Culture, Media

Liam’s Amazing Qualifier Photos

June 30, 2014
hlrq2014 liam gilson 2

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.

Culture, Media

How Bike Polo is Making Portland Better

June 26, 2014
portland bike polo
m4s0n501

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.

Tournaments

Follow the 2014 EHBPC Now!

June 25, 2014
ehbpc 2014 padova

ehbpc 2014 padova

Bike polo players from all over Europe have now gathered in Padova for the biggest European tournament of the season. With the Wild Card pre-tournament on Wednesday, the actual European Championship runs from Thursday to Saturday. Looking at the bracket breakdown for Thursday, you might feel confused about how things will work out (and you’re not the only one). But with enough studying, I’m sure someone like Socraties will understand it and put it in terms that simpletons like us can understand.

Follow the Wild Card here: https://www.podiumbikepolo.com/EHBPC2014wildcard

Follow the EHBPC here: https://www.podiumbikepolo.com/EHBPC2014

One last thing…

EDDY EDDY EDISONS EDISONS EDISOOOOOOON!

Tournaments

2014 NAHBPC Brackets Set

June 25, 2014
north american hardcourt bike polo championship nahbpc

north american hardcourt bike polo championship nahbpc

In case you do not follow the North American Bike Polo Association on Facebook, or you’ve decided to take a little break from the League of Bike Polo, then here is a link to the North American Bike Polo Championship brackets. Thanks to the work that Vince Foley has put into Podium, we can easily start preparing for our opponents. On a side note, we all owe Vince so much for all of the work that he has put into Podium.

Study your group, find videos of them online, start talking smack on Facebook, get pumped for the biggest bike polo tournament in North America!

And before I forget, here is the link: https://www.podiumbikepolo.com/nahbpc2014

Let’s go Prospectors!

Tournaments

And The Cunning Stunts Win!

June 23, 2014
cunning stunts ladies army

cunning stunts ladies armyThanks you to League of Bike Polo for the photo. 

Mallets were swung, goals were scored, blood was shed, and after two hard fought days, Ladies Army 6 has come to an end. While I couldn’t make it, I did follow along all weekend thanks to Podium. Severally times I found myself refreshing Podium instead of watching the games at the Polo Trolls. With such amazing players at Ladies Army, I almost cared more about the outcome of Ladies Army games than my own tournament. Killer ladies playing some killer polo, I couldn’t help myself!

In case you spent Sunday night under a rock, Ladies Army 6 ended with Hot Honey Biscuits coming back from the losers bracket and taking the Cunning Stunts to a second final game. At the end of regulation time in the second final game, the score was tied 2 – 2 thanks to a hot goal from Hot Honey Biscuits’ Erica Compton. With amazing defense on both ends, the final game ended up lasting over an hour! After the long and exhausting game, the Cunning Stunts found themselves scoring the game winning goal and walking away as champions of Ladies Army 6.

Congratulations to the Cunning Stunts of yet again winning Ladies Army, and a huge shout out to 321 Polo’s Sam Bell for coming in 4th place with her team The Cuntrol.