Fast-paced, sociable and refreshingly free from rules, bike polo is growing in popularity in Bristol.
“I’m a fan of most strange sports, and this one far exceeded my expectations,” says Kate Ashley, a cyclist and recent convert.
“I’d only ever seen a photo of New Yorkers playing before I went along to try it out at the 2017 Bristol Cycle Festival.
“Riding with a large mallet in one hand felt like being on a bike for the first time. There’s so much to think about – balancing without dropping your feet off the pedals, steering one-handed, remembering to look up, and, of course, managing to brake before you ride into the wall.”
Kate has spoken of her recent bike polo debut in a bid to encourage more women to give the sport a go and consider joining the Bristol team.
“There was a really relaxed atmosphere down on Myrtle Road,” she continues.
“There are no fixed positions in bike polo, no ‘out-of-bounds’ lines you can’t cross, and no offside rule. In fact there are barely any rules, and everyone seemed welcome to just have a go.
“The Bristol Bike Polo team are the friendliest bunch; I’ve never seen players of any sport take so much time to slow down the game and make it accessible to us newbies, giving us easy passes and lining up shots so we could try for a goal. It’s also clear from everyone’s faces just how much they love to play – and after one game, I was equally hooked.”
Bike polo taster sessions are happening at Southville Primary School, Myrtle Road, as part of Bristol Cycle Festival on Thursday (September 21) from 7pm to 9pm or Saturday (September 23) from 2pm to 4pm. Search for Bristol Bike Polo on Facebook for more information.
Kate is a twenty-something feminist living in Bristol. When she’s not on her bike, you can find her on Twitter @kateashley1.
Read more: The return of Bristol Cycle Festival