Boulder has an impressive list of bike factions. There are the roadies, mountain bike racers, mountain bike freeriders, trials guys, messengers, singlespeeders, fixed gearheads, cruisers, and who knows how many more niches. While some of these groups are often at odds with each other, quibbling and backstabbing like an MTV Crib, one group blurs the lines of stereotype, welcomes all kinds, and challenges all for the title of non-conformity. Boulder Bike Polo.
Bike polo existed in Boulder back in the late 80′s. The fossil record indicates there was a group that traveled around and played matches against other cities. Mysteriously, this group vanished, no one is quite sure why, some think it was an Ice Age, some maintain it was a giant meteorite, but the archaeologists search on for clues.
Doug Render is the de-facto ringleader of the current crew of polo players, he owns the 15 mallets he brings to every game and started the Yahoo Group. He says that it’s good to be the king and reign supreme over his minions. Well, not really. But he did tell me he started the group back in 2000. There are a couple players in the group who have played elsewhere in the past and wanted to get their Crom on here in Boulder. The group meets at various locations in town more or less once a week from Spring to Fall.
Bike polo in Boulder isn’t nearly as stodgy as its equestrian brother, nor as gear-uppity as most cycling sports. The group is pretty laid back and friendly to new-comers. Since Doug brings the mallets, all you really need is a bike. Your bike doesn’t need to be fancy; it just needs to be solid and tough. Most riders have a bike specific for polo. This bike is a low end hardtail mountain bike, possibly rigid, preferably single speed. Many right handed riders reverse the brake levers, moto-style, so that they can wield the mallet in the right hand and modulate the rear brake with the left hand. I played once with the brakes normal, and let me tell you, coming to a full stop using only the front brake while swinging a mallet at a little ball is tricky.