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Culture, Editorial, Hot Tip

Election Season is Upon Us

January 16, 2013

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I’m sorry to say that Tim Altnether is not running for any real presidential position. Maybe the President of Party, but there wouldn’t need to be an election for that since his 2012 Lock-In attire speaks for itself. I’m also sorry to say that the real purpose of this article is not to show off my excellent Microsoft Paint photo editing skills. The real purpose is to discuss the upcoming NAH elections. (This information is relevant to the entire polo world, not just NAH members.)

Since every club in the world does things a little differently, it is important for the poloverse to have a place to come together and discuss what has and has not worked for them. League of Bike Polo is a fantastic site, in that sense. It allows for the hashing out of problems that players experience, as well as giving them the ability to express an opinion, no matter how poor their argument may be. This ability to come together is a great first step in allowing polo to grow and maybe even give it some legitimacy in the sports world.

While discussing the problems is the first step, the remaining steps are made by the real decision makers. As we all know, at the end of the day the real decision makers are not the people posting on the forums, but they are the club and region representatives. The North American Hardcourt election season is coming up, so it’s time for people to step away from the computer and work on real change.

Right now clubs should be meeting up and discussing which members would be best suited as their representatives. In the most basic terms, this seems like an easy position to fill: the occasional email sent to a regional representative and maybe a group phone call once a year.  This leads to the assumption that any Polo Schmo with a telephone and a computer can represent a polo club, but digging past the surface you will find more important qualifications.

There are several characteristics that your club should look for when nominating /voting on a representative.  S/he should be someone that is well versed in the current rules, as well as have an awareness of rules discrepancies presented on League and elsewhere.  They should have a willingness to talk to club members when someone has an NAH matter that they need clarified or if they have something they would like brought up to the NAH board. This characteristic should go hand-in-hand with patience. Every club has that one person who seems to complain about everything that NAH is doing.

On top of these, they should be well spoken. They need to know how to clearly explain NAH changes to the club and voice concerns to the regional representatives. They would and should be the ones to bring up your club’s concerns to your regional representatives so that it can officially be looked into. The club rep is your club’s connection to the grander poloverse, so they need to put in the effort that allows your club to be heard.

In the near future, your club should be meeting again to discuss voting on representatives for your region. Although there is no word on who is running for reps in the regions at this time, it is important to think about which traits would lead to a great regional rep, instead of turning it into a popularity contest. Just like club reps, the regional reps should have an awareness of rules and rule discrepancies, an open door policy, patience, and good communication skills. Since these reps are diplomats of your entire region, you should expect more from them than club representatives.

They should be organized. It is important for them to keep track of all the concerns presented to them by club representatives and then bring them up at the NAH board meetings. As an organized leader, they should know how to keep things on track. If they see NAH slacking off, they should step up and bring the board back together to keep the discussions fresh and pertinent. They must have a strong dedication to the sport and region. They need to make sure their regional qualifier has a location each year and then make sure it is being organized to its fullest potential. They need to be at their regional qualifier helping run things and be there to help answer any questions about rules, format, etc. They should then plan to attend the North American Championships — even if they didn’t qualify — and do the same thing. The regional representatives need to be bike polo’s William Wallace or Maximus Decimus Meridius, in our fight for a brighter hardcourt future

It is time to step away from the computer and into a bar, pizza parlor or living room, and discuss with your club what is important for it in the growth of hardcourt bike polo.  Talk about what steps are necessary to reach this utopian polo future, decide which people should head the fight, and then help put them in charge because the club and regional representatives are the ones that allow every single polo voice to be heard, instead of being lost in a thread of hundreds of comments.

Culture

Get Ready for Bike Polo in the Winter

November 15, 2012

Winter bike polo is unpredictable. Balls harden and hop like mad. Black ice rears its ugly head on the court. Fingers numb until you can’t feel your brake lever. But compared to the alternative—no bike polo—it suffices. So before the winter really sets in, it’s important to prepare for the harsh cold.

Playing bike polo in the winter

Frame Saver

This stuff is supposed to save your frame from rusting inside and out. To apply it, you’ll have to strip your polo bike of everything, clean it and its orifices, then apply the spray. If you’re in a region that gets extra wet during the winter, it’ll pay off in the long run. You likely spend a good chunk of time and money on your polo bike, so why not protect it from the elements as best you can? It looks like you can find a can for about $10 and it should have enough spray for up to five frames.

Clip-on Fenders

Just because your polo bike gets soaked doesn’t mean you have to. Those commuter-friendly clip-on fenders will save your butt and back from some grimy wetness. If you’re lucky enough, your local bike shop tosses a few used fenders like this in a bargain bin. Otherwise, expect to spend about $20. No matter what fender you snap on for the ride to your courts, take ‘em off before you play!

Cleaners

Clean your bike. It’s good for it. It’s good for you. It’s therapeutic, no matter what season. Put your steed away clean—never dirty. Winter mucks up bicycles more than any season. Stock up on something to clean your bike. My favorite spray is silicone-based, which allows it wipe away mud chunks without any elbow grease. Anything will do, even a household cleaner.

