City Report: Antwerp, Belgium

September 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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Tell us a little bit about your city

Antwerp has a population of 500.000 and over 400 bars in the city centre alone. We have one of the largest seaports in Europe (plus a red light district). We all love our town and refer to Antwerp as THE city, as if there’s no other in Belgium. We even have a popular saying that “the rest of Belgium is parking space.” Other Belgians consider us snobs for that, but they’re just jealous that they don’t live here. Oh, our garbage men are dressed by U2’s favorite costume designer, how cool is that?

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When and how did polo start here?

Nicky, Chris and Tom spent a year touring Australia in a van with fixed gear bikes in the back. They started out in Brisbane and met many bike enthusiasts along the way. After a few months they ended up at a bike house in Perth. Brad and Derren were their hosts for a few weeks and the guys tagged along to a couple Perth Cycle Polo sessions. After that they played in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and brought the polo bug home. They started Antwerp Bike Polo in 2010 and it’s been non-stop ever since.

How many people play in your city?

We have 15 guys total and get our fair share of polo travelers coming through town.

How often do you play?

We play twice a week: on Thursday nights from 7 til 10 and Sunday afternoons from 1 til 6.

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Tell us about your courts 

We have a beautiful roller hockey rink (40mx20m) that’s right outside the city center. The surface is asphalt with high boarding and rounded corners. There’s stadium lights that we can use during fall and winter.

There’s another covered hockey rink in town that we can rent out for events. It’s basically an exact copy of our outdoor rink but with a roof.

Our third option is a makeshift setup at a parking garage. The floor’s a bit rough but we have pretty decent boarding we can put up. It’s the least ideal option out of the 3, but it’s good enough when it rains or snows. The burger joint downstairs is a nice bonus.

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What have you found works to get new people playing polo in your city?

New players are usually brought on by ABP members. We’ve played at tradeshows and events and that helps too. Social media seems to be the easiest way to reach people nowadays so we try to keep our Facebook page and website updated.

Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the nearest city that plays?

Belgium’s central location within Europe makes for a lot of good polo within driving distance. Amsterdam is about an hour and a half north, Cologne is 2 hours east, Paris 3 hours south and London just a train ride away.

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Do you play with other clubs in your country often? If so is this for tournaments for just casual?

Sometimes the guys from Brussels Bike Polo come over on Sundays and we use their indoor location during winter months. There’s a new club in Aalst that has a covered court as well. It’s all pretty casual but during tournaments city pride brings out the worst in everyone, but I guess that’s just how it goes.

Has your city hosted any tournaments or are you hosting any soon? 

Antwerp has hosted a couple small events so far and we’re working hard with the city of Antwerp to get something going and put A-town on the polo map!

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Tell us a little known fact about your city

Few people know the story of how Antwerp got its name, so here goes: the city once had a giant named Antigoon who lived by the riverside. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. The giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant’s own hand and tossed it into the river. “Ant” is short for hand and “Werpen” means ‘to throw’ in Flemish. A statue of Brabo is proudly sitting right in front of the town hall.

By Chris Van Akeleyen

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Recruitment: Tips and Tricks from Melbourne

September 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

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When I first arrived in Melbourne to settle down for a bit and play some polo the idea of newbie polo was not really a thing. Not to say new players weren’t welcome, but the newbie polo regimen was just folded into regular pickup on Sundays. One court would occasionally be set aside for a “slow game” or two so newer players could feel comfortable to throw in. Although this system is still inclusive, I did see an issue with it from the start.

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Firstly, we all know it takes a special kind of individual to just rock up on a regular pickup day and just ask to be included or even inquire about the sport. Especially to a bunch of tattooed ladies and dudes that they don’t know who may be drinking, smoking and trading sometimes vicious heckles. So to create a forum in which all individuals would feel accepted and free to fall on their faces, I thought we should give a newbie specific night a whirl.

Going from practically zero to one hundred on the social media front helped us a lot, and now I think it is more difficult to get new players out once you have already built a newbie night. But I set up a specific group for newbies to relay new player specific information to prospective players and set up weekly events attached to the Facebook group. Once this was set up, initially I invited everyone I knew inside and outside the club and told them to invite their friends.

