The basics of bike polo

Hardcourt bike polo is a fairly young sport, and doesn’t share many traits with the horse sport with which it shares a name.

The sport emerged from the fixed-gear courier scene the mid-2000’s, but the sport, and community, have diverged somewhat since then. While the sport is still fairly true to its DIY roots, there are now large international competitions and a small cottage industry of equipment manufacturers.

At its simplest, bike polo is an semi-contact bicycle sport, in which teams of three attempt to score 5 goals, played on a hard surface.

The basic rules:

  • Don’t put your foot down – if your foot touches any horizontal surface you must remove yourself from play, and ‘tap out’ your mallet on a marker at the side of the court, allowing you to re-enter play
  • Three people a side, and first to five wins
  • Like on like contact – mallet on mallet, bike on bike, body on body. Bike polo is a semi-contact sport
  • Goals must be scored with a shot – you can only score by shooting with the capped or open end of a mallet – pushing the ball with the longest surface of the mallet doesn’t count, and is called a shuffle
  • Goal posts one bike width apart
  • Don’t be a dick – we’re all here to have fun

The official ruleset has grown massively in the last few years, to reflect the competition at the top of the sport.  You can read the latest ruleset here – but all you need to know to get started are the rules above.