Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ESPN: Its only a matter of time

By Dan Murphy
Special to Page 2

Bike PoloBruce Carver Competitors strike a ball while deftly riding a bike on asphalt. No, it isn't too easy.

MADISON, Wis. -- Imagine beer, bikes and polo meeting on asphalt and you'll start to get an idea of what hard-court bike polo is all about.

This little-known sport is an incredibly distant relative of horse polo -- but without any of the gentility. Cut-offs and T-shirts replace the more formal riding pants and tails; merciless hecklers serve as fans; worn asphalt tennis courts replace finely manicured polo pitches; and oozing scabs are a sign of a game well-contested. Oh, and tattoos, while not required, are certainly encouraged.

Welcome to the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships, in which 66 three-man teams competed over the weekend for a chance to play at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, in August.

"To be good at this you have to be both good on your bike, and also have an understanding of athletics in general," said Jonny Hunter, the NAHBPC organizer. "You see a lot of hockey players, lacrosse and soccer players. It's a mix of what we jokingly call 'bike jocks.' "

"The Odds" won the tournament, putting the final game out of reach on a last-minute breakaway goal by Philadelphia's Mark Capriotti. He and his teammates, Chris Roberts and Nick Vaughn, survived three grueling, humid July days of competition (and booze-soaked nights) to win $3,600, which is intended for use on plane fare to the World Championships.

The championship was contested at something less than a pristine athletic venue. Ragged tennis courts on the outskirts of Madison were ringed by small plywood walls, while fans, high on Gatorade and Miller High Life, were enthusiastic.

Teams with names like "Stickmata" and "Bourbonic Plague" represented 44 cities. And the sport has clubs throughout Europe, East Asia, Australia and South America, as well as the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Bike Crowd
Bruce CarverHundreds of people cheered on the competitors who were playing on a tennis court.

The bikes, mostly single-speed models from a wide range of makers, are battle scarred. Homemade mallets are a shortened ski pole with a six-inch chunk of HDPE pipe on one end. Endorsement dollars haven't found the sport yet. Clearly, hard-court bike polo is about the love of the game.

"It's a good community of good people," said Kevin Walsh, a Toronto resident who oversees "Hardcourt's been around about 10 years. But there's been people playing bike polo on asphalt as long as there has been asphalt and bikes."

Matt "Messmann" Messenger is the godfather of the sport (or "grandfather," as one fan sarcastically yelled during one of Messenger's games). The 39-year-old elder statesman started playing the game with bike courier friends in Seattle in the late 1990s.

"We started inviting people out on Friday night with beer and polo," Messenger said. "Then we started throwing tournaments. In 2005, you started hearing more about bike polo. And it was 'Wow, people are really starting to play this game and taking it legit.'"

The sport isn't for the timid. With one hand on a brake and one hand on a mallet, players chase a small plastic ball. There's no touching the ground with your feet -- and if you do, you get a "tap-in" at a designated spot to be able to return to the action.

Riders weave through opponents with amazing agility, but graceful biking can, and often does, quickly turn into a painful pileup.

The tight-knit community plays hard on and off the court. Beer and bloodshot eyes were abundant at the NAHBPC.

"We have these friends that we see maybe 10 times per year," Capriotti said. "Trust me, I wonder about the philosophy of our friendships. You come here and you know everybody. It's very strange, but it's cool."

Dan Murphy is a freelance writer for Sports Media Exchange, a national freelance writing network.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FBM Bike Company Polo Specific Prototype Frame

by smccormick on July 13th, 2010

It’s finally finished and we couldn’t be happier! After about a year of begging Steve Crandall and dozens of emails and phone calls with Mike Erb, we finally got it. This first prototype goes to Nick Vaughan, of Richmond VA. Keep your eyes out for this bike at the North American Championships in Madison WI (this weekend!) and the World Championships, in Berlin come August. You’re encouraged to find Nick and try it out and let us know what you think. This frame was hand made in Ithaca NY modeled after the Sword with some serious tweaks with bike polo in mind. A higher bottom bracket for less pedal strike during fast tight turns, slacker head tube angle for minimal toe overlap, shorter chain stays, long drop-outs for gearing options, v-brake bosses, Cinelli cable guides, longer top tube, clearance for 38mm tires and shorter wheelbase. This pictured frame does not include a gusset at the down tube but future ones will. I cannot say when this will be in production but hopefully by Fall you can order one, don’t ask me how much they will cost, I don’t know. I can tell you this is a gorgeous bike and the ride is incredibly nice. We do not have an official name for the frame, but all of us in RVA have been referring to it as the Battle Axe. Please feel free to spread the word about this frame, repost some photos, quote me etc. THIS IS A PROTOTYPE*

“It is fucking awesome!” says Nick “the bike told me that it loved me and would care to be intimate with me. I’m not a very sciency person but the geometry and science of this bike are awesome. All of the folks at FBM took all of the input that we gave them and then were all like “we are going to build a fucking awesome bike” the attention to detail shows in a very real way. This is how I want to feel on a bike.” -Nick

See you at the courts!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Halp a fraind of los marcos!