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Another major victory for us in Melbourne was the interest and commitment shown by the regulars within the club. For the summer, every Wednesday the regulars would show up with their bikes, spare bikes, and additional mallets to help out, watch and show these new players that we are a passionate group of people that love polo.

The result of the commitment of the regulars and the social media storm insured we had about 15-20 new players out the first few weeks, some of which didn’t like it. That’s cool, knitting isn’t for me so I don’t show up to that weekly either. But it was a great success because the new players were playing games that were entirely made up of new players, no regulars just newbies learning to fly.

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Each week we employed the goal to give each new player at least 2 games to find their balance, comfort, and ball handling. This was key as a lot of players rock up and play one game, suck at it, and then say it’s not for them. But give them that second game, perhaps with a shorter mallet, or a proper sized bike, or on a team with a different dynamic, and you can see that the learning curve is pretty damn steep. This is where the regulars come in handy as well, we can see when a seat is to low, or the mallet is Thor’s hammer, or that they need to play using their other hand…

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It is still a learning curve and newbie nights have been going strong all winter long. We have even hosted a 6v6 new player bench game where it was all about our young blood. Lets hope we can keep it going and find some more birdies in the spring to shove out of the nest and onto a polo bike.

Words by Wes Bartlett

Pictures by Claire Wilson, Jordan Head, and Jack Schallmeiner

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City Report: Dunedin, New Zealand

August 26, 2014 at 8:23 am

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Tell us a little bit about your city 

Dunedin is a wonderful big little city. With a population of 120,000 people, 25,000 of which are students at the University of Otago. Situated in the glorious south of the South Island of NZ there is a lot to see here.

When and how did polo start here?

Polo in Dunedin started in December 2012 ish when a couple of guys, who were friends with people in the Timaru club, were intrigued and decided to have a hit at a local primary school. And by word of mouth and sheer curiosity the club has grown.

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How many people play in your city?

We get a variable number of players. But we have around 10 regulars and a few more not so regulars. Games can range from 2 a side to struggling to get court time. Depending on the activities of the players and how much sun is out.

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How often do you play?

We play once a week. A weekday in the Summer when the sun is lovely and no one wants to go home after work, and on the weekend in the winter when the sun goes down at 4pm. Currently we play Sunday 3pm.

 Tell us about your courts 
 We have one court which comes complete with 3 and a half walls. And we have recently thrown together a further half wall to complete the area. It’s quite a large court with gentle slopes towards the edges and some lovely stones which need sweeping but we never get round to doing so. It’s the court of a local primary school and we have the enthusiastic permission from the principal who loves to see people using his facilities for such weird and wonderful things. No costs to play but we are respectful and keep the place clean and undamaged.

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What have you found works to get new people playing polo in your city

Mostly word of mouth. We sometimes get enthusiastic ideas which evolve into regretful situations. Two of us recently entered the National Single Speed Champs to try get a few of the local single speeders to come play. On our polo steeds. Which was an exciting spectacle for those watching and a nightmare of a time for us involved. I can say the fixed gear really didn’t come in use.

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Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the nearest city that plays?

Timaru is the nearest club which is about 2 and half hours drive. Then Christchurch which is around 4 and a half.
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Do you play with other clubs in your country often? If so is this for tournaments for just casual?

We get up a couple of times a year. Timaru is a really active club and they are super enthusiastic so we love travelling up for tournaments. Have plans to get up for casual play too but hasn’t happened thus far.

Has your city hosted any tournaments or are you hosting any soon?

We held an open day after the Single Speed Champs which Timaru brought some players down for. But we played shuffle games and encouraged new players. No super serious play.
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Tell us a little known fact about your city

The riding here is exquisite. The cities boundaries go very quickly from residential to farmland and all of a sudden you’re 20 mins ride from the city centre and you can’t see any signs of suburbia. In most directions. When you get a good day there is nothing like it.

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By James McKellar

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Player Profile: Camilo Rey Ladino

August 19, 2014 at 8:31 am

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Acerca de ti

Nombre: Camilo Rey Ladino

Ciudad: Bogotá – Colombia

Equipo: La Capital

Años jugados: 5  años

Ocupación: ingeniero ambiental, asesor en movilidad limpia y bicicletero en todas sus formas  

Super Power: Resistencia y aguante ¡!!

Heckle favorito: Dobles agora!

