Cops Bust Polo Match in San Francisco Park

Bike polo, that is, gets visit from SFPD in Dolores Park

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Cops Bust Polo Match in San Francisco Park

Richard Eriksson

In hipster neighborhoods across the continent, bike polo is seeing a resurgence, but the SFPD showed up to issue tickets after complaints about a match in San Francisco.

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When you think of polo, you probably think of the horsey set mingling under tents clutching glasses of bubbly and watching men with names that end in "the Third" galloping about swinging mallets.

But bike polo? Think the cycling set mingling al fresco clutching cans of beer and watching men and women with names like, well, just regular old names.

The sport's revival is attracting a bit of a following among the trendsetters in hip neighborhoods, and like roller derby, is fast, furious and a whole lot of fun to watch -- and play.

But don't tell any of that to the San Francisco Police Department or rangers for the Recreation and Parks department, who descended on the regular Monday night game on the tennis courts in Dolores Park to break up the match and issue citations.

The bust was apparently spurred by a complaint, even though an eye witness said most of the other courts were available at the time. The five citations were issued for un-permitted, unauthorized "athletic activity" and carry a $103 fine.

The good news for bike polo enthusiasts is that it may finally get them the meeting they have been trying to arrange with local officials, such as District Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Recreation and Parks officials.

If you want to check out the action, matches are regularly scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., though considering the crackdown, you may want to check out the offroad version held at Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadows on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Beginners thinking of trying their hand at the sport are encouraged to bring a bike. Though health insurance would also probably be a good idea, just in case.

Photo by Richard Eriksson.

Jackson West can see that it might be harder on the court surface than tennis, but issuing tickets instead of simply warnings? Not cool.

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