Essentials for Newbies

Hello newcomers! Welcome to bike polo. You enjoyed your first sessions but you feel now it’s time to get your own gear and to know more about your new hobby? This post is just for you.

ESSENTRAIL

  • Gear & Equipment:

For newbies, we usually recommend coming out few times and using our loaner bikes and mallets before investing. Once you’re more comfortable on the bike and hitting the ball around (sometimes before then even!) you’ll realize the need to make some adjustments to your setup. Here are some basics and links to find them.

Bike parts and sporting equipment can be expensive, so good used stuff goes quickly. Stay updated on Facebook to see what other polo players are selling.

>> Second hand polo market of North America <<

If you’re not sure about something, ask anyone in the club!

  • The Bike:

bikeA good place to start is a single speed with a low ratio (around 1.7 / 1.8) with a front break (either V-brake or disk). 26” or 700cc wheels are common. You can use whatever bike frame but a short wheelbase will be more suitable. Track bike frames are usually good. Nowadays, you can also buy polo specific framesets. Here are 2 solid brands we recommend that sell polo frame + fork for about $500:

For the wheels, the more spokes you have the better. It will keep your rim stronger and will save few goals by blocking the ball better. Some players use wheel covers to prevent that.

If you use a disc break you will need to buy a “disc guard” for safety reasons. There are lots of good options there. Facebook is the best place to look for those.

The components are mostly mountain bike parts that you can find everywhere. Stem, bar, seatpost, crankset, etc.

The Bicycle Collective is also a great option to find used parts for cheap! Find them in Salt Lake, Ogden, and Provo.

Again, ask if you have questions – and we know you will!

 

  • The Mallet:

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A bike polo mallet has 3 parts: head + shaft + grip.

  • Head: it can have different lengths depending on what you like. Shapes can also vary slightly. Almost always heads have one capped end and one open end.
  • Shaft: it can be light and more fragile or a little bit heavier and more durable. You will cut it at your favorite length. 40”/ 1m is about the average.
  • Grips: you can wrap the handle with hockey tape, bar tape, tennis racket tape, or use a golf grip. It is very important to plug the end of the shaft with a plug or a quarter and tape.

For mallets but also for other bike polo specifics items – our friend Jordan from Portland owns HECKLERS ALLEY. He sells bike polo stuff from different brands.

>> HECKLERS ALLEY <<

He distributes many brands but here are some of the major ones:

  • Fixcraft : The biggest name in bike polo and for good reason. The’ve pioneered a lot, if not most, bike polo equipment. Heads, shafts, balls, and some bike parts are the main staples.
  • Roger Bike Polo: the new French brand that sells mostly mallet heads but also grips and a few accessories. David is the North American ambassador and he says the “Simone” head is loved by our club and beyond. Ask him about it!
  • Perro del Mallet : Owned by our friend from Spain Alejandro Carrillo. Shafts, heads, wheels, etc.!
  • You can find some stuff on Amazon but stay away from the eighthinch stuff. Pretty old tech, we have much better equipment now (see above).

As you will have seen on these websites – the price will be about $50 for a complete mallet. It’ll last you for about 6 months to 1 year depending on often you play.

Finally, you can still make your own with ski poles and gas pipe (old school!), that will be the cheapest option. But they won’t be as light and as durable as the manufactured ones.

  • The Protective Gear:

Helmets are pretty much mandatory. In tournaments they are, and highly recommended during pickup. It can be a basic bike, hockey or hurling helmet. You can find these online pretty easily but you can also check out Play It Again Sports on 700E 2100S for used stuff. We recommend protecting your face – hockey and hurling helmets can come with face-mask while bike helmets need a DIY process – ask Jimmy and Tina for any advice.

Gloves are not mandatory but highly recommended. 2 kinds:

  • Lacrosse/Hockey – here is the cheapest option and here for a large choice!
  • Mountain bike/tactical – here a solid option

Then this is up to you but as you start we also recommend knee pads and elbow pads.

