Analyzing the 2014 Ruleset Proposal

January 7, 2014


Before getting into this, I want to say that I appreciate everything that the NAH does. I’m sure it’s very grueling putting in your free time with no compensation (at least I know it can be for us Association of Bike Polo Journalist members). With that said, I have to say that the NAH really let the bike polo community down in 2013 season in regards to rules. The first official ruleset released for the season was missing so much that they had to rush in a revised copy. Sadly, the Eastside Qualification tournament was held before this sad excuse of a ruleset was revised. The NAH was able to get back to us with an improved version before any other qualifying tournament took place and that ruleset lasted through the 2013 WHBPC. This is the ruleset that we all remember from last year, but here it is (Ruleset V3.3) in case you can’t remember. That being sad (and as much as I hate to inflate Nick Kruse’s ego), Nick Kruse killed it this year with his V4.0 of the NAH ruleset. Pure. Fucking. Gold.

There are a few new items added to this ruleset that really sparked my interest in the Ruleset V4.0 Proposal:

  • First was the addition of uniform hand signals for the referee. While there are only a few penalties that have these dedicated hand signals, we will definitely be seeing some referee dance moves happening when there are Extension, Charging, Interference, Steering Arm, and Flagrance penalties called.
  • While the 2013 rulesets tried to streamline the rules for easier understanding, they left out a lot of important assets, one being Timeouts. I’m really excited to see Timeouts making their way back into the ruleset.
  • I never understood why players were not allowed to ball joint in their offensive zone, so I’m excited to see the new lax rules on ball jointing. Potentially, players will be allowed to ball joint anyway on the court as long as they don’t do it for longer than two seconds.
  • 2014, the year we FINALLY see mallet dropping addressed in the ruleset. Not only is it addressed, the rule couldn’t be more perfect. Allowing each player to only have “one mallet in play” is the exactly how such a rule should read. And I’m glad to see that players can ride around without a mallet as long as the mallet isn’t in the way. Sometimes it’s better to help defend without a mallet than spending  time trying to pick it up, essentially taking yourself out of the play.
  • NO MORE SHAFT GOALS, WOOHOO! Good Riddance! Although let’s be honest, there is a nice little video from the 2013 Midwest Qualifier that will show us why Nick Kruse wanted to get rid of this rule.
  • One of the hardest rules to referee was the 90 degree arm allowance. From most angles on the referee stand, it was hard to tell if the player had their arms extended at 62 degrees, 87 degrees, 113 degrees, etc. While Fixcraft may have to lose their Buffer t-shirt, I’m glad that we lost the 90 degree rule. A tucked arm is all you really need to protect yourself.
  • And finally, GOODBYE SUDDEN DEATH! Well sort of. In the proposed V4.0 Ruleset we see a brand new way to do overtime. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time in games that can’t end in ties, there will now be a five minute overtime period. In this five minute overtime period, play will continue until one team reaches five points. If the score is still tied at the end of this period, the game will then go to Sudden Death with no stop in the play. This is a great way to settle a tied game, and I’m excited to see it play out in a tournament!

Nick Kruse was a great addition to the NAH lineup because of his dedication to making this hobby of ours into a legitimate sport, and  as head of the Rules Committee, he is sending us one giant leap closer to that goal. After thoroughly studying the National Hockey League’s ruleset (as well as other rulesets I’m sure), he has put together the most elaborate and well thought out ruleset that hardcourt bike polo has ever seen. I encourage you all to read over this ruleset and see for yourself just how game changing (bad pun) this ruleset is. After reading it over, I further encourage you all to contact your regional representatives and share with them your love for the ruleset so that it can pass the official vote in two weeks. On top of this, if you see anything that Nick Kruse and the rest of the Rules Committee may have missed, be sure to contact the Rules Committee with your suggestions.

Here’s to constant progress for Hardcourt Bike Polo!

Product, Reviews

2013 Product of the Year!

December 31, 2013


2013 was a great year for bike polo products, especially mallet heads. We saw so many new mallet heads hit the market this year that it’s going to be hard to even name them all. While some companies (mostly PBJ, BOON, and arguably Arena and Portland Bike Polo) came out with heads this year and economically dabbed before gaining any real ground in the polo market, most of the big household polo brands produced heads that thrived this season.

This year Northern Standard busted out their first production run head with the Hourglass (although, I’m pretty sure they don’t officially call it the Hourglass). In the same vein, Modifide Bike Polo Equipment unleashed their Arc polo head, in it’s four and five inch versions. Following the two new heads in 2013 trend, Milwaukee Bicycle Co. dropped their Small and Large Mouth hammers to accompany their King’s Crown connection system (our favorite product of 2012). We saw small changes from companies like Fixcraft, who transformed their classic 2500 head into a light Tournament edition, to huge changes from Milk Bike Polo and Magic Bike Polo. Both companies dropped nearly 100% new lines for the 2013 season.

With so many new heads out this year, how could we choose just one to stand above the rest? All of the heads have an equal place of importance in the polo market; some are great for tournaments, some are pick-up perfect, some are meant for newbies looking to learn ball control, some are used, for good reason, by World Champions. That is why our product of the year isn’t a head at all. And while I was very tempted to grant the title to a clothing item (like Modifide’s sick 5-panel hat, Magic’s Mosquito baseball hat, or Fixcraft’s hard-to-keep-on-the-shelf Means hoodie), I felt it was best to give it to the only non-mallet head product that was 100% designed for bike polo. Not only that, I wanted to give it to the biggest game changer to come to the polo market since last years product of the year. And must like last years product of the year, it is also a mallet attachment system.