Bike: Bogotá fixed y muyskuubun 100% colombiano! Y los mallet también son originales de Bogotá, Colombia.  Hecha a mano especialmente para REY.

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¿Cuál es tu memoria polo mejor?

Primeros con Marc y Daniel en el 1 campeonato  de Bike Polo en Colombia. Los recuerdos de La Chekoslovaca y claramente con La Capital ganarles a Monopolientos de Chile  (campeón 2011); y empatar con Underdogs de Brasil  campeón (2012); en el 2013 los campeones MalaPata nos emborracharon…!

Torneos El Libertador Bogotà – Colombia

  1. 1er puesto
  2. 3cer Puesto
  3. 1er puesto
  4. 2do Puesto

¿Dónde ve usted polo en 5 años?                     

En los xgames y en los juegos Mundiales. ¡!! …en los próximos años los niños jugando a ser adultos y adultos jugando a ser niños, eso es el BikePolo.  Programo  realizar una ciclo travesía de solo Bike Polo por muchas ciudades del mundo.

Acerca de su ciudad natal

Número de jugadores: 50 humanos alrededor casi 15 equipos

¿Con qué frecuencia juegas? Martes, jueves y Domingo.

¿Cuál es su ciudad natal famoso? 

Colombia es pionera en Latinoamérica fue donde inicialmente se empezó a practicar esta modalidad del BiciPolo, Actualmente Bogotá cuenta con 386 kilómetros de ciclorruta que conectan los cuatro puntos cardinales de la ciudad, la Red más extensa de América Latina. El Gobierno apoyo el bike polo desde el Instituto de recreación y deporte con el programa DUNT. 

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and now in English.. apologies for the bad google translation. Please let me know of any glaring errors (v)

About you

Name: Camilo Rey Ladino

City: Bogota – Colombia

Team: The Capital

Years Played: 5 years

Occupation: Environmental engineer, bicycle rack consultant, clean transport in all its forms

Super Power: Strength and Stamina !!

Favourite Heckle: Double agora!

Bike: Bogotá muyskuubun fixed and 100% Colombian! And the mallet are also original in Bogota, Colombia. Handmade especially for KING.

What is your best memory polo?

First with Marc and Daniel at 1 Bike Polo Championship in Colombia. Memories of The Chekoslovaca and clearly beat them with Monopolientos The Capital of Chile (Champion 2011); Underdogs and drawing with Brazil champion (2012); in 2013 the Malapata champions us … drunk!

The Liberator Bogotà Tournaments – Colombia

1 1st place

2 3rd place

3 1st place

4 2nd Place

Where do you see polo in 5 years? In the xgames and World Games.!! In the coming years … children playing at being adults and adults pretending to be children, that’s the bikepolo.   I schedule only make a journey of Bike Polo by many cities in the world cycle.

About your hometown

Number of Players: 50 people around almost 15 teams

How often do you play?  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

What is your hometown famous?

Colombia is a pioneer in Latin America where it was initially started practicing this embodiment of BiciPolo, currently Bogotá has 386 miles of bikeway connecting the four corners of the city, the largest network in Latin America. The Government support the bike polo from the Institute of recreation and sport in DUNT program.

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Video: Kyiv Summer Polo Series 2014

August 15, 2014 at 7:52 am

Thanks to Dmytro Zhukovsky for sending this in.

Lookin’ at ya bits: Morgan’s Riding in Circles custom frame

August 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

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Owner:  Morgan

City:  LYON france

Frame/Fork:  Riding in circles custom frame http://www.ridingincircles.com/

Headset/Stem/Bars/Grips:  Chris king headset /Thomson 90mm stem / Van nicholas titanium bars

Seat/Post: Thanks to SAN MARCO for the zoncolan saddle / Thomson elite seatpost

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Pedals:  shimano spd

Cranks/Bottom/Bracket:  Chris king BB / Rotor 3D 170mm

Chain ring/Sprocket: HOPE 35t chainring / Dodici 19T Sprocket

Brake:  Hope Tech 3 x2 hydraulic disc brake

Wheels/Hub:  Mavic EX721 rims/ Chris king Hubz/ DT swiss Alpine 3 spokes

Extras?  Cento canesio framepad, and the couplers

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Why did you choose this bike/setup?
with all the beers i didn’t drink and all the drugs i haven’t taken it was really easy to save money, so i tried to avoid all “made in china” part , and of course because RC frames are the best!<3<3

