4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

San Diego Bike Polo Club

Charles Norton: “It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding since I was four.”
Charles Norton: “It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding since I was four.”

‘I’ve never heard of bike polo.” Breaking a smile, I add, “You must get that a lot.”

“Yeah. My understanding is that it’s been around for a long time. It was an Olympic demonstration sport in the early 1900s.”

On the phone is Charles Norton, 27, a Vista lad, California College San Diego alumnus, Souplantation employee, and bike-polo convert. One wants to know how his bike polo came to be.

Norton says, “I came across the club playing at the Adams Avenue park on 35th. It was, like, ‘Wow, what are these guys doing?’ As soon as I saw the action and how it was played, I wanted to play. I wanted to get in on it. Since then, I’ve been playing and I can’t get enough. It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding a bike since I was four.”

I mention that I’d done brief research into bike polo and like the unorganized, quasi-outlaw quality of it.

“I don’t want to say we’re a bunch of hooligans, but we do have our own culture. We don’t discourage anyone from coming out just because they have a certain lifestyle. It’s all in good fun. We normally play at Golden Hill’s rec center every Wednesday. That’s our main spot. We’re exploring the Santa Clara Recreation Center out in Mission Beach, and Linda Vista.

Sponsored
Sponsored

“We meet twice a week. I host a barbecue on Wednesday. The guys show up around 6:00, 6:30, and I have hot dogs, cheddar links, beef brats, make it a simple, quick barbecue before we play. Boosts morale and gives us a chance to talk. Over a dozen guys show up consistently.”

I ask, “Are their positions in bike polo or do you just saddle up and get to it?”

“It’s teams of three on three, usually one man in the goal.”

“What’s a great shot?”

Norton says, “You want to develop good ball handling and be good at passing. There’s a bottom bracket shot. It’s kind of a trick shot. If you’re right handed you steer with your left, hold your mallet in your right hand, and approach the goal with the goal on your left side. You shoot the ball from the right side of your bicycle, between its wheels, and at the goal.”

I say, “I’ve read there are 177 bicycle-polo clubs in the United States. With that many clubs, there has got to be some who are semi-pro, with the uniforms, the gear, the whole razzle-dazzle. Do you ever play those clubs?”

“It’s all player-organized and -coordinated. We all have our own playing levels. If you want to play, just play. We play it by ear and see what we can get going.”

“What are typical injuries in bike polo?”

Norton says, “One of the things that does worry me is somebody doing a high stick and catching a mallet to the face. I’ve had it happen two times. I’ve started wearing a helmet since then. Some of the players do wear helmets and full-face masks, like you would in hockey.”

“How about the ordinary, everyday injuries that you would get in any kind of a vigorous sport — sprained ankles, busted fingers, and the like?”

“I tore a muscle in my shoulder, over-steered and tried to control the bike without letting it go to ground. I scraped my shin really bad. Pedal hit my shin and then slid up my shin. Very typical.”

I ask, “Where would you like San Diego bike polo to be a year from now?”

“I’d like to see our club size at least double and for us to host another tournament.”

“I’m assuming you say, ‘Hey, we’re putting on a tournament,’ and who comes comes. You guys don’t have a president, treasurer, any of that stuff, do you?”

Norton laughs, “Oh, no, not at all. We have senior players who have a greater influence on the other players as far as style of play, what’s fair, and what’s not fair, as far as our rules go. Our games are not organized matches where we’re going to have a set team. We call it a pick-up game; we’re playing, we’re practicing, we’re testing each other’s limits and skills.

“It is unorganized — it’s really unorganized — we don’t have a hierarchy. We do have our loyal players who come out every week, twice a week. And some of our guys are very good. One of our guys can scoop the ball up on his mallet and balance it, not using anything else. We’ve had players who went to the world championships.”

Interested readers can check the club’s Facebook page or drop by the Golden Hill Recreation Center on Wednesday night.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sun Room single, Allison Adams Tucker video, Burt Bacharach collection, Keni Yarbro cover, Israel Maldonado performance

“Short and sweet with unhinged vocals and guitars”
Next Article

Fortunate Son: “Working class American-Chinese food”

I pause to think about how much of a staple these things have been in my life.
Charles Norton: “It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding since I was four.”
Charles Norton: “It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding since I was four.”

