London Bike Polo
Bike polo is a mixed-gender contact sport played on bikes in teams of 3. It’s fun, fast paced, and played by a broad range of friendly people.
Find us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Newington Gardens SE1 (7-9pm), and Wednesdays at Baxter Road N1 (7-9pm). Thursdays are our weekly beginners-specific sessions, but you’re welcome to join, watch, or hang out at any of our nights.
About Bike Polo
Bike polo was invented in the 1890s and shares a common ancestor with polo played on horseback, but has evolved into its own sport. Today, it’s either played on grass, or on sports courts (like basketball and football courts) which is why this variant is called “hardcourt bike polo”. Bike polo is a DIY global community, and we have players who custom make mallets and bikes for the sport, as well as a full calendar of international bike polo tournaments throughout the year.
In London, we play hardcourt bike polo both North and South of the River:
- Tuesdays and Thursdays (7-9pm) at Newington Gardens, SE1 6PX
- Wednesdays (7-9pm) at Baxter Road, N1 3QD
Everyone is welcome – players from all backgrounds and cycling abilities. Turn up any night and join in!
Weekly Beginners Nights
Every Thursday from 7-9pm at the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at Newington Gardens, SE1 6PX.
It’s on Harper Road, just between Elephant & Castle and Borough underground stations.
What to bring
Bring a helmet and, if possible, a bike that you can put in a low (spinny) gear. We cannot be liable for any injuries, but occasional small bumps, bruises, and scrapes do happen – many players (novice and experienced) wear elbow and knee pads and gloves.
What to expect
You are welcome to watch or jump straight in. We usually play some fun 3v3 games and occasionally practice specific skills. You might find it tricky cycling and handling a mallet at the same time, but being wobbly is very normal at first. Don’t worry – every single polo player started at the same place!
We often have some loaner bikes and mallets available. When you arrive, ask for whoever is leading that evening’s session – we will welcome you and sort you out with anything you need!
There are different international bike polo rulesets, but you can get going knowing these basics:
- Three people per side. Games are usually 12 minutes or first to 5 goals
- Don’t put your foot down! If your foot touches any horizontal surface you must remove yourself from play and ‘tap out’ your mallet on a marker at the side of the court, allowing you to re-enter play
- Like on like contact is allowed (bike on bike, mallet on mallet, body on body)
- Goals must be scored with a shot. You can only score by shooting with the capped or open end of a mallet – pushing the ball with the longest surface of the mallet (called a “shuffle”) doesn’t count
- Goal posts should be one bike-width apart
The golden rule, above all else, is: Don’t be a dick. Respect other people and have fun!
LHBPA Code of Conduct
London has its own London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association. You don’t have to be part of the London Hardcourt Bike Polo (LHBPA) to play polo, but LHBPA has a code of conduct that we would like to signpost here:
Bike polo is a mixed sport at all levels and we are a diverse group of individuals. We are proudly open and tolerant, and we know that creating safer spaces for everyone is a continual community activity.
We are inclusive, mixed-gender, pro-LGBTQ, antiracist, open to all ages and abilities. We do not tolerate hate speech or disrespectful behaviour.
- Respect all players. Treat people how they would like to be treated. Be thoughtful about the language you use and respect each other’s pronouns, identity, and opinions.
- Call-in culture. If someone does or says something that makes you uncomfortable, we would like you to feel heard. This works both ways: if someone approaches you with feedback, be ready to listen. As a group of volunteers, we do not mediate conflict, and expect individuals to represent themselves, but our community support leads – Jess, Lex, or Lucy – can help.