December 12, 2023
This year at HDMS we offered an "advanced" class. The idea was that the students would get taught a bunch of skills and techniques that sometimes we take for granted, like how to go up a curb, ghostride a second bike, and practice wheelies for example. One of the things that we planned and I guess the Reno Bike Project has been wanting to do for some time now is play Bike Polo. Now I know what you are thinking. Bike Polo in 2023? With middle schoolers? The likes of which were born after the rise and subsequent fall in Bike Polo popularity. Yes I say. Bike Polo. I found a company that had made a bunch of Polo mallet heads and ordered a dozen (I'm sure we will get more). Then with help from the community we sourced a bunch of old ski poles, yes, one dozen. Then, Mikey, who is a long time friend and volunteer of the Reno Bike Project and I built up all the mallets. If you know Mikey, you know that we took some test whaps. Although me and Mikey were def around cycling a lot during the North American Hardcourt Polo craze, neither of us have ever played Bike Polo at all. Even though it combines two of our favorite things, biking and whapping stuff. With the mallets built and the rules printed and learned, I took the game to HDMS. If you don't know, Bike Polo is a three on three kinda bicycle hockey type game. It really really tests your skills as a cyclist and def makes you a better cyclist.
The first day at HDMS we just kinda went over the basics. Rules, dribbling, shooting. We set up a small makeshift court and were playing Bike Polo, in a parking lot, in late 2023. We scouted the neighborhoods for a court and went to work. After a short stay at a perfect local court a concerned citizen informed us that Bike Polo isn't allowed in the park and if we continue to play "someone could call the authorities", so we left. On our way out we decided to cut through the rest of the park to head towards our next scouted location and all of us, 10 students, the teacher, and me, all rode through one of the biggest goathead patches I have ever seen. So big it would cloud your mind. We spent maybe the next 20 minutes picking goatheads out of our tires. For the class we all ride the same kind of mountain bike, and we all have "Slime" tubes. I told the students that just one of these goatheads would make my commuter bike get a flat & let me tell you, with all honesty, that these slime tubes are little miracles. All of us rode about 5 more miles each, and even though I had personally heard over 30 pffffffffts, while pulling goatheads out, ALL of our tires held air for the rest of the ride. Coming back to the bikes the next week for class was a different story. With 5 bikes having flat tires and I am certain more in the making. Good thing the kids all know how to fix flats at this point. We are going to continue to play Polo on and off for the rest of the semester and the Major Taylor Program will be playing well into the future.