About Bike Polo

Bicycle Polo is a team sport, invented in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1891 by retired cyclist, Richard J. Mecredy. The sport is similar to traditional polo, except that bicycles are used instead of horses.

The Traditional Game

Traditional Bicycle Polo is played in a rectangular grass field, 150 meters by 100 meters officially.

There are 6 members (7 in France) in a team of which 4 (5 in France) are on field at a time. The other two are used as substitutes. International matches are played for a duration of 30 minutes divided into periods of 7.5 minutes each called as achukkar. Extra time can be used to determine the winner in case the scores are tied at normal time.

If a deliberate foul is committed at the vicinity of the goal, the team that is fouled is automatically given a goal. Less severe fouls are awarded 15 metre and 25 metre free hits. In the event of deliberate fouls or dangerous fouls, the umpire can issue the Yellow card (warning) and in case of repeated or severe fouls the Red card (ejection). The ejected player can be replaced by a substitute after the end of the current chukkar if the umpire allows it.

The Hardcourt Game

In recent years, an alternate form of the game known as “Hardcourt Bike Polo” or “Urban Bike Polo” has grown in popularity. In this less formal variation, teams composed of three to five players compete on tennis courts, street hockey rinks, or whatever other surfaces are available. The rules vary slightly by city.

Generally this is a faster game with 3 members on a team, no substitutions, and all members are on the court at all times. A Street Hockey ball is used and matches are played until one team scores 5 points, without playing chukkars. During tournament play a time limit, such as 10 minutes, may be used to maximize the number of tournament rounds possible during the day.

There are three core rules of play:

In the case of a ‘foot down’ or ‘dab’ (touching the ground with one’s foot) the player must “tap out” by riding to mid-court and hitting a designated area with their mallet. There is usually a tap-out located on either side of the court.

In order to score, the offensive player must hit the ball across the goal line using the narrow end of the mallet – this is called a “shot” or “hit” – hitting the ball across the goal line with the wide end of the mallet is called a “shuffle”.

When your team scores a goal, you wait back in your end for the other team (player or ball, whichever comes first) to cross half before engaging in play again.

There are three contact rules: body on body, bike on bike and mallet on mallet.

An etiquette rule is that you play others as hard as they play you.

Photo and content courtesy of Wikipedia and epmd.

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