The Cowboys, winners of the 2012 Jan E. Wendland
Memorial: George Galvan, Zak Smith, Will Traver, Will Tankard, and Samira
What do you get when you combine the low-impact aerobic workout of cycling,
the challenge of a racket sport, and the camaraderie of
a team sport? Bicycle Polo!
Polo is thought to be the oldest team sport
known to man, dating from the days when Persian warriors first
rode horses into battle. Bicycle polo evolved a bit later, having
had to wait for some clever chap to invent the modern bicycle. Polo
has long been known as “the king of games,” but the money and skills
required have greatly limited its popularity. Bicycle polo has a much
broader appeal, since almost anyone can ride a bike, not to mention
afford one. Anyone, male or female, aged nine to ninety, can play
A Unique Combination: Cycling, Racket Sport, and Team Sport
Bicycle polo combines three key elements:
cycling, racket sports, and team play. Most active people currently
enjoy at least one of those by itself (e.g. mountain biking,
tennis, or basketball); imagine how much fun it is to unite all
The picture above was taken at the 2001
World Bicycle Polo Championships in London. It shows the French
Captain, Jean-Mickaël Languille, doing a wheelie while
defending against the Canadian #1, Harvey Barton. (Unlike the
clearly posed wheelie picture on a certain other website, this one
was taken during actual competition.)
Bicycle Polo: More Fun Than You’ve Ever Had on a Bike
Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic
exercise known: it is low-impact, and involves very little risk
of injury if you can avoid crashing. The only sure way to do
so, however, is to ride a stationary bike, and that’s not much fun.
Riding on the road is nice and scenic, but most roads were not designed
for cyclists, and many motorists resent sharing “their” territory.
Then there are the dogs, who seem to like nothing better than chasing
Mountain biking is also great fun, and the risks involved are part of
the thrill. Even so, finding a good place to ride is not always easy, and
often involves taking your bike a fair distance into the hinterlands.
Bicycle polo can be played on any soccer or football field, or even a lacrosse
or field hockey field, if you happen to have one nearby. The level grass
surface requires only one gear ratio, and it is a lot more forgiving than
pavement or rocks if you fall. You can spend almost unlimited hours riding
in a relatively small area, since the thrill of the game makes it almost
impossible to get bored.
Bicycle Polo as a Racket Sport
Racket sports are extremely popular, primarily
because of the challenge of the hand-eye coordination involved.
The most popular by far are tennis and golf; the former gives
you a good workout only if you are really good at it, and the
latter only if you don’t use a cart.
Tennis involves a lot of stopping, starting, twisting, and turning, all
of which can be tough on your legs, especially on a hard court.
In contrast, bicycle polo incorporates the smooth motion of
pedaling. You have to play golf for hours just to hit the ball
eighty or ninety times; you can get that much action in a half-hour
of bike polo.
in London: Umpire Tim Dobson (England), Didier Derly, Stéphane Paris,
Sébastien Masurier, Stéphane Malandain, Jean-Mickaël
Languille,Jean-Pierre Malandain, Harvey Barton, Peter Furmedge,
Geoffrey Nielsen, Bill Matheson, and Umpire Dr. Dardi (India).
Rules of Bicycle Polo
Bicycle Polo Equipment
Bike Polo Players
Top Ten Lists
Contact the BPAA