Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Sara Livingston, 20, of Tarzana, fails to stop a shot by Brian Russell, 29, from Los Feliz as the two cross mallets at the North Hollywood Recreation Center skating rink on Oct. 24, 2010. In the last 2 years, both polo-specific bikes and manufactured mallets have emerged, though the vast majority of players still make their own mallets from ski poles and a variety of plastic pipe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Fontana bike-polo player Amanda Wainscott, 26, has played for a year and a half. She wears a lacrosse face mask for protection.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

A player's fixed-gear wheel is decorated for a day of bike polo. Enthusiasts of the scrappy game are asking for a L.A. to sanction space, where they hope one day to host world-class tournaments.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Alex "Joker" Dash, 29, of North Hollywood, center, collides with Los Feliz player Jeremy Woods, 31, left, and Sara Livingston, 20, of Tarzana. According to Dash, a player for more than three years, one of the main rules of the game is, a rider cannot touch the ground with his of her foot, which is called dabbing. If a rider dabs, he must leave play immediately, ride to center court and tap the wall before returning to the game. Physical contact is similar to that of roller hockey: Light body checking and stick checking are OK, but full-on ramming with the bike is not allowed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Two-year player Craig Weidert, 26, from North Hollywood, topples but comes up smiling.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Mallets are placed in the fence for the next match during a day of bike polo at the North Hollywood Recreation Center skating rink on Oct. 24, 2010. In the past 2 years, both polo specific bikes and manufactured mallets have emerged, though the vast majority of players still make their own mallets from ski poles and a variety of plastic pipe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Jeremy Woods prepares to go on the offensive.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Using an orange street hockey ball about the size of a tennis ball, a game is played "first to five points," in which a player hits the ball through a bike-wide goal designated by two cones.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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“It was like a demolition derby chasing the ball around,” says one bike-polo player in a story by Times staff writer Abby Sewell: “Bike polo gains ground in L.A.

To play the game, teams of three chase a street hockey ball across the court wielding long-handled mallets fashioned from ski poles and plastic piping. Most place colorful plastic covers on their wheels to keep balls and mallets from getting tangled in the spokes.

The scene alternates between grace and mayhem as riders weave and dodge around one another and occasionally crash. Many players sport scars from on-court mishaps. Some don helmets, knee pads, goggles and lacrosse gloves.

The camaraderie of the insular community is part of what draws players, some who go by polo names such as Jinxsy, Joker, Lil’ Sarah, Nola and Too $hort.

Times staff photographer Jay L. Clendenin spent time with them capturing the action. His photographs can be seen in the gallery above.

1 Comment

  1. December 10, 2010, 3:48 pm

    [...] Found this on my daily journey through port 80, though i'd share the cool photos and article. http://framework.latimes.com/2010/12…two-wheels/#/0 [...]

    By: Anonymous

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