Marco, Bike Polo

By Carrie Barrett – July 1, 2015
Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

You've got to love a group with the phrase “social club” in the name. I mean, at that point it doesn't matter if you are competitive skipping, knitting, or dog walking. If you have the moniker of a social club, you're automatically cool. Add “bike polo” and “Austin” to that phrase and you've found yourself one of the hippest, most out of the ordinary sports in all of Central Texas. 

Bike polo is a combination of hockey, soccer, and lacrosse. It combines the skills of these team sports with the athleticism of being a great bike handler. Robert Kreuzburg, co-founder of the Bike Polo Social Club in Austin, has been playing the sport with some of his buddies since 2008 and passionately describes what it takes to be good at the game. 

“One of the greatest things about this sport is that even if you can't ride a bike very well, you will be a bike god once you get comfortable playing! Balance is extremely important because you don't want to fall off your bike. Also, the coordination of different areas of your body you might not normally use together—like swinging at a ball and pedaling your butt off while also trying to maneuver through obstacles—makes this sport exciting,” he said. 

Core strength, he added, is an important factor in maintaining balance. Stamina and strength are also vital since some of the games move quickly, and you need to have the strength to take power shots and shove away attacking players. “The more strong and agile you are,” Kreuzburg stressed, “the more you can move around other players and get in that perfect scoring position.”  

The sport sounds equal part extremely intimidating and fast-paced fun. While members of the social club are serious about the sport, they also play because they love the community they've built. The players are athletic, artistic, and—most importantly—passionate. Some have professions, some don't. Some are young, others are old. 

The type of person the club caters to is one eager to play, have fun, and enjoy an evening of socializing, shouting words of encouragement (or not), and drinking a couple of beers. 
This fun group of hipsters hangs out at Metz Park (2407 Canterbury St.), religiously playing on the park’s basketball courts every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. There is no membership or fee payments required to join. Just show up and don't be shy. 

“It really only takes an interest and some determination to get started and be good at it,” Kreuzburg said. All you need is a bike that’s comfortable to ride (no drop bars or bull horns).

Helmets and gloves, as well as knee and elbow pads, are optional, but highly recommended since losing balance and falling off your bike is all a part of the game. 
If you don't have all of the equipment, don't worry. These are people who are more than happy to lend you their bikes, equipment, and mallets if you're just starting out.  

Bike Polo 101: 

  • The sport is fast-moving. 
  • There are three players per team.
  • An average game lasts for 10 to 12 minutes, or the first team to five points. 
  • To score, you must hit the ball with the end of your mallet. 
  • If you fall off the bike, or if your foot touches the ground, it's considered a “dab” and you must ride to the side of the court and tap the wall to get back into play. 

“There are just as many ways of playing this sport as there are people playing it, so everyone loves talking about their own strategy,” Kreuzburg said.  

“Men or women, adults or children, blonde or brunette…none of it matters. We are all people who like to ride bikes and hang out,” he said. “You don't even have to be good at any of it. You will never be discriminated against. We're a goofy and fun loving group. Just come with a smile and be ready to have fun because you’ll be heckled, laughed at, encouraged, booed, and cheered all in a timespan of about 10 minutes.”


For more information on the Austin Texas Bike Polo Social Club, visit their facebook page at: facebook.com/groups/ATXBPSC. Or email them at atxbpsc@gmail.com.

 
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