Oslo Bike Polo

What’s going on? Bike polo, of course! We spend a Sunday watching bike polo in Oslo. This is how it went down:

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

It’s Sunday and it’s the beginning of May. As we arrive a quarter to two at Kristiparken (aka Oslo Bike Polo HQ) we are greeted by Séan and Sébastian. The sun is out, and by the looks of it, it will be a great day for some polo. The guys start setting up the court: wooden planks to cover up the gaps in the construction surrounding the court, fixing bikes and placing two goals on each side of the court. One by one the rest of the gang start arriving, each one greeted by hugs and smiles. From a speaker Rodriguez’s Sugar Man is playing.

45 minutes later enough players have turned up, and after a short detour where the pink ball was nowhere to be found, the game can begin. Normally the gang spend most of the afternoon at the court, just hanging out, playing, and drinking beers and barbequing. Beginners are always welcomed, although the team has noticed that if they put “beginners welcome” in the Facebook event more tend to turn up. Today’s round attracts one new player, and several curious onlookers.

On the court instructions and cheers are being shouted among the players. The game is fast; with a total of six players pedalling back and forth taking turns on being defence or offence trying to put the pink ball in the net. The game is mostly conducted by “playing nice”. It is understood that scuffles and aggressive behaviour is not welcome. Nonetheless, the definition of “niceness” is not always the same, which today leads to an occasional outbreak. Five minutes later though, the guys have hugged it out and the second game of the day begins.

- It’s the adrenalin! Sébastian shouts.
We bet.

The rules

Oslo Bike Polo play an alternate form of cycle polo called Hardcourt. The rules vary slightly by city, but there are three core rules of the play:

1) If you touch the ground with your foot (foot down) you must “tap out” by riding to mid-court and hit a designated area with your mallet.

2) In order to score you must hit the ball across the goal line using the narrow end of the mallet.

3) After scoring a goal, you must wait on your half of the course for the other team to cross the half.

Want to catch a game? Go to Oslo Bike Polo for updated events and news.