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Picture Show: The Burgeoning Sport of Bike Polo

The burgeoning sport of bike polo is capturing the hearts of bike aficionados in neighborhoods all across the country.


The burgeoning sport of bike polo is capturing the hearts of bike aficionados in neighborhoods all across the country, from Portland, Oregon, to Lexington, Kentucky, and is now played in pockets all over the world. The game is modeled after traditional polo, though there are only three members on each team and there are fewer rules. And unlike the horse-riding players of its predecessor, bike polo players aren't required to be wealthy members of society's elite. They are everyday folk who love bikes and competition—and aren't afraid of the occasional crash (they happen).

The photographer Cecily Upton, who lives and works in Portland, first started shooting the sport two years ago in New York City at the recommendation of a friend of a friend. "After a little while, one of the players I was photographing says, 'You can only keep coming by here so many times before you have to start playing,'" says Upton. "Once I started, it was love at first mallot. Now, whenever I travel, and I try to connect with local players and get a game in or take some photos."

What follows is a selection from Cecily Upton's "Bike Polo."\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
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Karlsruhe; taken at the European Hardcourt Bike Polo Showdown, Zurich; 2008

Mark, Philadelphia Bike Polo; taken at the East Van Crown, Vancouver; 2009

Symmetry; taken at the European Hardcourt Bike Polo Showdown, Zurich; 2008

Birdie, Madison Bike Polo; taken in Madison, Wisconsin; 2008

Disc Covers; taken at the Bicycle Film Festival Paris Bike Polo Tournament, Paris; 2008

Joe Burge Taps Out; taken at the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships, Seattle; 2009

Meg and Shane, D.C. Bike Polo; taken in Boston, Massachusetts; 2009

Fiona Watches; taken at the CMWC Bike Polo Championships, Toronto; 2008

Johnny Bandages Jonny; taken at the CMWC Bike Polo Championships, Toronto; 2008

Balls Deep versus Beaver Boys; taken at the East Side Polo Invite, Boston; 2009

Ian, Richmond Bike Polo; taken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 2009

Drew Digs; taken at the East Van Crown, Vancouver; 2009

Chris, Lexington Bike Polo; Taken in Lexington, Kentucky; 2009

Paris Polo; taken at the BFF Paris Bike Polo Tournament; Paris; 2009

Ken, East Van Bike Polo; taken in Vancouver, British Columbia; 2009



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