 

  1. The Community

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The Bike Polo community is really solid. We are probably about 300 players in the U.S., about the same in Europe and a bit less in South America, Asia and Oceania. Not sure about Africa.

So yes – we love play bike polo! But we also hang out together in SLC and almost anywhere else bike polo happens. We mostly use social media as far communication. Facebook is the major channel. Our club has a few:

 

  1. The Organization

There is no world organizing body so far. However, in North America, Bike Polo is supported and led by the North American Hardcourt (NAH). Alias, a friend and player from D.C. is our current president. He works with 5 other players from all over the country as a team with objectives such as growing the sport in NAM, helping with the North American championships organization, improving the ruleset, etc.

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You will find the official ruleset here but for now stick with the basic rules. A lot of these are mostly used for tournaments. Also you will learn them step by step by coming to pickup.

Finally – Beehive Bike Polo Club is part of the South West region. And our Frenchie David is the region rep. You can like that group for regional info:

>> South West Region Bike Polo <<

 

  1. The Tournaments

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You’ll find all kinds of events all around the country and all over the world. From a newbie tournament in California to World championships in New-Zealand.

We’ve organized a few local tourneys in SLC, usually on a Saturday or a Sunday, so stay tuned if you want to play or just hang out. We are also planning a bigger event for the polo courts are ready. No matter your experience level – you can participate!

Playing tournaments is one of the best way to improve your skills since you play new people all weekend. However, you will have to travel. But this is not bad, right? The closest tourneys for us happen in California (SW region) and Denver (South Central Region).

Here are 2 pages to follow to know more about tournaments:

A good thing about tournaments is also the travel aspect. This is unique to bike polo. You can register for a tourney in Puerto Rico (next Feb.), buy your tickets and get a couch at a local player’s place. Take few days off and go explore the surroundings. You can do that in NYC, Chicago, Portland or even further in France, Germany, Australia, NZ, etc. Our community is pretty small but it is the most welcoming one!

If you want to push a little further you can get ready for next Regionals in spring 2018 – open to everyone. Then will follow Nationals and Worlds but only accessible through the qualification process (or Wildcards).

 

  1. Be the real polo geek

– If you like Instagram you can follow players, teams, clubs, etc.:

  • Beehive Bike Polo account + individual players
  • NAH
  • Fixcraft
  • NYC Bike Polo Club
  • Houston Bike Polo
  • Madison Bike Polo
  • GRbikepolo
  • Bikepolove
  • Call Me Daddy
  • Mosquito Bike Polo
  • Mohawks Bike Polo
  • Roger Bike Polo
  • Hecklers Alley

– If you want to check good videos:

 

And again – feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

Welcome to our community – we hope you will love it!

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We need your help.

Hello! Our club received a grant from the city of Salt Lake last year to put towards building some courts. WE ARE ECSTATIC! So after many years of playing all over the valley, Beehive Bike Polo is looking for a permanent place to call home 🙂

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Our proposed site are the 2 tennis courts at Jordan Park in Glendale. The courts have been underused for a while since the resurfacing of 8 tennis courts just a few minutes away. We plan to use the grant money to repave the existing surface and set up permanent boards. Our aim is to create a safe, open space for the community and provide diversity in sports across the wasatch front.

This is where you come in.

The city put out a survey (which you can find here) to gather feedback on our proposal. It takes about 5 minutes and it would mean the world to us if you filled it out.

We have big dreams and a home of our own is a huge step towards our vision for bike polo in Salt Lake City.

 

Sincerely, Beehive Bike Polo Club

 

 

 

Find our full proposal here.

 

 

Player Spotlight: Gibson “The many-named god” Greene

Giburetsu. Giberacci. Gibraltar. ジブレツ. Scorpion King. Giblets. Today we highlight the guy with maybe the most drive and passion for polo. As part of the club growth we experienced in 2015, Giblets came to the club with a ton of enthusiasm and good vibes. He works hard to be a team player, and an asset to the club. Even though he feels sometimes like he doesn’t, it’s been really great seeing him progress as a player, and even greater to see him traveling to tournaments. Keep up the good work Gibson!
We give you shit because we love you.

