Contest

What’s an Off-Season? Contest Winner!

December 2, 2013

Thank you all for participating in our contest, and thank you all even more for supporting the site! A huge shout out to Fixcraft for helping us out with this contest; we hope to work with them for future contests.

Anyway, here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The winner of the “What’s an Off-Season” mug, the hot chocolate, the Fixcraft-DGel cool and cold weather balls is:

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SPENCER HAWKES of Provo, Utah!
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Again, thank you all and keep watching out for another contest soon!

Editorial

Clearing the Peruvian Air

November 27, 2013

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“I heard Hija de la Conja is actually made and ran by Marino’s older brother. He is the one that taught Marino everything he knows. He lives in Spain now and has no affiliation with any of Marino’s companies.”

“I’m pretty positive that the owner of Velo Lucuma is a good friend of Marino. They both co-run the company, Marino just makes the bikes and then the guy in Florida sells them for him. They joined together to sell polo frames on the cheap. Cheap in more ways than one, if you know what I’m saying!”

And so on and so on and so on. We’ve all heard rumors regarding the relationships between the frame builder Marino Alegre and both Hija de la Conja and Velo Lucuma. Instead of letting the hearsay go on and on, we figured it would be in everyone’s interest to clear the air on this topic. To get the straight forward facts, we thought it would be best to head to the sources. We set out to contact Marino, Axel (the owner of Velo Lucuma), and Alejandro (the owner of Hija de la Conja), and we ended up getting great responses from 2/3’s of them. Marino and Alejandro responded with lightning speed (sadly, we never heard from Axel of Velo Lucuma). Both of them were more than eager to help shed some light on the foggy picture.

It turns out Alejandro is not Marino’s brother; in fact their is no physical relation at all. They are both just great friends who met though a passion of making bikes. Alejandro graduated college with a Masters in Product Development and an eagerness to use that knowledge in creating the perfect polo bike for himself. He sought out someone to help build this dream bike for him and he found a Peruvian trials and downhill frame builder to do so. This was Marino’s first taste of the bittersweet polo life. Together they created the Beer Point; which Alejandro abused for well over a year with no complaints.

With the test a success, Alejandro felt confident that Marino would be able to produce quality products for him in the future. This is one of the reasons he felt comfortable starting Hija de la Coneja. He had the design background, the close friendship with an ambitious frame builder and drive to fill a void in the polo marketplace. While enthusiastic, Alejandro prides himself on being cautious and therefore takes the time to thoroughly test out his designs before putting them on the market. To Alejandro, this and his small product runs of the frames are what set his bikes apart from Axel’s Velo Lucumas.

Marino was kind enough to shed some light on the relationship between himself and Axel of Velo Lucuma. Marino tells us that he met Axel in Peru at his job at a bank. Marino says that the two became good friends, and that Axel still keeps true to his Peruvian ties and visits the country almost monthly, despite moving to Weston, Florida a few years ago. Axel took his close-knit ties to the frame maker and his business/economic background to bring inexpensive hardcourt frames to North America.

To design his initial frames, Axel looked at Marino’s custom bike orders and found the most common measurements. He also started designing the frames with common features found on Marino custom builds; such as triple triangles and curved seat tubes. With a background in business more so than product development, Axel uses his ambition to push for mass production (well, as mass production as can come from a small Peruvian work shop). He uses his business background to bring low cost bike frames to more than just the polo community. Looking at the Velo Lucuma website, you can see that they also offer fat bike frames, fixed freestyle frames, 29er mountain bike frames, and fixed gear track frames.

If there is anything you should take from this article it is that Marino is a frame builder. While he offers custom frames, he also does production runs of frames for other companies. Axel of Velo Lucuma and Alejandro of Hija de la Coneja decided that they wanted to design and sell polo frames. To do so, they both decided to turn to their close friend Marino to build the bikes for them. While both Axel and Alejandro have their frames built at the same source, it is fairly evident that they have a different thought process going into their designs that extends through to the production. This can be most clearly seen in the difference in their end products.

