Monday, October 15, 2012

Bicycle Polo in 1896

As usual, I have noticed a drop-off in the number of bicycle commuters and other riders as the weather gets cooler (and wetter).

In the 1890s, there were various attempts to encourage cycling during cooler months - in 1896, one strategy was to encourage new indoor cycling activities, including an article in the October 17 1896 Washington Evening Times about "Bicycle Polo".

Bicycle Polo 1896

The most exciting novelty of the wheeling season has been bicycle polo, which was practically unheard of until about a month ago. It is a rather dangerous game, but not more so than polo as played with ponies at an East Indian gymkhana or a Meadowbrook Hunt meet. A low-geared bicycle has decided advantages in playing it, because it is so much easier suddenly to check or start it. Precisely so, a low-geared pony-that is to say, one that can start or stop promptly and is quick in turning is preferable to one that is merely fast. Of course, the rider in bicycle polo must have a quick eye for distance, be able to ride "hands off" at any angle, and to turn in the shortest compass. In spite of Its difficulties. the game will be the principal attraction at most of the big exhibition meetings in the riding academies this winter.

WHBPC | 4th World Hardcourt Bike Polo | GVA 14-18 août 2012
Bicycle polo is still around . . . photo from Del~Uks Flickr offerings

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