started to set up bike bolo clubs though out North America due to the messenger culture and the internet, contributing to the spread of this game. In 2008, the biggest competition of bike bolo was held in Chicago, which featured 35 teams, it was also the first North American Championship. This tournament was launched at the same time but independently with the 2008 NACCC championships. The event in Chicago stood out and attracted the community of North American hardcourt polo, which was considered as the sole focus for organizing tournaments with hardcourt bike polo.

2010

In early 2010, 21 representatives were chosen along with the birth of the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Association (NAH). This is the first organizing part whose function is to deal with the rapid growth of constituency. At this time, the first NAH-sanctioned rule set was issued. It shifted the format, the standards, goals, court dimensions, and so on.

Nowadays

In North America alone, about 200 clubs were established, along with around a thousand players competing in the latest format of the NAH Tour Series. It reaches its primetime thanks to the success of North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship in setting the record for viewership as well as competitive fields of any player in any tournament.

Five Things You Might Not Have Known About Hardcourt Bike Polo

You might have never heard of hardcourt bike polo, but it has got rapid growth recently. It is inclusive, has a few simple rules, and requires just a little investment. Although it is very exciting to watch, it takes some serious skills to handle the bike and at the same time play the game. Here are five things that you might not have known about hardcourt bike polo.

1. Bike polo is an actual sport

It has been around in some form since 1891 as Richard J. Mecredy – an Irish fellow – invented “horseless polo.” The resurgence of the sport took hold in America and then around the world when Seattle residents start playing Hardcourt Bike Polo (meaning that playing bike polo on an asphalt court opposed to a grass field) in 1999.

2. It is played around the world

There are 473 bike polo clubs in 56 countries on every continent.

3. It was featured in the Olympics

It was featured under the name “Cycle polo” as a demonstration sport in the Olympics 1908 when Ireland beat Germany for the gold. Unluckily, the popularity of this sport declined during WW I and II and didn’t get steam again till the 1980s.

4. There is an actual Hardcourt Bike Polo World Championships

A Hardcourt Bike Polo World Championship started in Philadelphia in 2009 has been held every year since. Teams qualify by winning national and regional tournaments. Last year’s tournament, The Beavers (San Francisco, the US) beat Call Me Daddy (Paris, France) for the championship.

5. It has only a few simple rules

Hardcourt bike polo games are played with 3 players on a team, with no specific positions.

In order to score a goal, you have to hit the ball with one of your mallet’s ends, not the side.

If you touch your foot to the ground, you have to touch your mallet next to the center of the court to be allowed back in play.

“Like contact” (including bike-to-bike, body-to-body, mallet-to-mallet) is allowed.

What to Know about Missoula Bike Polo Core Team

On a Sunday morning, a group of four boys rode their bikes and plunged forward. The sound of the brakes squeaking and we see traces of grinding wheels on the concrete brick floor. These 4 people are fighting over a ball to goal. They are members of the Missoula Bike Polo team: Dave Tenney, Mitchell Whitener, Edward Francis, and Jeremy Haas. And this place is the UM garage parking, where the wind whistles, creeps through concrete columns and walls and is where they come to play Hardcourt Bike Polo every Sunday. For Francis, he calls this sport hockey on bicycles.

Missoula Bike Polo takes its name from the land of Missoula. The group was formed by accident when a person discovered the sport online. He found it quite funny, so he decided to invite his friends to try it out in a parking lot. From there, they became the founding members of the Missoula Bike Polo team. They have posted on Craigslist with the desire to call for new players. Currently, they only need to spread the word and talk to each other to have more members join.

Francis, a key member of Missoula Bike Polo, is a seafood distributor in the town. I’ve been playing this sport for over 8 years. Because he was Hardcourt Bike Polo, he equipped himself with shin pads and armor. After a long time with many collisions and falls, the paint was heavily scratched. He shared that he often wears armor more than other friends, but this is also the reason that he often crashes.

Another member who has played for more than 7 years is the Whitener, a delivery driver. Despite his large body, he still manipulates very quickly and can weave flexibly between other players.

The oldest player is Haas, a seamster. He has been playing for 11 years and has been a participant in Missoula since its inception. The other key member, Tenney, has been playing hardcourt Bike Polo for 3 years.

Hardcourt Bike Polo in London: The Great 2012

Hardcourt Bike Polo reminds us of guys dressed in nostalgia, riding horses running on a green meadow. These aristocratic images often belong to Europe in general and the United Kingdom in particular. Bike Polo, after being urbanized, has become a hardcourt version that plays on parks, cement platforms, and more.

After holding in Geneva, the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship 2012 was moved to London, the beautiful capital of England. In addition, Hell’s Belles, a women’s tournament has also been held here. It can be said that 2012 has been a strong year of this sport in England.

A representative of the London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association shared that this sport is gradually becoming popular and receiving much attention. Official tournaments replace random and fun matches. Two international tournaments listed above took place in 3 days with the participation of 84 teams. Therefore, the tournament attracted major sponsors such as Urban Outfitters or Le Coq Sportif, which enables them to move to a more stable website. The scale of the matches will also be larger for the stands, the big screen showing the score and the live stream on social networks.

However, it was a bit strange when Hardcourt Bike Polo was only popular from 2000 onwards. Meanwhile, the traditional version had a golden age that appeared on the official list of competitions at the 1908 London Olympics. In addition, Hardcourt Bike Polo was first played in Seattle but most popular in London. When organizing the development of projects in schools, this sport is growing stronger.

