Shanghai Bike Polo

April 25th, 2009: China, Shanghai

Bike Polo time!

On Saturday, J. and I met A., D., and M. for some Shanghai bike polo. The boys had played the previous weekend and raved about it, so we thought it was worth a shot. This weekend was the third organized set of games, and the crowd was healthy. Most of the people were foreigners living in Shanghai, but there were a few locals. Most of the bikes were fancy fixed gears, though all bike were welcome.
The organizer.
A. and D.
Security struts.
Traditional sports nearby.

The games started at 1PM near a wide set of steps leading up to Shanghai Stadium. A few played in earnest, but two security guards dressed in grey suits were passive aggressively trying to get them to leave. The guards nabbed balls, blocked the goals. They claimed to be kicking us out because of a soccer game that afternoon, but a similar shooing had happened the week before. I think it was more of a power trip.

After some deliberation, the group paraded to a vacant parking lot behind an ice skating rink on the northwest corner of the complex. The area was a little more inconspicuous, partially shaded, and security approved. This will be the grounds for the future games.

Games were played with two teams of three riders each. The goals were made from orange cones spaced one bike apart. Little walls were built with stones from a rubble pile to keep the balls from rolling away on shot attempts. They weren’t very effective and kept getting plowed into by riders. Each game went to five points. They seemed pretty slow and awkward looking from the sidelines, but were much more frantic to play.
Ball control.
The heat of the game.
Mr. Cool.
Spectators and the tap out point.
Blue bike, blue clothes, red wall.

I played three games, scoring a few goals and setting up a few others. It was incredible hard to not touch the ground, control a ball with a mallet, and not crash into other bikers. If you touched the ground, you had to bike over to a large soccer ball shaped kiosk to tap out before going into the game again. There were a few spectacular crashes that day, though I wasn’t involved in any. I did T-bone someone and fall of my seat a few times though.
Me trying to get the dang ball under control.
Me getting the ball unstuck from behind the goal.
More playing.

Music played from a ghetto blaster on the sidelines. I brought the feather for some kicking fun. There were drinks, friends, spectators. The games went well into the early evening. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.
Ghetto blaster.
The sun gets low.

For more information on Shanghai bike polo, visit the Shanghai fixed gear blog or read the Smart Shanghai interview with the organizer.

Earlier on Saturday, J. and rode northward to eat lunch at a cafe called Pier 39. J. had a craving for clam chowder in a bread bowl. I had a craving for a vegetable sandwich. The food was a little pricy, but good. But the highlight by far was the rooftop deck. The weather was perfect and sunny. The deck overlooked a dense neighborhood of old buildings surrounded by high-rises.
Construction on the driveway of our apartment.
Building washers.
Rooftop view from Pier 39 Cafe..
Dense old homes.
Man putting clothes up to dry.
Old lady on her sunny porch.
Snap peas.
Clothes dying.
Plants on a balcony.
The thoughtful man of Shanghai.
Bread bowl.
Veggie sandwich.
The diners.

I could have spent the whole day sitting up there.

J.’s take on the day is right here on her blog.

3 Responses

Radio said:

“Building Washers” is my favourite. :)

i can only imagine how bad i’d be at bicycle polo, but it does look like fun. and that boom box rocks!

also wish the window washers at my office would wear awesome red jump suits!


Drew said:

Great to see the Strong bike in action!

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