Bike Polo Facemask: Evolution of the Game, or Some Sissy Cop-out?

In early bike polo, you were protected by Dandyism.

I just learned about making attention grabbing headlines at work this week.

Lancaster City Bike Polo (and its total slacker, we-didn’t-even-have-electricity-before-Irene sister club First Capital Bike Polo) is a helmet heavy group. Thank God. When I started playing we were not, but after a few really horrible crashes we saw the starry, blurry light and got our lids on.

All and all, I’d say we’re the better for it.

But none of us – not a single one – has facemasks on those noble helms.

A la Legue of Bike Polo

Now, we are a pretty rough and tumble club when it comes down to it – so why haven’t we hit the point where a face mask is commonly used? I know they exist – I’ve seen them at tournaments as well as in videos. Even so, the whole sport seems to be lacking. There are two common veins of thought in this:

1. They aren’t necessary, hence aren’t prevalent.

2. They are expensive/hard to come by/ make you look like you’re trying too hard.

Let’s tackle these points together, shall we children? Ok, let’s go!

First the argument about not being necessary. This is hard to be for or against, as I think it depends heavily on your own experience or your club’s aggressive nature. I can only relate the following: by having a facemask, what are you losing and what are you gaining?

Jinxy from Legue of Bike Polo - tough as nails

Well, you may be losing some visibility and non-verbal communication with your team mates, for sure. You may also be losing little Sally Polo’s interest in you. Maybe Johnny 321 doesn’t think you’re such a pretty girl behind a face cage.

To Hell with those guys. nobody looks pretty with a freshly broken nose. This is also, obviously not a real reason.

I can tell you that I’ve been hit in the gob with a mallet (Horse’s erratic, excited swing for a goal), and in that moment I really, really wished something other than my teeth stopped the momentum of the damned thing. I’m no worse for wear, but I surely was lucky in that case.

The second argument: I don’t think there has ever been a time in the poloverse that getting a facemask was hard. We are a DIY culture as it is, and there are plenty of folks running around with home-made facemasks.

That being said, Fixcraft offers this lovely facemask to fit on the Bern Watts helmet (a standard helmet used in our sport, and a well suited one at that). It runs under $25 dollars at the time of this article being written, and quite frankly is easy to get and put on. Even without Fixcraft’s help, there are plenty of other options for the clever poloista.

As to the argument that it makes you look like you’re trying to hard: polo is a violent sport (in that you can get hurt easily, and hurt pretty well). Trying too hard, to me, would be wearing nothing but a low V neck Tee shirt, tight girl jeans and holding a drinking jar while playing polo. If you decide to put on a facemask and gloves because you realize breaking yourself for the sake of looking good isn’t worth it: grats. You’re a polo player.

What do you hep cats think?

Oh – one last thing: When I was searching around for pictures, the following picture came up:

What the hell does Bonnie Prince Skippy Sandwich have to do with Bike Polo Helmets?


Update: Horse pointed me to this little video which gives a real-world example of a damned mallet to the face:


Tip of the Week #1 from Mr.Do on Vimeo.

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  1. TraceO says:

    Dear Crusher,

    You are simply to much.
    (Get it?)

    Love and kisses.

  2. mathbach says:

    between this and the FB discussion about the anti-safetiness of brake rotors something bad is sure to happen soon. Probably somebody is going to get their eye taken out by a severed digit.

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