How long have you played on this bike for? Have you played on anything else?
i’m playing on this bike since january and i really not regret my investment and actually it is my 13th polo bike since 2008…i broke almost all the old ones

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What are the best things about your bike? 
the MIAMI sunrise color

What are some recent changes you have made to your bike?
I changed all the spokes for some DT swiss ALPINE 3, best spokes i ever used

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What are the worst things about your bike? What would you change? 
i like every part of it, but i would maybe go for more titanium part just for the fun

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Lookin’ at ya bits: Benjamin Levi’s Lightfoot

August 5, 2014 at 8:27 am

polo bike

Owner: Benjamin Levi

City: Sydney, Australia

Frame/ Fork:  Larger 26′ LIGHTFOOT

Headset / Stem / bars / Grips:   Cheap FSA head set, Crank Brothers Cobolt 3 100mm 6 degree stem, Crank Brothers cobolt 3 MTB flat bars 600mm wide, 9 degree swept back. Ergon grips

Seat/ post/ Clamp:   EL Norte Seat, BBB straight 350mm,   Salsa quick release clamp.

Pedals: Cheap SPD

Cranks/ BB:  Cheap 175 Truvativ  MTB cranks, external BB.

Chain ring/Sprocket/Chain:  33 truvativ, 21 surly sprocket, Izumi track chain

Brakes/Pads/Lever/Cables:  Avid BB7 disc Mech  brakes, Stock Pads, Avid 5, Clarks Cables.

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Wheels/Hubs/Tyres:  Back, 32 hole chukker rim, 2mm spokes, Hope Evo Pro 2 Hub, schwalbe marathon plus 26.  Front: 36 hole Unbranded DH rim, 2mm spokes, Shimano Deore XT M-756 disc hub,schwalbe marathon plus 26.

Extras:  Bell, Custom Batman top tube protector by J Golding Industries

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Why Did you choose this bike?

Price, availability, Support local company.

How long have you on this bike? Have you played on anything else?

4 months.  Yes a multitude of bikes that were varying with levels of unsuitability for polo.

What is the best thing about your bike:

Less then $1000 to set up. Most of the parts were on sale or second hand.  On court stability/manoeuvrability combo the frame allows. BB Height > 300mm. I’ve not come close to pedal striking. I did this regularly on every other polo bike I’ve had. $320 for frame , fork and seat post clamp. Cant beat that.
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What are some recent changes you have made to your bike:

Replaced front QR axle with solid nutted axle. Installed Fixcraft rotor guard. several scratches and dings.

What are the worst things about your bike. What would you change:

Im really happy with the frame GEO but I do want to get it sandblasted and power coated in red and black. I have a long list of components to upgrade.. hydro  brakes, Thompson Layback seat post and stem. Super light tourney only Wheelset, Extra long saddle. Time pedals, I would like to try 185 cranks.

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Photograph by Derren Hall

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Tournament invitation: The King of Desaru International Hardcourt Bikepolo Challenge, Johor, Malaysia

August 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Malaysia Bike Polo  would like to extend an invitation to all bike polo teams from around the world to come to Malaysia specifically to Desaru, in the State of Johor, to compete in their annual bike polo tournament called The King of Desaru International Hardcourt Bikepolo Challenge. The tournament is on from 8th to 9th November 2014.

More details below and on their facebook page

page one page 2 page 3

Tournaments: No Sleep Til Brisbane by Derren Hall

July 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm

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Photographs by Derren Hall

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Ladies Army 666 by Joelle Miller.. part 2

July 8, 2014 at 8:08 am

Terminally Chill Tonya Hardings vs. Clitorati Andrea from Saskatoon Back to the Fuscia Super babe Elena Hot Honey Biscuits vs. Valkyries Andrea keeping goal. Iluminaughti vs Terminally Chill Iluminaughti vs Valkyries Jackie from Ovary Action Jamelyn of TWAT, (Two Wheeled Attack Team). Johanna from the Iluminaughtis. Maija of the Cunning Stunts Pangea vs Kuntswerk Pangea Wins! Sunshine Hate

All photos by Joelle Miller

If you missed part one, you can see it here

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