The Fixcraft Connect system is hands down the best product to hit the courts, ever. The whole Fixcraft team has spent years trying to perfect the mallet head mounting system (check out this Instagram photo for proof), and I think they’ve finally done it. Unlike last year’s product of the year, the Connect is non-proprietary system that can work with any shaft on the market (watch Fixcraft’s promo video for the Connect to see just how this is possible). Not only is it universal, but it’s light as hell too! The cleat weighs in at only 3.5 grams; add in a 1.5 gram aluminium bolt and you are ready to slay with only five added grams to the end of your mallet. If that’s too light for you, Fixcraft also includes a 4.3 gram steel bolt. Which ever bolt you choose, the complete Connect system weighs less than Milwaukee’s Kings Crown and won’t pull through the bottom of your mallet, like in the drop nut mallet head attachment method.

Us at 3-2-1 Polo! (and I’m sure the rest of the Poloverse as well) owe a huge “Thank You” to Sean, Jim, Sam and everyone else over at Fixcraft for using their time, money, and patience to bring such an amazing product to the Poloverse. You all are helping this hobby of ours actually become a sport, and we appreciate it. We can’t wait to see all of the great things that you come out with next year!

Editor’s Note: I want to point out that I excluded DZR’s Marco from this list because I was unable to try them out this year. So while they came out this year, I’ll add them to my “Products of 2014″ list.


Frontier Airlines Falls Through

December 30, 2013


Over the past three years Frontier Airlines has become my favorite airline to use when traveling with a bike. When I first started using the airline they offered the cheapest flights, gave out free cookies and soda, and only charged you $25 each way to check your bicycle. While the prices are still among the cheapest, they stopped giving out free cookies about two years ago, and in early 2013 they decided to stop giving out free drinks. I understand cutting corners a bit to keep their fares low, but how can you not give out free drinks and peanuts? That’s a staple of every airline, ever. Maybe they should spend a little less on giant vinyl animals for their tail wings and instead make it more comfortable for their customers. Anyway, I digress.

On top of saving a few bucks by cutting back the free refreshments, Frontier is looking to make more skrilla off of us traveling cyclists. We’re sad to inform you that the airline is upping their checked bike fee in the coming year. All travelers flying on June 14th, 2014, or later, will have to pay $75 each way. That’s an ass-reaming $50 hike up each way in price! While this is still cheaper than most airlines ($150 on American Airlines, $200 on US Airlines, etc), the price increase is enough to force me to start looking for a new favorite airline to use when traveling with my bike. Looking closely at Frontier’s baggage fee page, you can pay as little as $50 each way if you break the bike down into two small boxes (a frame box and a wheel box) and pay for your checked bags online, but at that point you might as well book a flight on Southwest Airlines so that you can get two free checked bags on top of your free peanuts and soda pop!

Come on Frontier, theirs no need to make it harder for us poor bike polo kids to fly around the world with our bikes!


Chandel’s Adios to the NAH

December 20, 2013

Before reading this please hit play on this YouTube video.

Some very upsetting news came from the higher ups at NAH yesterday. It was announced that Chandel Bodner will be stepping down as NAH’s Tournament Coordinator. Hoping to focus more of her time on RYB Denim and slaying on the court, Chandel felt that passing the torch on to someone new would be the best way to accomplish this. Here are Chandel’s farewell words:

“It’s not goodbye, it’s really hello!

Thank you to the entire community of bike polo for enduring me as the Tournament Committee Chairperson for the NAH these last 3 or so years. As of this past November, I am no longer representing you in an official capacity. I say this with a very even balance of joy and sadness. It has always meant a lot to me to be giving back to the bike polo family, a group of very unique individuals that always remind me about passion, endurance, and love. The experiences, the people, the stress, the fun, the time, the everything that is a result of my role with NAH is far too much to mention right now, but I will say it all enhanced my life and helped me be a better person. There are also too many of you to list individually. The changing groups of reps, board members, old and new players, and volunteers have all been incredible to work with, thank you! A specific shout out, thank you Ben Schultz for continually believing in, supporting, and understanding me. There aren’t words that describe how amazing you are for polo and how grateful I am to have worked so closely with you.

To the current crew, you’ve all been really progressive and positive, I’m very excited for where bike polo will go now, and happy to watch from the sidelines, and even more excited to go and play in a tournament, not work at it! ;]
I leave you all in the very capable hands of John Hayes, a new local transplant to Toronto, thanks for taking over John!

Thanks everyone! I’ll be focusing my efforts on RYB Denim and playing my heart out!
xx. Chandel”

The NAH has appointed John Hayes to attempt to fill her shoes. We will attempt to grab an interview with him in the next week or two so we can all see what changes we can expect from our new Tournament Coordinator. Seeing the great things he’s done in Europe, I expect we will see him cracking the whip as hard as Chandel. Best of luck to both of their future endeavors!



Help Design LOBP’s Logo

December 18, 2013


Are you the Pollock of Photoshop? Are you the Man Ray of Microsoft Paint? How about the Klimt of Illustrator? Well then the legendary juggernaut that is League of Bike Polo needs your help! They are in need of a new logo and are looking to the Poloverse to help design one. The best design not only gets to claim bragging rights but they also will receive a FREE pair of DZR Marco shoes. All entries must be submitted by January 7th in order to have a chance to win the contest. For more info on the contest and to find some file specifications, follow this link HERE!

So get your pencils sharpened and hit those sketch books! Not like it will really matter though, my logo is definitely going to be the winner anyway!