EL CHOMBO - a good friend and possible dopplergager for EL MALO - was found himself in bad askident on Thurday night. In his own words, he say

“I woke up on the pavement, spitting out teeth and blood after clearly being unconscious for an undetermined period of time….I think I may have been sideswiped by a livery car. I woke up alone and injured….poured peroxide on my face….found my teeth on the ground just by simply following the blood trail….p.s. I had a helmet on!”

Our brother is damaged and he is goig to need you for helping. Please donate money through is Paypal RIGHT NOW.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So the MKE bro's are arrested for polo, storry by Kremin

Mug shot from the in just arrest.

During a game of Sunday pick up 1o members and 1 spectator of the mke bike polo club were arrested and charged with trespassing at the O’Donnell parking structure in downtown MKE. Here’s a first hand in counter.

A black crystler rolled up 3 deep with undercover sheriffs. The sheriffs sprung out of the car instantly “every one come here and against the wall!” They count us out 11. Cop says “I thought there were 12″ Lodi had snuck out 5 mins before the bust. They tell us all that we are under arrest and will be receiving trespassing tickets $263 each. We tryed to talk our way out of it and that edabout 30 seconds. One by one we give our info and receive a ticket. We are then explained by one of the officers that we are being detained and no is under arrest his exact words are “if you are asked by a cop or employer have you ever been arrested say no.” We all got zipped tied it was explained to us that we will be going downtown to be processed and released and that it shouldn’t take too long “it’s just like a speeding ticket” they kept insuring us, except when you get a speeding ticket you don’t go to jail right?

We asked about our bikes and the old woman who was calling the shots told us that they will be taken to the Wauwatosa sub-station and we can pick them up tomorrow. For all of us our bikes are our main source of transportation and Wauwatosa is suburb of Milwaukee and is miles out from the core of the city were we all live. We pleaded with them to let us lock our bikes to a rack, no dice.

They proceed to take us over to our bags while we are handcuffed and tell us to pack up. We can’t do much with our hands behind our backs so they had to pack everything for us mixing our belongings amongst the many bags. They kept saying “damn I thought this would be much easier!” and complained how they couldn’t be listening to the Packer game in there warm car. We finally get our bags together and they start grabbing our bikes. We “say hey we haven’t told you whose is whose yet”. The woman in charge declares “it’s freezing cold and you’re worried about bikes? Fine have it your way?” So we all get a nice sticker or new spoke card identifying our bikes. They throw all of our bikes in a big bus.

Then we follow in the bus which is like a freezer at this point keep in mind its 10 degrees outside. We sit in the bus for 15 mins before moving and then we are off to the county court house. “Oh wow she didn’t turn on the heat for you guys!” The cop says as he opens the door. He rolls his eyes and helps out of the bus. We are then handcuffed to a bench and one by one they do a quick run through of our bags throwing out any food and looking for weapons. Then off to the next room, another bench with cuffs.

We sit in this room amongst true criminals. Shoulder to shoulder with thieves, drug addicts, and prostitutes. Some of us up to 8 hours, without knowing what the next step is. I was the lucky one who got called first. They took me into a room searched my bag had me sign a form of the content of my bag, and then gave me a personal pat down search. This took about a half hour. Then off to the next room where you sit on another bench and wait and wait.

They call you up for a few questions, what was the highest grade in school you achieved, missing any teeth, job, tattoos, you name it. Next its picture time. Then on to prints. Then back to the bench. Finally Brian made it through, I think to myself I have someone to talk to. There is a Shift change, 1 hour of sheriffs standing around shooting the shit. Then one player at time we watch every one get searched and make it into our room. Since our bags were so big it took some people up to 40 minutes to complete the search.

We asked numerous people what’s next for us some say “that’s not my job” or ” you’re going up stairs to a cell”. All the officers figured out that we were there for bike polo and laughed they said something along the lines of “I can’t believe that the sheriffs would waste every ones time with a book and release for a simple citation”. After a few hours they stop laughing and are pissed that we are still coming through while the line is being backed up with real criminals.

Hours and hours go by and at 2:30am. I was released. I was arrested at 5:30pm. I was lucky to be the first released some didn’t make it out until 4am. In the end they arrested 4 college students, 4 college graduates an Artist, 2 bicycle mechanics and new player to find absolutely nothing. No drugs no warrants, not a damn thing. They wasted our time and the city’s over a simple game that we are passionate about, bike polo.

We will be taking this to court in February and are currently taking any legal advice or help. I think the true next step after we settle the tickets is getting a city sanctioned polo court. What are your thoughts?

- Eric

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This will be the latest MKE item that the Hero squad will be sporting this season.

Here are some of the stats on it:
Made from 7075 T6 Series 4 Aluminum, these poles are constructed with the strongest commercially available, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and are twice as strong as the industry standard, rated to 75,000 PSI.

More info at Milwaukee Bicycle Co.