The bike scene in Detroit is growing, and thanks to Slow Roll, it’s also getting recognized around the world. One of the things that Slow Roll has done, is bring the various local biking communities together. That recently led to a conversation about playing polo — bike polo.
“Some of the younger cats wanted to see if I could get bike polo started, get them a place to play, and here we are,” said Bradley “Bruno” Bloomhuff.
That place? The Clark Park ice rink in southwest Detroit.
“What we play is called hard court polo,” said biker Justin Dorris.
Hard court meaning outside on a hockey rink, as opposed to polo on grass.
The action is fast-paced and intense.
“This is definitely a full-contact sport,” Dorris said.
“It’s a physical game,” Bloomhuff added.
playing Detroit Bike Polo
Wipeouts happen, but they place covers over their wheels in an effort to cut down on swinging mallets getting stuck and players crashing off onto the concrete.
All of the polo action takes place with one hand on a mallet, the other on the handlebars and the lone brake.
“It kind of puts you on the same perspective as a horse. That’s why it works so well,” Dorris said.
This is what you would call an affordable way to play polo, horseless.
“They don’t need a stable. You don’t have to feed it,” Dorris said.
To score, you need to strike the ball with the end of the mallet, no pushing or shuffling it into the goal.
“The game itself is played much like you would imagine polo on horses. You strike the ball, you pass the ball, you work the ball to your end. And you try to score,” Bloomhuff said.
Normally, bike polo is played 3-on-3, but at Clark Park, they play 4-on- 4. Why? Because they have one of the best courts to play on in the country.
“It’s the Yankee Stadium of bike polo,” Bloomhuff said.
The rink is spacious and beautiful — and was put in by the Clark Park coalition and the NHL.
“It’s just fun hanging out with your friends. I’ve never met bike polo people who aren’t cool yet,” Bloomhuff said.
Check out the Detroit’s only Bike Polo league in-person every Saturday at the rink. Players arrive at 5 p.m. and pick-up style games happen until they decide to stop.
“Anybody can play the game. If you know how to ride a bike, it’s going to be fun for anybody,” Dorris said.
(Helmets and gloves strongly suggested.)