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Culture, Media

Liam’s Amazing Qualifier Photos

June 30, 2014
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hlrq2014 liam gilson 2 Liam Gilson has been capturing true on court emotion since the Midwest Open 3 in Minneapolis in 2012. Since then he’s traveled all over the Midwest and even to North Americans and Worlds last year to bring us some amazing hardcourt photos. His photos, in my mind, have made him one of the top hardcourt photographers in American today. So far this year Liam has made it to the Heartland Regional Qualifier and the Great Lakes Regional Qualifier, and I’m sure he will be at North American’s snapping amazing photos. But until the time when all the regions once again converge at The Oval, here are Liam’s photos from the aforementioned qualifiers.

Enjoy! And if you see Liam around in Minneapolis next month, be sure to buy him a drink and thank him for documenting this sport that we all love.

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Culture, Media

How Bike Polo is Making Portland Better

June 26, 2014
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portland bike poloThis article originally appeared on Bike Portland

Part of our new series of guest posts: America’s Next Bicycle Capital. This week’s guest writer is Pete Abram of Portland Bike Polo.

I have been a bike commuter since I was able to pedal. But I didn’t really understand how you can connect yourself to a bike, how it can be an extension of your will, and how tasks that seem difficult or dangerous on a bicycle to some can be exhilarating and easy to an experienced rider, until I found bike polo, in 2009, in Columbia, Mo.

This realization really hit me in 2010, on a summer ride on the Katy Trail to a winery when a fellow rider fell and said “my front wheel hit some loose gravel on the turn” and my immediate and confused response was “why didn’t you just pop a wheelie and re-center your wheel in the air?”

Ever since this incident, I always need to remind myself that not everybody plays bike polo when I hear a description of a solo cycling accident. This fellow rider was not a bike polo player and was covered in road rash. They laughed at what they thought was a joke. But it was no joke.

The handling skills and safety expectations that you get from playing bike polo are also no joke. Bike polo players become intensely aware of their surroundings, both in front and behind. They learn to use their hearing to detect incoming threats. They gain a new and deeper understanding of right-of-way for cyclists. They become intimately familiar with the requisite braking distances on various kinds of surfaces at various speeds.

Bike polo players can perform these feats because hardcourt bike polo parades itself around like a sport, but is also the best training available for becoming a safe and capable commuter. If you can do all of these things with one hand on the handlebars while swinging a mallet and trying to put a ball in the goal, it should be a piece of cake with two hands on the bars, no ball to chase, and no goal to guard!

A year after we both graduated from grad school in Missouri, my then-girlfriend-now-fiancée (and bike polo player!) and I decided to find a fresh start and moved to Portland. We moved here for many reasons: the mild climate, the cycling culture, and the general progressiveness of the city.

What we did not expect was the friendship and community that we would find in Portland Bike Polo. We were welcomed with open arms and instantly had a rich social network upon arrival. The fork on my polo bike? It’s hand-made by a member of the club. My team’s polo bikes were painted by another member. My top tube pad and polo bag were crafted with love by Black Star Bags which is owned by and employs (you guessed it) more members of Portland Bike Polo.

Our club has photographers, graphic designers, bike mechanics, engineers, welders, fabricators, sewers, bike trail diggers, bartenders, teachers. One of us even works for ODOT!

What makes Portland Bike Polo exceptional is that we are a remarkably diverse group of people in age, profession, and worldview, brought together every weekend by a love for the game that we play. We are excited to see it grow as a sport and grow along with it.

In July, we are sending 3 teams to the North American championships in Minneapolis. In August, several of us will travel to Montpelier, France for the only sixth-ever World Championships to occur in the sport’s history.

The game is still very young and is changing very quickly. As a club, we’ve been adapting not to survive, but to prosper. We’ve had our own brand of custom machined mallet heads for over two years. More recently, a new member of our club who (no joke) builds race cars for a living has designed and constructed steel guards for the disk brakes we run.

And that’s why I love Portland Bike Polo: because as a club we are always learning, innovating, and looking for new members and new projects. Maybe you’re next.

Pete Abram is a member of Portland Bike Polo. You can follow the club on Facebook, too.

If you’d like to add your voice to this series, get in touch via email: michael@bikeportland.org.

Media, Video

Seattle Bike Polo In The News

June 13, 2014
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With Jagwolves Media building a huge name for themselves in the bike polo video world, I feel like all of the videos that I post these days are coming from Seattle, and this one follows suit! Unlike yesterdays post, this video comes from a local news station out of Seattle called King 5. It highlights the sport the we all love so much, while showing off some of the Seattle Bike Polo flavor.

Check out The Assassins face-off against The Guardians (minus Cody and plus J.T.) for Seattleites watching the evening news. Enjoy!

Media, Video

Louis CK visits NYC Bike Polo

May 14, 2014

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Bike Polo made it’s way to prime time TV again! A few years back the CSI: NY film crew visited New York Bike Polo (check that footage out HERE) and now Louis CK did a little bike polo filming for his amazing show Louie. Thank you New York Bike Polo for getting this sport on the boob-tube!

You can watch the short clip here thanks to The Means:

To watch the full episode, follow this link HERE! This link may not work in all countries. To find the episode yourself, look up Louis Season 4 Episode 3 on your favorite TV show streaming website.

Media, Video

New and Improved Mr. Do

October 8, 2013

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Mr. Do has made it easier for us to obsess over his videos. No longer do we have to Google search “Mr. Do Vimeo” and then be forced to fumble around on the ever failing Vimeo website. Thanks to Do, all we have to do is hit up his new website for all of our favorite Do productions. The new site can be found simply at mrdovideo.com.

Along with the new site and logo, Mr. Do promises us more. He says we can expect video updates WEEKLY! No more randomly updating his website in his free time. He is doing us a huge service and bringing us content on the regular. Everyone should shoot Do a ‘thank you’ message or email for his hardwork.

Also new to the site is a weekly polo segment called “Morning With Machine.” According to the website, “it is the definitive show about the players of Hardcourt Bike Polo; those who have made the sport and community what they are today.” The first webisode was put online today and features The Beavers.

Head over to the site, bookmark it on your browser and then get lost in the greatness that is Mr. Do Video.