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How long have you been playing?
I think I’ve been playing for around 10 months now.

What’s your rig?
I have a pink steel frame from China with a lot of weird bends in it. It has a dodici polo fork running a TRP HY/RD disc brake and a Max Power disc guard. I have a milk mallet with a 4.5” head and some grip tape on the capped end to give me the illusion that I can get top shelf shots.

How did you get into Bike Polo?
I learned about polo from my friend Owen probably about a year and a half ago. I didn’t stay because of a certain personality. Then in September I went to Interbike and during that time there was a polo tournament called Crank Gamble which a couple of my friends were playing in. After watching two days of intense polo and one of the teams from our club winning the whole thing; I was hooked.

Why Bike Polo?
At Crank Gamble I saw something beautiful occur; a sense of camaraderie and inclusiveness filled the air. I remember when I first started to get involved in the bike community I had this same sense of awe but with polo it was so much more. Even though I didn’t play I was just as involved as the players and everyone made me feel welcome. The bike polo community is incredible and the sport is the most enjoyable activity I have been apart of. Also being a cyclist, I have always felt as it it was an individual effort even when apart of group rides while bike polo is quite the opposite of that; the best teams are the teams that play the best with each other. Without teamwork, you can’t win.

giblets-9

Any words of advice to newcomers?
Play with Tina. She was huge in my willingness to come back and play, she was so supportive of all my efforts and never gave up on me. As I kept coming back, I realized everyone had that mentality and always wanted to see you achieve. Be open to feedback and see both sides of the picture, what you did well and what you need to improve on. Have fun too; that’s important.

Where do you think the sport will be in 5 years?
I’m not sure where the sport as a whole will be in five years but as a club I foresee us having a court of our own. I think if the bike polo scene is Salt Lake continues on the trend that I see we will be doing just fine.

Is there anything you would change to improve the sport?
Cameras on all three courts at Worlds. That’s it. I like how it is.

Favorite Bike Polo memory?
Going to Grand Junction and being able to play with all the folks I saw slaying at Crank Gamble. I was able to connect with more people in the polo scene and also solidify my relationships with my club. Also the drive back with Jimmy and Nico was dope.

giblets-2

What do you do for work?
I got to school at Westminster. I’m majoring in English with a minor in Film Studies.

What do you for fun?
I like to overanalyze movies, recieve stupid nicknames, clean my apartment occasionally, hit balls with sticks and lay in bed eating a whole box of chocolates.

Gibson lives in downtown Salt Lake with a bunch of guitars.

-JA

Photos by Gabriel Mejia. Follow him on Instagram @gabemejia

 

The Buzz

How about 2016 so far? Pretty good! We’ve had a ton of coverage in print and online media, lots of tournament attendances, some podiums, and with our strong 3 nights per week, who could ask for more? Check out the following links/videos for the latest in club news.

Back in February, Les Beehive Boys travelled to Timaru, New Zealand for the World Championship, in which they made the top 16! Gabe made two videos of the whole trip.

 

Les Boys’ trip to NZ was highlighted n page 3 of the March 2016 Issue of Cycling Utah and in the May Issue of Slug Magazine.

In possibly the biggest news of our club, we hosted our first big tournament! Hopefully you were there, but on April 9-10 we hosted the Wasatch Open, a part of the Fixcraft Groundwork Series. Teams from all over, including Canada, came to play for the trophy. Mr. Done made this cool recap video.

Sponsors: FixcraftDZR ShoesVelocitySaturday CyclesMilk Bike PoloWelding on FireKryptoniteGreen BikeGSI OutdoorsLed by LiteGreen GuruNalgeneTimbuk2Crank SLCVelo City BagsUtah Food ServicesSkratch Labs

Pick up a copy of Salt Lake Magazine  to see a great article on the club and how to get involved with bike polo.

