Hardcourt Bike Polo Rules
by Doug Dalrymple
These are the general rules for weekly pick-up games in New York City. Tournaments have more specific rules depending on the location.
-Two teams of three players.
-Any type of bicycle is allowed. Handlebars MUST be plugged. Also see my How To: Build a polo bike.
-Mallets must resemble a croquet mallet with a wide side and a round end. Modified ski poles and plastic pipe are the most common materials. The handle end of the mallet MUST be plugged. Also see my How To: Build a polo mallet.
-The ball will be a street hockey ball.
-Goals will be a pair of orange cones spaced one bike length apart.
-If a goal cone is disrupted it is the responsibility of the player who disrupted it to fix it.
-Start of a game: Each team will be stopped behind its own goal line and the ball will be positioned at center court. Play will begin with a “3 2 1 GO!” from the sideline.
-Players may not play the ball with their feet at any time.
-Scoring a goal must be made from what started as a hit. A hit is made from the end of a player’s mallet. A “shuffle” does not count as a goal; if the ball is shuffled through the goal, play continues uninterrupted.
-After a goal is scored, the team who scored returns to their half of the court. The team who was scored on takes possession of the ball.
-Call out the score after each goal.
-Passing “backward” through the goal (from behind the goal line to in front of it, through the goal, a.k.a. “goal offsides”): When the ball is passed through the goal in this way, a goal CANNOT be scored by the first player to play the ball. Any subsequent player to play the ball may score. If a ball is shot from in front of the goal line and does not go through the goal but bounces off the back wall and comes out through the goal, the ball is in play and can be scored. A ball that crosses a goal line backwards must be “hit” before it can score.
-Players must not touch the ground, or “foot-down”. Each time a player goes foot-down, that player is out of play and may not play the ball until they ride to the side line at center court and ring the bell. Then they may return to play. Only one side of the court has a bell, not both.
-Contact rules: “Like” contact is allowed. Player to player (body to body), except grabbing or pushing with hands. Mallet to mallet (generally, hitting another player’s mallet is poor etiquette if that player is not attempting to play the ball or in front of the goal, playing goalie). Bike to bike.
-Everything else is NOT allowed: Mallet to player, player to bike, mallet to bike, etc.
-Throwing of mallets is not allowed at any time, in any situation.
-Some games are timed and end after 10 minutes. Some games are not timed.
-Most games are played to 5 points. Some games are played to 3 points.
-Trash talking is allowed.