Playing bike polo may not be the first thing you think of when thinking of things to do with your bike- but maybe it should be! As this sport gains traction across the Queen City, there is an entire community surrounding this rising sport that is taking it to the next level. Local Buffalonian Charlie Reinagel is one of those people.
Charlie serendipitously found a love for this sport at 17 years old on a trip to Florida, and the passion has stuck with him ever since- 15 years to be exact. This sport has taken him across the entire USA, into Canada and even Puerto Rico to play tournaments and represent Buffalo’s bike polo community.
“It’s not just me, there are a few people that have moved to Buffalo that have played polo for 10, 12 years. They’ve really helped build the community as well. Once people come and try for the first time, most are kind of hooked. All it takes is making some passes or scoring a goal. Like there’s nothing like that feeling. So that’s really what brought everyone together.”
This game is similar in some aspects to bike polo, but has been modified to make more sense for bikes. While the game itself relies heavily on bike and ball handling skills, that shouldn’t be a deterrent for anyone interested in playing- most people in Buffalo are new and all these skills come with time.
“In horse polo, you can’t really make contact with someone else’s horse, but with bikes, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into each other. So, there’s a whole bunch of rules that are molded around that. But, the most important rules really are that each team has three players on the court at a time, and if you put your foot down on the ground, then you have to take yourself out of the play and go tap yourself back in at the center of the court.”
As popularity of the sport rises, there is always room for growth. The group is easily accessible and accepting of all who are willing to give it a try. With summer finally here, the group can usually be found every Sunday at 11am playing at Shoshone Park- all you need is your bike (extra mallets are often available). To stay up to date on all the bike polo news and events this summer visit the Instagram page @buffalobikepolo
Photography by Devin Chavanne. Edited by Vincent Berbano and Addison Schoonmaker.