The unique world that is: Hard-court Bike Polo
If you haven’t seen a hard-court bike polo, you are missing out on one of the most unique ways to use your bicycle. Believe it or not, bike polo was invented in 1891 and has been building in excitement for over a hundred years! An urban or “hard-court” version was made popular in the early 90’s by the bike messenger community who had time between deliveries and is now played in over 30 countries!
Such a unique sport in its own right, Bike Polo tends to appeal to cyclists looking for something different. Nearly two years ago, several cyclists who knew one another from Jackson’s monthly Community Ride got together and decided that’s exactly what they wanted. When Jackson Bike Polo started, barely anyone knew how to play, but everyone wanted to try! And, try they did! Jackson Bike Polo is Mississippi’s first ever bike polo club with regular pick-up games held weekly at a city park in South Jackson (and anywhere else a large, flat surface can be found!) And, although a fairly new group, Jackson Bike Polo has already hosted clubs from several other states and traveled through-out the southeast for friendly pick-up games and tournaments; even recently returning from the Harcourt regional championship games in Athens, Georgia this June!
So, how does it work?
Bike polo is a team sport made up of three players per team. Two teams play 10 to 15 minute games or first team to five. It’s played on bicycles geared for quick bursts of speed and maneuvering in small spaces with mallets, a ball, and nets as goals. This is typically done on smooth surfaces such as tennis courts or basketball courts with fencing or barriers to help contain the ball. The strategy and pace can be similar to soccer or street hockey. It can be compared to horse polo but on bikes with smaller boundaries and a hard surface. Bike polo is a great spectator sport and lends itself to friendly socializing on the side lines and between games.
Although a relatively young sport, Bike Polo has grown in popularity and participation as well as becoming more organized on a national and international level including national organizations such as the North American Hard court Bike Polo Association and the League of Bike Polo!
The club in Jackson is hoping to grow and welcomes anyone interested to join in on the fun! Let the organizers know ahead of time and they’ll even bring an extra bike for you to borrow! And, the fun doesn’t stop in Jackson, there has also been an effort to start a central Mississippi Bike Polo club in the Hattiesburg area and there are well established clubs in both Memphis and Mobile for those interested in playing from northern Mississippi or the Coast.
Check out the Jackson Polo Page on Facebook!
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to let us know how it goes!!