Tuesday, 12 April 2011

day off

I was hijacked by The Carpenter on Sunday....he possibly had an ulterior motive...not wanting to ride an extra 35 mile round trip! ...but he wanted me to have a day off too. This is him on his "new" polo bike, the first time he has had a single freewheel one instead of fixed wheel. Both brakes work off the one lever, thanks to some ingenious metalwork.
This shows the size of the tennis court they play on. " They " being Cardiff Bike Polo (sorry for non-facebookers, but that is the only site they have at present)

The event was a celebratory tournament (well...two games!) against the Bristol group, The Severn Steelers, to celebrate a year of polo in Cardiff.

Cycle polo was invented in 1891, but was re-invented by cycle couriers in New York, so the rules have changed...and grown..since I last played in about 1969!
It is now generally played on any old bikes- cheap and fun!

The referee has to stand on a bike to see over the fencing! The goal referees stand on the wall each end.
As there is only room for three each side on the small pitch and there were sixteen riders, it was decided to change both games from six 'chukkas' of 15 minutes to an hour and a half non-stop with player substitutions so that everyone had turns and no-one got too tired!

I didn't play as I felt uneasy on a freewheel bike, found the mallet a little unwieldy and was 42 years out of practice!! I enjoyed riding round the practice court whilst the Carpenter was having his rests . Also enjoyed just sitting watching in he sun!!

1 comment:

soubriquet said...

Somewhere or other, i have a copy of "Lords of the Atlas: The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua", by gavin maxwell, (yes, he of Ring of Bright Water'), in which he describes the glee with which the Lords of the High Atlas, in the castles high in the mountain fastnesses, took to bicycle polo. T'Hami el Glaoui was fabulously rich, by anybody's standards, and loved all things modern and european. Bicycles were, to him, fantastic fun, so he'd import them by the dozens from england, have them packed onto donkeys for the climb into the mountains, (as he also did with a Rolls Royce in pieces), and delivered to his castle, where they'd be ridden by his warriors, expert horsemen, fearless, but totally new to wheeled transport.
They were also fiercely competitive. So the end of a match left a heap of wrecked bikes and injured warriors. no matter. Warriors were aplenty in the atlas, and more bikes were usually on their way.

"As Gavin Maxwell wrote in Lords of The Atlas (1966), "the whole emerging world of Western mechanical invention was dangled before his eyes".

Harris recorded how the Sultan's palaces became littered with what the British Press "once seriously described as 'evidences of Christian civilisation at Fez' . . .grand pianos and kitchen-ranges, automobiles [even though there was no road in all Morocco] and immense cases of corsets; wild animals in cages; and boxes of strange theatrical uniforms; barrel-organs and hansom-cabs; a passenger lift capable of rising to dizzy altitudes, destined for a one-storied palace; false hair; cameras of gold and silver with jewelled buttons; carved marble lions and living macaw parrots; steamlaunches and fireworks; ladies' underclothing from Paris, and saddlery from Mexico; trees for gardens that were never planted, or if planted, were never watered; printing-presses and fire-balloons - an infinity of all that was grotesque, useless and in bad taste".
The profligacy, which placed Morocco deeply in debt, allied to the Sultan's tendency to surround himself with Europeans (not to mention the bicycle-polo with ladies of the harem in fancy dress), did nothing for his reputation among his more frugal subjects. In 1907, five years before most of Morocco became a French protectorate, he was toppled after his army was mysteriously routed by a vastly inferior force belonging to his elder brother. As his viziers fled in panic, Abdul Aziz displayed a notable detachment from his personal situation. "This morning I was Sultan," he said calmly. "This evening I am a man like any other.""

When I get my time machine, I'll go visit him.