7 Things You Don't Know About Hardcourt Bike Polo | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

7 Things You Don't Know About Hardcourt Bike Polo

March 26, 2014

Hardcourt Bike Polo

photo courtesy of Alexandra Busko-Piñero

You might not have heard of bike polo, but it has enjoyed rapid growth in the past decade. It's inclusive, has simple rules (at least for a pick-up game), and requires a limited investment. It’s very exciting to watch but takes some serious skills to handle the bike and play the game at the same time.

What exactly is bike polo? I’m glad you asked.

1. Bike polo is an actual sport

No, seriously. It’s been around in some form since 1891, when an Irish fellow named Richard J. Mecredy invented “horseless polo.” The sport's resurgence took hold in America and around the world when Seattle residents began playing Hardcourt Bike Polo (bike polo played on an asphalt court as opposed to a grass field) in 1999.

2. It’s played around the globe

There are 473 clubs in 56 countries spread across every continent.

3. Bike polo was featured in the Olympics

"Cycle polo” was featured as a demonstration sport in the 1908 Olympics—Ireland beat Germany for the gold. Unfortunately, the popularity of bike polo declined during World Wars I and II and didn’t gain steam again until the 1980’s.

4. There’s an actual Hardcourt Bike Polo World Championships

Started in 2009 in Philadelphia, a Hardcourt Bike Polo World Championship has been held every year since. Teams qualify by winning regional and national tournaments. Last year The Beavers (San Francisco) beat Call Me Daddy (Paris, France) 5-1 for the championship.

5. Bike Polo has only a few simple rules

  • Games are played with three players on a team, with no specific positions.
  • To score a goal, you must hit the ball with one of the ends of your mallet, not the side (known as a shuffle).
  • If you touch your foot to the ground ("foot-down"), you must touch your mallet near the center of the court ("tap in") to be allowed back in play.
  • “Like contact" (bike-to-bike, mallet-to-mallet, body-to-body) is allowed.

That’s kind of it to get going, although a slightly larger list of rules can be found here. The official rules for the North American HardCourt Bike Polo Association can be found here,—it’s a heavy read if you’re not in the know. Go watch a game and you’ll get it.

6. Gear is built specifically for hardcourt bike polo

Gone are the days of getting a $20 mountain bike and a wooden mallet off Craigslist and calling it a day. Bike polo equipment is now a burgeoning industry with new technology emerging yearly. Many independent bike manufacturers fabricate small-run frames (such as Rustbelt Welding), companies supplying mallets and protective gear (Fixcraft), and even specific footwear for the sport (the DZR Marco). With that said, it’s still very much a DIY-type endeavor, with players innovating and using the equipment they have and making it work. There’s still plenty of room for growth and innovation.

7. Bike polo is all-inclusive

Every type of person is welcome to play bike polo. Young or old, man or woman, gay or straight, and everything in between, bike polo is a very progressive sport. Some teams are co-ed, but you don't have to look far to find all-male or all-female squads. A few female-only tournaments are held—e.g., Ladies Army and Hell’s Belles, to name two.

You probably have a bike polo club in your city and don’t know it. You can get more information, including lists of clubs and tournaments, at the League Of Bike Polo. Check out a game some time. You won’t be disappointed.

Jon Bobel
- Jon Bobel is the UI Designer & Developer at STACK Media. An early interest in computers and a love of art combined to drive one...
Jon Bobel
- Jon Bobel is the UI Designer & Developer at STACK Media. An early interest in computers and a love of art combined to drive one...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,513
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 16,062,267
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 542,814

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Secret to Olympic Athletes' World-Class Performance

Athletic Standard Will Rank Your Raw Athleticism

WATCH: 7-Foot High School Junior Has Point Guard Skills

Sixers Rookie K.J. McDaniels' Sick One-Handed Throw-Down

WATCH: The Kicker Did What?

Young QB Scores on Hilariously-Named Trick Play

Miami LB Gets Flagged For Doing Push-Ups, Intercepts Pass Anyway

Pro Athletes Are Way More Into Bowling Than You Think

WATCH: Russell Westbrook's Fast Break in High School

WATCH: Amazing Run or Horrible Tackling? You Make the Call

WATCH: High School Team's Crazy, Creative Onside Effort

This 5-Year-Old Boy Is Way Stronger Than You

WATCH: DeMarco Murray Scores TD After TD in High School

5 Pro Coaches You Need to Pay Attention To in 2015

7 Superstars Who Had Awful Rookie Seasons

The World's Tallest Quarterback Is a High School Senior

Air Force Water Boy Takes His Job Very Seriously

Sammy Watkins Talks About His First Year in the NFL

We've Got the NFL, But Poland Has Volleyball

WATCH: QB Hurdles Defender Into End Zone

The 5 Most Devalued Positions in Sports

How NOT to Bench Press

WATCH: This Block by K.J. McDaniels Is Like a Volleyball Spike

Developing the Pitcher-Catcher Relationship

VIDEO: Steph Curry's Absurd Long-Range Shot

WATCH: 11-Year-Old Girl QB Schools Her Opponents

WATCH: The Most Breathtaking Mountain Bike Video Ever

WATCH: Proof You Should Always Play Through the Whistle