Product

Hija de la Coneja 2014 Preview

November 26, 2013
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Yesterday Hija de la Coneja released a preview of their 2014 line of bike polo frames, and they are looking gorgeous. While the 2014 Hija de la Conejas kept their trademark wishbone seat stay, they did add a couple new features to ensure that we will all see more of these frames on courts around the world. Firstly, they added an XL frame! Their frame sizes tend to run smaller than other polo bikes (I normally ride a medium and I would ride a large Coneja) so by adding an XL you can grab the demographic of bike polo players over six foot tall. On top of this, they also dropped some extra bucks on heat treating each frame. They wanted to insure that dents and dings would stay off of their frames so that you could enjoy your Hija de la Coneja for years to come.

If you’re looking for a new polo bike for the 2014 season, why not hit up our friends from Barcelona, Spain and pick up a Hija de la Coneja. At $500 for a shipped frameset, that’s hard to pass up!  Here are some additional pictures to help convince you:

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Contest

Get Winter Ready On Us!

November 25, 2013
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We wanted to thank you again for helping us get over 1,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook. But since you are our loyal fans, we feel that you deserve much more than than us simply saying ‘Thank you’ over and over! Sp we decided the best thing to do was give you FREE STUFF! With the help of our buds over at Fixcraft, we are going to be offering you some fun wintertime goodies:

  • A one of a kind mug with an inspirational image to help you get through cold polo.
  • A Fixcraft-DGel pink Cool Weather bike polo ball.
  • A Fixcraft-DGel blue Cold Weather bike polo ball.
  • A bag of some delicious hot chocolate to help you stay warm.

To win these treats, all you have to do is head to our FACEBOOK PAGE  and share our post about this contest. As easy as that and you could be sitting next to the courts keeping warm by drinking hot chocolate out of a one of a kind mug while you wait for your turn to hit some balls around. Contest begins today (November 24th) and ends Sunday at 11:59pm cst; we will draw the winner Monday morning (December 2nd).

It’s worth noting that if you live in a climate where you will never use a Fixcraft-DGel cool pink or cold blue then we will substitute these for the traditional Canadian orange balls. But we will still be sending you the one of a kind mug and hot chocolate, because I mean come on, who doesn’t love hot chocolate?!?

Thank you all again for the support and keep telling your friends to check us out!

 

Editorial, Hot Tip

7 Things Hardcourt can Learn from BASEketball

November 22, 2013

One year before six messengers decided to hit a ball around in a parking lot for fun, a film was released that went on to be called the greatest sports movie of all time (by me). Written and Directed by the spoof comedy legend David Zucker (Airplane!, Naked Gun, Scary MoVie fame), BASEketball not only made viewers ROFL, it showed that the country was bored of mainstream sports and ready for something fresh. While the movie didn’t cause (I assume) the bike messengers to grab croquette mallets and hit balls around, we can thank it for opening the doors to a new sporting mindset. Even today, 15 years later, we can look back at this 1998 smash hit and see its relevance to 2013 main stream sports. On top of that, we can look back at BASEketball and learn a thing or two on advancing our underground sport as a whole, as well as, helping our everyday play. Here are seven things that BASEketball can teach Hardcourt Bike Polo:

1. The world is ready  for a mixed sport!

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“It’s kind of like hockey but on bikes.” “It’s like horse polo but our ponies are made of steel.” Every time someone unfamiliar with the sport asks us about it, we compare it to the sports that we steal aspects from. If Hardcourt Bike polo were a tree, it’s roots would be horse polo, its trunk would be a bicycle, and the branches would be hockey. With horse polo as the frame work, and using hockey rules as a guideline to help develop the sport, we are a mismatch of sports; just like how BASEketball is an obvious combination of Baseball and Basketball. In the movie, the combination works! Sports fans were ready for something new, and a mix of familiar sports was just what they were waiting for!

2. We don’t need longer games!

In the rules survey that NAH recently released this question was asked, “Tournament games should follow which format?” Luckily, the winning vote was for “Swiss Rounds – 10min, or first to 5. / Double Elim – 12min, or first to 5. / Bracket Finals – 15min, or first to 5. / Final – 20min, or first to 5″. This is plenty! Our tournaments are long and people don’t want to watch a ten minute game where one team racks up 20 points on the other. Lets get games over with so winning teams can rest and our fans don’t get bored. You can see this effect in everyday life as well. This is why stupid Buzzfeed style lists work; people want to be entertained by short videos and a few sentences.

