From the SF Examiner “Bike polo enthusiasts facing hard times” by Kamala Kelkar

I saw this on Hardcourt Bike Polo and knew I had to post it:

SAN FRANCISCO — It has mallets, balls, bicycles and helmets, but bike polo does not have a written right to be on The City’s tennis courts.Park rangers cited four bike polo players last week at a tennis court in Dolores Park — where they have been knocking the ball around weekly for at least a year — because someone complained to police.

The four among a group of about 20 waiting for a chance to sub in were cited for a violation of failure to obtain a permit. The permit costs about $100.

“This is the first time anyone’s received a ticket,” said Marc Caswell, who was on the sidelines watching as he recovered from a broken arm he sustained while playing. “Occasionally, we’re asked to not ride bikes on the court. We can’t be there. But as far as I can tell, we didn’t even violate any code.”

The City recognized that. Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg told Caswell, who is a project manager with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, that the four citations would be rescinded.

However, the players, Dufty and Ginsburg are still trying to work out details about where they can play because even though it is not explicitly written in the code, bicycles don’t belong on tennis courts.

The sport is the worldwide spawn of the traditional game played with two teams of three in the 1908 Olympics on a rectangular grass field. But the hard surface makes it easier to manage the ball so it doesn’t go flying all over the place, Caswell said.

The City’s  polo players look for two things: pavement and a well-lit area. But he said there are really only two playgrounds that provide their amenities: Mission Playground and Jose Coronado Playground, which have concrete soccer fields. Those sites are already in high demand.

However there are 132 free tennis courts in The City where players can use them on a first-come, first-served basis.

The bike polo players want the one of six courts they use at Dolores Park to become multirecreational. Caswell said the bike polo players once rescheduled their weekly games for another group that uses the court for volleyball.

However, it is still destructive to the court and could technically be unlawful.

Now while I don’t play polo, it’s something I’m really looking into. This is the third case I’ve personally heard of, first the one in Milwaukee, then another in San Francisco (although I might be mistaken).

One Response to “From the SF Examiner “Bike polo enthusiasts facing hard times” by Kamala Kelkar”

  1. jantahousing01 Says:

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