Chronicles of a Bike Polo Rookie (Part One)

literallyoverthemoon —  January 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

We welcomed a steady stream of new Polo players in Glasgow during 2012, and one of these newbies, Matt, has been chronicling his experiences embarking upon his new favourite sport, which you can read in this ongoing series of posts.

We’re always keen to get new people playing polo, and just like Matt, all you need to do is come along and have a go.


Polo? On Bicycles?!

Its not every day you see a group of cyclists tearing around in a big metal cage, swinging sticks, and launching a ball at each other, but it was this day, and it was interesting enough to make me stop and have a look. As I realised what was really going on, I couldn’t help but smile. These guys are playing polo…on bicycles!

That was it. I went home, opened google, and spent the rest of my night reading about this fascinating sport that was rejected from the Olympics after its debut in 1908 only to be picked up by Seattle bike messengers decades later as a way of chillaxing between shifts. It didn’t take too long for word to spread and there are now hundreds of clubs springing up in cities all over the world!

After a bit of digging I discovered the group I’d seen did most of their organising through the Glasgow Fixed Gear and Single Speed forum, and decided I would jump on and ask if I could play. Of course, they said yes.


I turned up for my first go at bike polo early (first impressions an’ that). Too early. No one was around, so I went for a quick cycle round the block doing that thing I do where I go from “They’ll be here soon” via “Maybe I’ve got the wrong day” to “I bet they didn’t like the way I typed and went to play elsewhere“. Thankfully, when I got back to the court, there was a frightening looking bearded fellow standing at the court. James (who’s not as frightening as the beard would suggest) nicely explained the rules while I helped him clear litter from the court. Then others arrived; there were various facecages, custom bikes, homemade mallets, and wheel covers while all I had was my second hand bike that I bought for cycling to work. Needless to say, everyone was very nice, letting me borrow a mallet and playing slowly so I would at least have some fun. Bike polo is quite a bit harder than it looks, my foot touched the ground (not allowed) more than my mallet hit the ball (the aim) but overall it was fun, and I did score a goal that night.

I left determined to come back, and I did. After my second night I bought my very own polo bike from one of the guys, and by the following week I had bought components and built my own mallet! Of course it didn’t stop there, I continued to play and learn and keep up with the latest in polo news. That’s when I discovered there were plans to create an official association for hardcourt bike polo in Glasgow…

– Matt



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