Machine Politics vs L'Équipe, August 2010. Photo by Steph Simcox
About Hardcourt Bike Polo
Bike polo has been 'invented' dozens of times. Whenever and wherever bikes have been popular, cyclists have picked up mallets of one kind or another, and hit balls while riding. The first bike polo on record was in the 1890s in Ireland, on a traditional polo field. The sport soon spread to North America and was played in leagues in along the Atlantic seaboard. But with the First World War and the rise of the automobile, cycling culture waned and bike polo along with it. Since then, we have seen several resurgences of bike polo played on grass in North America, Europe, and South Asia.
In the late 1990s, a group of bike messengers in Seattle started messing around with a ball and some homemade mallets, and a new incarnation of bike polo was born. Played on roofs, parking lots and tennis courts, this incarnation spread slowly through the bike messenger scene, picking up steam with the explosion in popularity of fixed gears and single speeds. It was christened with the name "hardcourt bike polo" in 2007. Eventually the sport eclipsed the bike messenger alleycat circuit, and it is now played in 400+ cities in over 50 countries, with hundreds of tournaments being held every year. The history is still being written, but you might want to check out these three threads where current players have written their take on it.
The League of Bike Polo was created in late Spring 2008, just when hardcourt bike polo was starting to explode around the world. At the time, there were about 25 cities with active bike polo clubs, and MySpace was the main way of announcing tournaments, debating rules, and checking out what was going on in other cities. Although LOBP is perhaps best known among polo players for its forums, its most popular features are the tournament and club listings, and the polo bike gallery and blogs.
Kevin Walsh created the site while playing polo in Madison Wisconsin, and is now based in Toronto. He's had help moderating the site, especially when travelling to polo tournaments, from Nick. For the first year, LOBP lived at bikepolo.ca.