Tag Archive for technical bike polo

The Thunderdome Days Are Over

thunderdome1

I’m going to call it. The violent days of bike polo are behind us, and we’ve now entered the technical/skills phase. Let it be written.

Honestly though – I don’t think I’m going out on  limb when I make that observation. Even if you’re just looking at it from a how-many-mallets-have-I-destroyed-in-a-tourney ratio, it’s clear that we’re doing a lot less slashing, crashing, and…uh…splash…ing?

stolen from LOBP

stolen from LOBP

When I first started playing bike polo, our club was very rough and tumble–I think  a lot of clubs still were all the way back in 2011 (try to remember that long ago). There was a huge likelihood of burning through all your mallets at a tourney, taco-ing a wheel and having at least one person get the NAH Balls kicked out of them. Players who were able to bring the pain generally did very well, in a Master Blaster sort of way (see how I tied that back in – MFA is paying off right now).

But that’s not the case anymore – or at least isn’t the majority style of play. Instead, we have very technical teams winning tourneys, which drives players overall to be more about finesse than brute strength, which is both good and bad. Good, I’d say, for the sport as a whole. Bad for those of us that want to go to work and feel like we’ve been at the place we do not talk about. Lookin’ at you, Mr. Durden.

rockawaybikepoloWhat does this mean? The implications are multi-fold: for one thing, bike polo equipment producers can start making equipment that is more suited to weight/ability rather than surviving a gorilla attack. It also makes our sport a bit more accessible to new players (it’s hard to watch people hurt the hell out of each other and then not worry about how you’ll survive your first matches for some people – go figure). It also means that rules become much more important for the sake of sportsmanship and not for the sake of stopping people from killing eachother. Believe it or not, bike polo uses a lot of gentlemen’s rules (I would go for the whole “gentlemen/women thing, but it comes off as trying to hard. You know what I’m saying), with the number one rule in bike polo being a more crude way of saying “treat everyone with mutual admiration and respect, hear hear.”

As the sport continues to progress–and the players progress right along with it–I would not be surprised to see whole tourneys where checking becomes more technical than brutal (that is, simply stopping the play though contact and not trying to slam someone against the boards for drama’s sake). There are still players out there who excel at bringing the physical game – and I for one still like that element very much – but I can see those players giving way to a more technical sort of playing.

So you could say, really, that we’re Beyond The Thunderdome?! Hahahaha I did it!

What do you think?

From the Horse’s Mouth: Tech Review of the Karl Bolt

The Karl Bolt (as I’ll dub it for the sake of the article,) is the least complicated and most “4 years ago” mallet mounting system in this multi-installment review.  I’m going to go over the materials needed, tools needed, and a quick how-to; along with my opinions on the system.  Let’s get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials needed:

That one is pretty simple and straight forward.  You need a sturdy screw, preferably around 2.5-3”.  Done.

Tools:
A drill with a small bit to drill a pilot hole, and a Phillips head bit or screwdriver.  Possibly a hacksaw as well.

We’ll shortly get into the install, but first, a disclaimer: since all mounting systems require you to drill a hole for your mallet shaft and insert it into the head, I’m not going to cover that every time.  See my video if you have questions about that.  The Fixcraft Fix-Nut system is the only system that varies from this, so pay attention when I review that.

Install How-To:
With your top and bottom holes drilled in your mallet head, and your shaft inserted snugly, you simply drill a pilot hole near the top (shaft/handle side) of the head. What I aim to do is have the screw contact as much material as possible, with as little flowing screw place as possible. Once the pilot hole is drilled, use the Phillips bit to drive the screw through the head, shaft, and back through the other side of the head. If there is excess screw sticking out, cut or grind it off. Done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinions:

I recently used this system on my go-to mallet at the Carolina Classic Hoedown.  A few of our club members use this system exclusively.  I can honestly say it is worth trying. The pure simplicity of it is attractive, and the minimal to zero cost is also attractive, especially if you’re already spending 30+ on a mallet build.  The head is held fast and snug, and even after repeated abuse it doesn’t loosen or move.

The only con of this system that I’ve seen is if you use a weak or short screw, eventually it will bend, and you may get some movement. In which case you unscrew it, put in a fresh screw, and you’re good to go.

There’s not much to say about this really. It’s the oldest method in the book, just modified slightly by placing the screw higher on the head to contact more material and resist failure.

Rating:

Overall, while I normally love things that are trick and fancy, I have to give this system 4 out of 5  NAH balls.  It loses  a ball because of bent screws after a while.  Try it out.