I finally decided to take the three hour drive from Fresno to San Francisco this past Saturday to check out the new bike polo courts (technically “all purpose”) at the notorious Dolores Park. San Francisco Bike Polo club worked for many years on getting this multi-purpose court put in, allowing them to have a designated spot to play. After members attended every re-vamp planning meeting and several years of work, the court was finally opened up on June 18, 2015. I kept hearing about how great the curved corners were, how the surface (super blue, at that) was perfect for their weather, and how cool it was to be at Dolores Park. Not until I made it out there, did I see what they were talking about.
We rode up to Dolores Park to see hundreds and hundreds of people partying, picnicking, and hanging out at the park. There was a guy dressed as a robot walking around the park dancing with anyone willing to join him, a barely dressed gentleman passing out free sunscreen, and hundreds of people just hanging out in the perfect SF weather. There are a lot of improvements to the park: new bike racks, designated dog parks, and an awesome kid’s playground just installed. On a high hill in the northern corner of the park, you see bike polo bikes gathered/hung on the fence. Players from San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento are there waiting for their mallets to get tossed in for the next game. There are even two players traveling from Champagne, Illinois, who made it a point to come check out the courts on their trip to SF.
The court is just as good as everyone has been saying. The surface is perfect. It has perfect texture which you feel with every pedal stroke, making it easy to get from one side of the court to the other. The corner walls are just as they should be, smooth and made to never have a stop in the play because a ball is stuck, etc. Each corner of the court has a spot big enough to sit in or hang a hammock in between games. And the location!
So many people that have never heard or seen bike polo are going to see it because of this new court. People waiting to use the park restrooms are lined up against the fence of the bike polo courts watching the games as they go on. You hear everything from “it’s like hockey, polo, and bicycles all in one” to “I bet I’d be really good at this” from the sidelines. While I’m sitting out a game people ask questions about the rules, bikes, courts, and club. I get inquiries from San Franciscans wanting to know what time practice is/how they can get involved/what they have to do to be members of the team. My wife even recruited a new player for a city a couple of hours away! As much as the SFBP club has grown in the last couple of years, this new court is going to take it to another level. Even the City of San Francisco Recreation and Parks organization is excited to have bike polo at the park, taking pictures of us bike polo nerds and posting them on their social media pages.
It was so awesome to see all the hard work SFBP has done, finally be rewarded. For them, taking the time and putting in the hard work made this a reality, not only for their city, but for the game of bike polo. So, from me to the SFBP club… thank you for this court. I can’t wait to be back!
– Tea Gonzales, Fresno Pedal Junkies