Bike polo in Birmingham: learn about the unique sport here

Bike polo players chasing down a ball
Bike polo is growing in Birmingham. (Lily Plowden / Bham Now)

Bike polo is a little-known pastime enjoyed in cities all around the nation. Do you know about its history in the Magic City? Read on to learn more about Birmingham’s very own bike polo club.

What is bike polo?

Bike polo bike
Bikes used in bike polo are modified in order to reach top speed faster. (Lily Plowden / Bham Now)

Bike polo is exactly what it sounds like—polo played on bikes. There are bike polo clubs all over the country, and there is even an annual World Championship (it was hosted in Lexington, KY in 2017). Bike polo is over 100 years old, and was even an exhibition at the 1908 Olympics. Normally, bike polo is played in teams of three and the matches are 12 minutes long. While there aren’t many technical rules in bike polo, everyone operates under a general agreement to have good sportsmanship. This means no intentionally knocking people off their bikes and avoiding moves that could injure other players.

“You’ll find that when you ask people that play what their favorite part of bike polo is, they’ll say the community. It’s such a cool community to get involved in. We just encourage people to come check it out.”

– Jackie Miller, President, Birmingham Bike Polo Club

A common remark among bike polo players is how unique their community is. Bike polo, in their eyes, is a way to connect people who would otherwise have nothing to do with each other.

“I go to a new place to live and see if they have a polo club. You get instant community.”

– Toby Chu, member, Birmingham Bike Polo Club

How to get involved in Birmingham

The bike polo club with Mayor Woodfin
The Birmingham Bike Polo Club is working with the city to get funding to renovate their courts. (Birmingham Hardcourt Bike Polo, AL / Facebook)

The club in Birmingham meets every Sunday (weather permitting) at 4 PM at the tennis courts behind the Fountain Heights Rec Center. Check our their Facebook page or their website to learn more. There is no need to have your own mallet or even your own bike—the club has extras of both that they are happy to lend you. If you’re curious about bike polo, Birmingham is hosting their first-ever tournament on July 16th and 17th, and spectators are welcome.

“We just want to expose our club to what a tournament can be like. Hopefully we can catch some of the foot traffic from The World Games.”

– Jackie Miller, President, Birmingham Bike Polo Club

What’s next for bike polo in Birmingham?

The Birmingham bike polo poster
The Birmingham Bike Polo Club meets behind the Fountain Heights Rec Center every Sunday. (Birmingham Hardcourt Bike Polo, AL / Facebook)

Right now, the biggest obstacle the club faces is resurfacing the tennis courts they currently use. As you may have noticed, these courts are cracked and pose a possible hazard for players. The club is working with Birmingham Parks and Recreation to receive the necessary funding to fix these courts up.

“There’s a lot of people that want to play and have come out and expressed interest, but our biggest hurdle right now is trying to find the funding to build the court out.”

– Jackie Miller, President, Birmingham Bike Polo Club

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Lily Plowden
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