For your chain, buy degreaser and lube. Wipe your chain after you play in snow, sleet or rain. Give it some lube if it’s thirsty, but always make sure there’s no excess lube for dirt to cling. Keep your rims fresh, too. When they get wet and filthy, sandpaper the rims with a medium grit and wipe them off with rubbing alcohol and a clean rag. Investing in cleaning supplies shouldn’t cost more than $15. Most of it will last awhile anyway.Keep your bike chain clean

Illumination

Days get shorter from the day summer stars until the day winter starts. Be ready to ride to and from the courts in the dark. Affix the light mounts on your bike so the mounts themselves won’t cause any harm on the court. Better yet, find a magnetic light you can smack on the brake bridge or elsewhere. Again, remember to take your illumination off your polo bike before play. Lights that make drivers see you don’t go for too much. A front and rear set at our local bike shop goes for $15.

Personal Preparations

When it’s brutally cold, get some of those toe warmers for pickup. To keep your fingers warm, wear glove liners under your playing gloves. Another mandatory item for winter bike polo is some Jack or one of his buddies.

What do you do to prepare for winter bike polo?

Photos courtesy of Rich Moffitt and whitefield_d
Culture, Product

New Mallets on the Scene in Taiwan

November 1, 2012

Bears Bike has a prefab mallet out!.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MALLET HEAD

MATERIAL: EMS (SWISS) SUPER HARDEN NYLON

LENGTH: 146 mm DIAMETER: 61mm

WEIGHT: 115 g

COLOR: BLACK, BLUE, PINK, GREEN, ORANGE, PURPLE

 

MALLET SHAFT

MATERIAL: ALLOY 6061 T6

DIAMETER: 19mm OD Straight Tubing

LENGTH: 120cm – can be cut down

WEIGHT: 175g

COLOR: BLACK

Looks very similar to the 1/8th Inch product.  Nice colors.  No caps featured on the site for the mallet head. Haven’t seen one in use yet, but keep your eye out. Also, check them out here: Bear Bikes!

Art, Culture

POLObama

October 15, 2012

If President Obama played bike polo, he’d play fixed brakeless. Yes, he is that much of a bad ass!

Photo courtesy of State Bicycle Co.

Culture, Interview

Tokyo Bike Polo Checks In

October 11, 2012
Tokyo bike polo

Anybody who was fortunate enough to go to the 2012 World Champsionsinships had a chance to meet people from all over the world. We hope you had a chance to meet the Tokyo crew. The played well and even after a loss, they smiled big. It was great to see. It seemed fitting to learn a bit about Tokyo bike polo’s scene. Here’s what Genki Takahashi told us.Tokyo bike polo

321: Where do you get to play in Tokyo?

Genki: We play in Komazawa park on Wednesday nights and on weekends, every week. On weekends, we sometimes play in the old pool of Kugenuma Skate Park. We have small tournaments there.

321: How many people show up to throw in on a regular basis?

G: There are about ten people usually. When more people show up, we get 20 or more people.

321: What kind of crowd do you get? (Age range, professions, other hobbies players have, stuff like that)

G: The age group of Tokyo members range from 20 years old to about 45. Although their professions vary, there are messengers, freelancers, office workers and students. I don’t know their other hobbies because we play bike polo all the time. Maybe photography, theater, drinking beer.

321: When did hardcourt bike polo start in Tokyo?

G: Bike polo scene of Tokyo started about three years ago.


321
: Who started it?

G: Most of the starting members were messengers. They first encountered bike polo in 2008 at CMWC Toronto. Then, they experienced bike polo for the first time at ECMC Berlin in 2009 and started playing bike polo in Tokyo after that.

Bike polo population in Japan gradually grew and now it is all over Japan. Now, there are about 300 bike polo players all over Japan.

321: After traveling to Worlds, what differences did you notice in North American, European and Australian playing styles compared to Japan’s style?

G: I felt that play styles betwen Europe, North America, and Australia are different and they were all good. Bike control, speed, accuracy and contact play, I thought they were higher-level than Japan in many points. It was completely different to experience the actual games compared to watching videos, and it was very interesting.

Although it was my first experience, I was able to enjoy myself very much, and I have learned at lot from the experience. It was truly an awesome experience for me. We need to practice much more and develop our own style.

Tokyo bike polo

321: There  lot of chatter in at Worlds and the London Open about Tokyo hosting Worlds. Nothing serious or concrete, just suggestions. In your opinion, how ready is Tokyo or another Japanese city to host a big tournament?

G: We are also always talking about holding a big tournament someday in Japan, but it is very difficult to secure the space for two or more coats in Tokyo. However, I think that making actions towards realizing the dream is important.

321: Anything else you’d like to mention?

G: Contact us if there is an opportunity for you to come to Tokyo. Let’s play bike polo together and drink beer!

-NINJA!