3. We don’t need to over complicate our qualifying season!

There has been a lot of discussion over on the League of Bike Polo about the pros and cons of our current qualifying structure. Some feel that the current way of doing things (regional qualifiers going into a North American Championship going into a World Championship) is perfect for our sport. Some feel that the only thing that needs to change is the lay out of the regions in which the qualifiers take place. And then there are others who feel we need to completely abandon our current structure and go to a points based system. This system would call for teams/players to earn points at several different tournaments around the country. The better you do at each tournament, the more points you get. The more points you obtain, the higher ranking you/your team get. An X amount of the top ranked teams would then go on to the North American Championship. This system was hard enough for me to put into words, let alone put into actual use. We don’t need to over complicate our qualifying system! Fix the regions if need be, but don’t abandon a system that works for one that is confusing and complicated.

4. Teams of three work! 

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The Beers team was made up of six players: Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper, Doug Remer, Squeak Scolari, and three other guys who never got any playing time. Much like the sport of BASEketball, all you need are three all-star players to form a world championship team in Hardcourt! But unlike BASEketball, Hardcourt doesn’t need a bench with extraneous players. I’m all for changes that better the sport for players and viewers alike, but somethings don’t need to change. We don’t need to change the backbone of the sport just so we can move toward major sports playoff style championships. If tournament style championships work for sports like tennis, then why can’t it work for Hardcourt? Tennis has been around a lot longer than the NFL/NBA/NHL etc, so we should shoot for a system that is long lasting. The pro team-sports model rely on million dollar backers and corporations to stay afloat. Take away their money and the sports fall apart. Without this financial backing, Hardcourt would have the same problem. For Bench Format to become the next NHL, the teams would need to travel all around the country, similar to other pro sports, in order to gain viewers and a national broadcast. Instead, lets follow the tennis tournament structure, take a page from BASEketball and just allow three all-stars to come together and become the best in the world.

5. Alcohol prevents us from preforming at our best!

Drinking and Hardcourt Bike Polo seem to go hand-in-hand. Getting together with your friends drinking beers and playing a fun sport is one of the main reasons many players continue to come to pick up week after week. But it’s important to remember that there is a difference between pick up and tournament play. At the regional qualifiers, the North American Championship, and the WHBPC it is better to grab one or two less drinks. I’ve seen great teams fall apart because one player decided partying was more important than playing to the best of their potential. Jordan never got shit faced the night before his championship games, Gretzky never tried to make a wizard staff while fighting for the Stanley Cup, Tiger Woods doesn’t pop bottles between important matches of the PGA Tour; I think you get the point. Save the drinking for pick up and celebrating your tournament success.

6. Psych Out’s totally work!

From getting defenders to turn their head the wrong why to completely getting them out of the play, psych outs have their place in Hardcourt Bike Polo too. The two players who we can teach us a thing or two about psych outs are Pete Abram or Chris Roberts. Love him or hate him, Abram is the best at getting defenders to turn their head the opposite way that he is going. One thing you can easily learn from Abram is talking to your teammates. Tell them what you are about to do and then do the opposite. If you tell your teammate that your about to pass the ball to them and then pause for a split second, this will cause the defender to second guess what you’re doing and it gives you the ability to get around them. Add in a believable fake pass arm motion, and you gain an even bigger gap between you and the defender. Roberts, on the other hand, using the psych out to get players completely out of the play. One of my favorite moments from the 2013 WHBPC was when a player checked Roberts off of his bike; coincidentally the player took himself out too. Clean hit or not, Roberts started talking to the player about the reasons why the check was dirty. He wasn’t yelling at the player, he was just politely standing there with his bike having a conversation. While Roberts was talking to the player, The Means were in total control of the ball and scored on the other team. It was a hilarious strategy.

7. Most importantly, don’t let the sport get to your head!

For me, Hardcourt Bike Polo is the punk rock of sports. It is a place where losers and rejects can come together and play a competitive sport that isn’t overrun with jocks and meat-heads. The worst thing this sport can do is forget where it all started. As the tournaments get more serious and the equipment gets more specialized, we can’t forget the punk and DIY ethics that helped ignite this sport. This is a sport that welcomes all races, genders and sexual orientations, and it needs to stay that way! As the sport grows, we can’t forget who we are and why we all started playing.