And last but not least… we’re Gephardt approved! Well, sort of haha. They made a really cool video about the club and polo in general. Check it out for some awesome local faces, and voices. Click Here to watch the video, and read the first ever (I think) bike polo poem.

-JA

 

 

Player Spotlight: Kevin “Southern Thunder” Greene

KG came to Salt Lake with his wife Turntup (Tina) and was an instant fit in the club. Fun-loving guy to the fullest, in between naps, of course. As an experienced player Kevin brought the level of bike polo in Salt Lake up to a new standard. His speed and ball handling skills make him a downright formidable opponent. The story of our friend KG continues below.

KG-10

How long have you been playing? 
I’m actually not 100% sure, Like six years?

What’s your rig? 
Pake with a Bruiser fork, and (gasp!) V-Brakes

How did you get into Bike Polo? 
Some dude from New Orleans polo posted a sketchy ad on craigslist to meet in a pizza joint parking lot. It sounded like the dumbest thing to me, but some of my friends tried it and badgered me to go for weeks. After much hesitation, I made the journey to the picklefish parking lot and was dragged out onto the court. It’s hard to explain the feeling, like maniacal joy.

Why Bike Polo?
The people, without a doubt.

KG-6

Any words of advice to newcomers?
Make sure fun is your first priority, don’t get too caught up in trying to improve your game. Ive had alot of newbs ask me like “what should i have done that game?” my guess is maybe smile more.

Where do you think the sport will be in 5 years?
Hard to say, Its kind of boring to watch on t.v. so I’m not sure about the spectator aspect (pro leagues, Olympics etc…) Honestly, I don’t think much will change. small friendly tourneys. larger scale more regulated events and so on.

Is there anything you would change to improve the sport?
It would be cool to try more players on a slightly larger court. There was a tournament in Florida that did 4v4 on a full size roller hockey court. It was actually super fun and the play-making increased I think.

Favorite Bike Polo memory?
My first tournament was insane, Our club rented a beach house in Pensacola for SESPI 2010. There were so many players from all over (Canada, Seattle, Austin etc…) I’d never seen anything like it! After that tournament polo became a huge part of my life. I also fondly recall practicing for NA’s with Bernard in a church parking lot by my house. We hung out and knocked the ball around almost every day and sometimes we’d be joined by Jacques, Tina and Porch. I also had a ridiculously good time at the polo meetup in Grand Junction. So rad.

Its also worth noting that I met my wife because of polo, but that’s more of a life memory.

KG-12

What do you do for work?
I work at the Salt Lake Bicycle Collective as a mechanic and I’m currently helping develop the incarcerated youth education program.

What do you for fun?
I like being outside. Mountain biking is a must! I also love skateboarding, even though I’m not very good at it. but then again, you are what you love, not what loves you.

KG lives with his wife Tina, cat Poptart, and dog Gertie in South Salt Lake.

-JA

All photos by Gabriel Mejia. Follow him on Instagram @gbot.media

Player Spotlight: Tina “Chicken of the Sea” Medley

Loved and feared by all, Tina needs no introduction. Her and her husband KG (another badass polo player) fit right in when they moved to SLC earlier this year, and we as a club couldn’t be happier. From starting “WTF Night” (Women, Trans, Femme) to helping newbies feel at home, Tina AKA “I’m getting too old for this shit” Medley has been an amazing addition to BBPC. Read on to find out a little more about miss “Big Sis”.

Don't be fooled, I WILL cut you

Don’t be fooled, I WILL cut you

How long have you been playing? 
I’ve been playing regularly for 7 years. (gasp!)

What’s your rig? 
Newly acquired Fixcraft Ad Astra. LOVE! It’s fast and nimble but still manages to keep me planted during the trickiest of times.

How did you get into Bike Polo? 
The year was 2006. It was winter in Milwaukee. My boyfriend played on occasion so I’d go and hang with our friends on the sidelines. No women played at the time. Freezing my ass off sitting in a parking garage wasn’t my idea of fun. My friend Meg Lee wanted to start playing and caught wind that I did too. She encouraged me to jump in some games with her and invited me to practice in parking lots. And so we did. And so we made MKE Bike Polo co-ed.
We are still great friends.