‘I’ve never heard of bike polo.” Breaking a smile, I add, “You must get that a lot.”

“Yeah. My understanding is that it’s been around for a long time. It was an Olympic demonstration sport in the early 1900s.”

On the phone is Charles Norton, 27, a Vista lad, California College San Diego alumnus, Souplantation employee, and bike-polo convert. One wants to know how his bike polo came to be.

Norton says, “I came across the club playing at the Adams Avenue park on 35th. It was, like, ‘Wow, what are these guys doing?’ As soon as I saw the action and how it was played, I wanted to play. I wanted to get in on it. Since then, I’ve been playing and I can’t get enough. It’s absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and I’ve been riding a bike since I was four.”

I mention that I’d done brief research into bike polo and like the unorganized, quasi-outlaw quality of it.

“I don’t want to say we’re a bunch of hooligans, but we do have our own culture. We don’t discourage anyone from coming out just because they have a certain lifestyle. It’s all in good fun. We normally play at Golden Hill’s rec center every Wednesday. That’s our main spot. We’re exploring the Santa Clara Recreation Center out in Mission Beach, and Linda Vista.

Sponsored
Sponsored

“We meet twice a week. I host a barbecue on Wednesday. The guys show up around 6:00, 6:30, and I have hot dogs, cheddar links, beef brats, make it a simple, quick barbecue before we play. Boosts morale and gives us a chance to talk. Over a dozen guys show up consistently.”

I ask, “Are their positions in bike polo or do you just saddle up and get to it?”

“It’s teams of three on three, usually one man in the goal.”

“What’s a great shot?”

Norton says, “You want to develop good ball handling and be good at passing. There’s a bottom bracket shot. It’s kind of a trick shot. If you’re right handed you steer with your left, hold your mallet in your right hand, and approach the goal with the goal on your left side. You shoot the ball from the right side of your bicycle, between its wheels, and at the goal.”

I say, “I’ve read there are 177 bicycle-polo clubs in the United States. With that many clubs, there has got to be some who are semi-pro, with the uniforms, the gear, the whole razzle-dazzle. Do you ever play those clubs?”

“It’s all player-organized and -coordinated. We all have our own playing levels. If you want to play, just play. We play it by ear and see what we can get going.”

“What are typical injuries in bike polo?”

Norton says, “One of the things that does worry me is somebody doing a high stick and catching a mallet to the face. I’ve had it happen two times. I’ve started wearing a helmet since then. Some of the players do wear helmets and full-face masks, like you would in hockey.”

“How about the ordinary, everyday injuries that you would get in any kind of a vigorous sport — sprained ankles, busted fingers, and the like?”

“I tore a muscle in my shoulder, over-steered and tried to control the bike without letting it go to ground. I scraped my shin really bad. Pedal hit my shin and then slid up my shin. Very typical.”

I ask, “Where would you like San Diego bike polo to be a year from now?”

“I’d like to see our club size at least double and for us to host another tournament.”

“I’m assuming you say, ‘Hey, we’re putting on a tournament,’ and who comes comes. You guys don’t have a president, treasurer, any of that stuff, do you?”

Norton laughs, “Oh, no, not at all. We have senior players who have a greater influence on the other players as far as style of play, what’s fair, and what’s not fair, as far as our rules go. Our games are not organized matches where we’re going to have a set team. We call it a pick-up game; we’re playing, we’re practicing, we’re testing each other’s limits and skills.

“It is unorganized — it’s really unorganized — we don’t have a hierarchy. We do have our loyal players who come out every week, twice a week. And some of our guys are very good. One of our guys can scoop the ball up on his mallet and balance it, not using anything else. We’ve had players who went to the world championships.”

Interested readers can check the club’s Facebook page or drop by the Golden Hill Recreation Center on Wednesday night.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Finding the spirituality of the setting - HR (Bad Brains) plays The Holding Company

The reggae hardcore act has influenced bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and Living Colour.
Next Article

Where the boundaries lie in San Marcos

Editor's picks of stories Allan Peterson wrote for the Reader
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close