Since 2012, Jon’s team has been trying its best to create a national association, not just London. To do this, they must receive Sport England recognition through achievement, organizational structure and funding.

The tournament in London attracted a lot of female players, even girls from the Americas. They compete, make friends and become teammates in the same team. The girls performed were not inferior to the boys

Funny Hardcourt Bike Polo in Newport

Have you ever come across images of bicyclists on hard green surfaces? In their hands are mallets, which are used to hit a small orange ball. That is the hardcourt bike polo, an interesting sport.
Why is hardcourt bike polo called so interesting? Because the nature of the sport is competitive. However, hardcourt bike polo is more communal and entertaining than competitive. Scoring in this sport is not so important. Mostly, players are relaxed and entertained after a stressful working time with their friends.


Take Newport Bike Polo team at Howland Park as a typical example. They meet in this question every Tuesday. At 6 pm, they enjoyed the wonderful moments here with friends. And if you love this sport you will be absolutely welcome at any time. Players in the team are mostly pedicab drivers, sailors, boat captains, etc.
Hardcourt Bike Polo has only been introduced to Newport for 3 years. The people who have organized this sport here are Liza Burkin and Tyson Bottenus. They once visited New Zealand and came across a group of hardcourt bike polo players in Dunedin. Attracted by the sport, they learned the rule and played it in Newport.
The couple even made the sport so popular here that they were supported to attend the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships. This tournament will be held in Timaru.
Bottenus calls his friends at Boston club big brothers. These club members have been mentors for the Newport team since 2017. Boston club has been playing Hardcourt Bike Polo since 2006 and has a lot of experience. After much effort, the Newport team organized the tournament on its own, which attracted more than 30 hardcourt bike polo players from New York, Boston and Maine.
The protective issue in hardcourt bike polo is extremely important because players can fall off the bike at any time. In addition, this sport also has a lot of other complicated rules like not setting foot on the ground, etc.

How Did Hardcourt Bike Polo Attract An Over 30-Year-Old Office Lady?

Jenn Gallup is a 40-year-old office manager. From 7 years ago, she showed her great passion for the unique sport: Hardcourt Bike Polo.

In the first Hardcourt Bike Polo in her professional career, she experienced a crash. However, the strong girl overcame the panic and continued to laugh while riding her beloved bicycle. Ever since that exciting start, she’s addicted to this new sport. She loved steering wheel turns, pounced on the ball and scored.

She and her teammates played on old tennis courts in the typical summer heat and moved into the garages in the cold winter. That’s what Hardcourt Bike Polo is! Never play on the soft grass like traditional bike polo. Therefore, they have the name hardcourt. Players can not avoid bruises and scratches. However, it is also an attractive point of competition for this sport. Hardcourt Bike Polo has increased in popularity and even professional leagues across the region and around the world have been held.

The match begins with a shout. The two teams on both sides put their entire focus on the ball in the middle of the pitch. After the shout “3-2-1 Polo!” loudly, immediately they rode the car to start the race. The pace of this sport is directly proportional to the degree of danger. They need to equip virtual helmets, face cage, shin guards and elbow pads. However, there are some tough players who need nothing but a competitive sports spirit.

Up to now, bicycles are often the companion of young people on the way to school. However, when you see them playing Hardcourt Bike Polo, you will be surprised. You will think “What is that ??!!!” and you’re sure those players must have a natural talent to ride on bikes and to hit the ball at the same time.

For players, Hardcourt Bike Polo is challenging and also fun which enables them to relieve stress. In addition, one of the best things about this sport is the teamwork.

Hardcourt Bike Polo in New Zealand

Hardcourt Bike Polo is becoming more and more popular all over the world, including New Zealand. The World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship was once held in this country. Here are the famous Hardcourt Bike Polo Clubs in New Zealand.

New Zealand is famous for many attractive sport tourism elements such as cricket, racing, online casinos NZ, etc. If you have a chance to visit this country, let’s watch a bike polo match. Unlike the grass version that has been around for 100 years, Hardcourt Bike Polo has only recently emerged. The sport first came to Auckland in 2008 and then spread across the continent. Currently, there are countless teams and tournaments throughout the year.

Auckland Bike Polo

The team was originally formed to entertain with sports activities. Auckland Bike Polo members usually gather at the tennis courts (Beresford and Howe Street) every Sunday afternoon. Look for Thirsty Dog and you’ll see Auckland team. If there is no event at Silo Park then the team will play there on Sunday. Friday, Auckland Bike Polo plays at Mr Albert War Memorial Reserve at 6:30 pm. To update the schedule, follow our Facebook page.

Christchurch Hardcourt Bike Polo

Follow Bridle or Port Hills to Heathcote Domian, you will meet this friendly and likable team. They play bike polo for fun and socializing and meeting new people.

Timaru Bike Polo

This is one of the most famous Hardcourt Bike Polo Club in New Zealand in particular and the whole world in general. They are the trend leader in this sport in this country. Timaru is also the host of the 2016 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship.

Wellington Bike Polo

Wellington has its own rules as each team only has 3 people, you have to cap your handlebars and helmets. They usually play at Aro Vallet Community Center at 4pm every Sunday. You just need to bring your bike to join because they have prepared spare mallets.