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Why Bike Polo?
Team sports, hang with buds, and drink beer. +++ All three in one go is a dream come true! Also, the polo community is awesome.

Any words of advice to newcomers?
Solo polo and practice between games. There isn’t enough time in a game to really get the hang of it.
Learn how to use your brakes in a bind without racking yourself or flying over your handlebars. That is painful, for you and for people who witness it. Ouch!
Use your peripheral. It will save you.
Don’t be so hard on yourself! If your attitude starts going south, sip on a beer and pick one thing to improve. There’s a lot going on in a game and it’s hard to work on everything at once.

Where do you think the sport will be in 5 years?
Clubs around the world will grow exponentially. More women will play. Every club will have a city-sanctioned court, with lights and electronic scoreboards. There will be kids’ polo programs so the sport will move forward with the next generation.Everyone will have brakes that work.

I’m an idealist.

Don't mind me while I hold this for days

Don’t mind me while I hold this for days

Is there anything you would change to improve the sport?
I would make checking illegal. Why hurt your friends? It usually has a poor outcome for all parties involved and is a real turn-off for new players. Maybe there should be a polo sect for people who want to kill each other.

Favorite Bike Polo memory?
My favorite bike polo memories are from Ladies Army, the North American all-womens tournament. I cannot describe how amazing it is to be surrounded by so many talented, strong, badass women from all over the world, playing this crazy sport we all love. Jeez I’m getting misty just thinking about all the heartfelt hugs.

Oh yeah, AND one time I met a special boy at a Halloween tournament in Austin, TX. I liked him because he was cute and funny. After a bunch a cheap beer and some thick Southern charm, he won me over. We’re married now.

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What do you do for work?
I’m an Account Coordinator at Jack Nadel International (a promotional advertising company).

What do you for fun?
Polo takes up most of my free time but I like doing granny stuff, like baking
and crafting. I love being outside. I love to go dancing at dives. I also just started climbing which is THE COOLEST (besides polo).

Tina lives in Sugarhouse with her husband KG, dog Gerty, and cat Pop Tart.

-JA

All photos by Gabe Mejia. Follow him on Instagram @gbot.media

Player Spotlight: Carlos “MVP” Garcia

This week’s spotlight is on burrito man himself. Carlos burst on the polo scene in Salt Lake last year and was one for the runner ups for Rookie of the Year. He has been progressing so quickly that he will be attending his first tournament next month in Las Vegas! His enthusiasm and dedication are such that he got our glorious logo tattooed on his leg. Without further ado, I present you Carlos AKA “catlos”, AKA “sadlos”, AKA “MV-fuckin-P” García.
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How long have you been playing?
I started playing bike polo in the summer of 2014 Off and on but this year I been busting ass trying to get better.

What’s your rig?
I have a specialized hard rock full rigid, rocking clipless pedals (best decision ever) and double breaks.

How did you get into Bike Polo?
Just some cool cats around town (gabe, jimmy, Anthony)

Why Bike Polo?
I love biking activities and when I found out about this I got hooked real quick. It’s intense, you gotta put a lot of effort into it and keeps you in shape if you’re bustin ass in the court.

Any words of advice to newcomers?
Keep coming, get back up when you fall, don’t forget to have fun.

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Where do you think the sport will be in 5 years?
Um, not sure but hopefully we get a place to call home and have tournaments n stuff.

Is there anything you would change to improve the sport?
Nothing really.

Favorite Bike Polo memory?
When we played in the warehouse and had that tournament and our team won. ( I love winning)

What do you do for work?
I deliver packages for a livin.

What do you for fun?
I love to bike, play soccer, hang out with homies, eat pizza (or any kind of food) just random things, some photography and collect cat shirts.

Carlos lives in West Valley with his family.

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-JA
All photos by Gabe Mejia. Follow him on Instagram @gbot.media