Cycle Polo or Bike
Polo or Bicycle polo is an outdoor game
similar to Polo, except that bicycles are used instead
of horses. The sport originated in Ireland and was
formally invented by Richard J. Mecredy in 1891. The
game is currently played mainly in USA, France,
India and Canada.
For those who
like the fast pace of horse polo, bicycle polo provides
an option that is at least as exciting. During the
sixties and seventies, a lot of impetus was provided
to the sport, particularly in Bikaner, though in recent
years it has become somewhat dissipated. However,
for those who may like to participate in a friendly
match, or to observe one, special arrangements can
be made on request. In more recent years, the sport
has developed a following in the Shekhawati region.
Cycle polo is played in a rectangular field 150 meters
by 100 meters. Nevertheless, these dimensions can
vary between 120 and 150 meters in length on 80 to
100 meters in width. The French rules however allow
for smaller grounds usually 100 by 80 meters. The
ball used is of circumference 12-15 inches and the
mallet is of length 1 meter. Interestingly, the cycles
used for the game are not allowed to have brakes.
There are 6 members (7 in France)
in a team of which 4 (5 in France) are on field at
a time. The other two are used as substitutes. International
matches are played for a duration of 30 minutes divided
into periods of 7.5 minutes each called as a chukkar.
Extra time can be used to determine the winner in
case the scores are tied at normal time. The goal
posts are usually widened for extra time.
If a deliberate foul is permitted
at the vicinity of the goal, the team that is fouled
is automatically given a goal. There are no penalty
strokes. Less severe fouls are awarded 15 metre and
25 metre free hits. In the event of deliberate fouls
or dangerous fouls, the umpire can issue the Yellow
card (warning) and in case of repeated or severe fouls
the Red card (ejection). The ejected player can be
replaced by a substitute after the end of the current
chukkar if the umpire allows it.
The game was invented by an Irishman, Richard J. Mecredy
in 1891. That same year the first cycle polo match
was played between The Scalp and the Ohne Hast C.C..
Towards the end of the 19th
century the game reached Great Britain, USA and France.
The first international match was played between Ireland
and England in 1901. Cycle polo was an Olympic even
in the 1908 London Olympics with Ireland winning the
gold beating Germany.
The sport reached its peak
of popularity in Great Britain during the 1930s with
the introduction of the regional leagues. Cycle polo
also flourished in France during this period with
the establishment of the French league. Internationals
between France and Great Britain were held regularly.
However the second world war marked the beginning
of the demise of cycle polo in Britain. The sport
managed to hang on in France though, with league championships
held regularly till today.
The 1980s saw the rise of two
new powers in cycle polo, India and USA. The Cycle
Polo Assosciation of India was officially created
in 1966 and the Bicycle Polo Assosciation of America
was created in 1994. International cycle polo matches
staged a comeback in the 90s with the first world
championship organized in 1996 in USA. Teams from
India, USA and Canada participated with India winning
the title. The next championship was held in 1999
in Vancouver, Canada which was also won by India.
From then on, the championship became a regular event
held every year.
The 2004 championship was won
by the USA, with teams from India, Canada, France
and Pakistan participating.
Today there is organized cycle
polo being played in Argentina, Australia, Canada,
France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Malaysia,
New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland
150 meters in length by 100 meters in width for Seniors
120 meters in length by 80 meters in width for Sub
Juniors and women.
Goal posts 4 meters apart, 2.5 meters in height and
1.5 meters in width.
Ordinary cycle of any make and size is used . No extra
attachments such as mud guards, bells , stand , carrier
or gears are allowed.
The game was originally played with a Bamboo Horse
Polo Ball . Later in India Tennis Ball was introduced
for safety reasons.
Cosco International has now
made a Cosco Bicycle Polo Ball. The description of
the ball is as under.
Weight : 85 to 90 grams
Size : 75 to 76.5 MM
Diameter : 24 Cms
Bounce : 39 Inches
Felt : TTI
Sticks made from bamboo cane with wooden head in sizes
36, 34 and 32 inches are used for the game.
A full game consists of 4 chukkers of 7.1/2 minutes
each . The Senior Final is of 5 chukkers.
A team consists of 4 playing members with 2 extras.
Later amendment in substitution rules for women, girls
and sub-junior boys, allow 4 playing members with
Handicaps are allotted to players in senior category
according to their standard of play . A separate Handicap
tournament is played once a year.
If you would like to have a
game especially organised, you are requested to contact
RJPF to have it arranged.