BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

September 4, 2012
BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)



The first thing we noticed on arriving at the bike polo – apart from the millions of bikes – was beards, everywhere. Long ones, short ones, straggly ones, brown ones, black ones, red ones, blonde ones, beards as far as the eye could see. It seems the sport attracts a hirsute sort of a man and a very cool sort of a girl (though they didn’t have beards).

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

We honed in on one beard, owned by Mark, the manager of our Stratford store, and asked it questions. Here’s what happened.

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

How did you first get into bike polo? Through lfgss.com, which is a fixed and single speed forum with a polo section.

Where in the world would you most like to ride your bike?
I’d like to do a tour of South America, Che Guevara style.

What music would be on your bike ride soundtrack?
Lots of angry Norwegian men with painted faces, screaming about woods and such.

What advice would you give to aspiring bike polo players?
Stick at it, you won’t get amazing over night, but it’s so awesome when you get the hang of it. No fear!

Can you do any bike stunts?
Some say I fall off very graciously.

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

We hung about all Saturday, drinking coffee, enjoying the odd sausage sandwich and watching the games unfold, secretly hoping somebody would crash. What? You would too. The players were so into their games that we didn’t notice when the weather started to pitter patter on our heads. But then it rained…

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

And it rained…

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

And it rained…

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

And then we ate a Mars Bar…

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

And it rained…

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)

And STILL the players played on. These are dedicated people – while the rest of us sheltered under the beer tent and bemoaned our wet feet, they played. And then the courts flooded and they had to stop. 7am Sunday morning they were all back up and about again, taking over Bethnal Green with their bikes and equipment while we were still in bed.

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) By the end of the weekend 82 teams had played, plus 14 all-girl teams on the Friday, making this the biggest tournament held since 2009. Let’s have three cheers for the winners, of the Hell’s Belles were London’s Tornadoes and the London Open winners were Yank Your Wank, a mixed team from Seattle, Como and Missouri.

BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS) BIKE POLO: SPORT OF CHAMPIONS (AND BEARDS)