Polo on unicycles

Hi all. i know some of you in Portland play polo on your uni’s. from what i gather, there are enough of you Unicycle Bastards out there to play 3-on-3 with all unicycles. here in DC there is definitely a sizable bike polo scene, but as far as i know, i’m the only one here who has ever played on a uni. i’m putting this up to see what you guys play like, as well as perhaps garner interest from others in DC.

you guys do play on hardcourt, right?
do unis follow the footdown/tap back in rule?
do unis ever play with bikes?
what wheel (and crank) sizes do you use?
how long are your mallets? longer than bikers’ or about the same?

and to any DC riders reading this(i know you’re out there), come out sometime. Polo in DC happens every Monday and Thursday night @ the Rush Rink in Capitol Hill (13th&D SE). it officially stars at 6, but often we don’t have enough ppl to play until 7 or a bit later. I can only make it on Mondays, but if anyone shows up on a uni any night, i know they will be welcomed to play. you will have to borrow a mallet of course. people often bring extras, but i am planning on making a couple longer ones for unicycle use.

let’s see how this goes!


  1. you guys do play on hardcourt, right?
  2. do unis follow the footdown/tap back in rule?
  3. do unis ever play with bikes?
  4. what wheel (and crank) sizes do you use?
  5. how long are your mallets? longer than bikers’ or about the same?


  1. Yes (tennis court sans net)
  2. Not sure what that rule is but no, our game is nearly void of rules
  3. Once as far as I know. Their ability to block the entire goal was not very fun.
  4. Anything from 20" - 29", 125mm - 175mm (I think)
  5. Varies from player to player mostly based on wheel size, generally longer than bikers’

It just so happens I will be in DC the 23rd through the 28th of this month. Is there any chance I would be able to borrow a uni from anyone (I’m flying out and won’t be bringing mine) so I could join in on a game?

We’ve crashed the local bike polo game in Oakland. Unicycles pretty much demolish bikes at polo; for it to be a reasonable game you’d have to have equal numbers of unicycles on each team–and even then, the unicycles get to handle the ball a lot more often than the bikes.

We used the same mallets that the bikes did (mostly cobbled together from broken-up crutches); it probably would have been better if they were a little longer.

We played on our basketball unis, which are mostly 24" with 125mm cranks. We used the tap back in rule. The game is in a parking lot.

thanks for the responses, guys. it’s good to know how people in other cities do things.

it’s interesting that you have two different views on the experience of playing against bikes. i think it’s somewhere in-between, though i’ve never played any games with more than one uni. unfortunately, i can’t idle, ride backwards, or do much hopping, so i’m pretty unstable in slow speed maneuvering. most of the bikers are on fixed gear bikes, and so can trackstand, but i can at least lean on my mallet (if i don’t need to use it for other things) to stay up while not moving. I actually can’t shoot very well, either. really, i’m a pretty rubbish polo player, but it’s a lot of fun, and i like to think i’m a crowd-pleaser as well. i also think i’m fairly helpful at defense since i can change directions very quickly. i can also work my way in and out of tight spaces, especially along the wall, where i have something to hold on to. overall, i think i, and any team i play for, are a bit disadvantaged, though that has a lot to do with my inexperience and relative lack of skill.

as far as the tap back in rule, it applies in case you footdown. when that happens, it requires you to remount, go to the centercourt line on either wall, and tap the wall with your mallet before you can touch the ball, or really do any playing. if you intentionally hit the ball without tapping back in, i think the other team gets a penalty shot or something. the first time i played, i asked if i could be exempt from that rule, and the consensus was ‘yes’. but after that, i felt kinda weird not following a rule that everyone else was following, so i pretty much always do it anyways. i feel that once i can do things like idling and riding backwards, it won’t really matter.

Jack, are you here for thanksgiving? anyways, i’ll probably be at polo Monday the 24th, but they’re probably not having polo thursday the 27th, since that is thanksgiving. i’d be more than happy to lend you a uni. i don’t have any mallets of my own yet, so we’ll have to borrow those. in fact i suppose i could drive there and bring 2 unis, so we could both play at the same time. none of mine are perfectly suited to polo, like a 24" with 125 cranks would be. but a bone-stock KH24 (24x3 knobby and 150s) is pretty close. the only other unis i have are a coker, which now has 125s, but i’d put 150s on so acceleration isn’t completely a bitch, and a crappy 20" learner with a fairly badly out of true wheel.

if anyone else plays, speak up!

Our group plays unicycle basketball every week; uni basketball is way faster than bike polo, so if you’re used to playing at that pace, polo seems easy. You have your hands free and can turn on a dime; there’s no way a bike can defend you.

i played my third night of uni polo last night. it becomes more fun each time! i’m still useless at shooting the ball, but i made my first goal last night. i think i’m becoming more valuable as a defensive player, because i can get right up to a bike and get the ball away, or protect and control the ball when it’s up against the wall.

i still need to work on things like idling (i’m getting closer) and riding backwards (nowhere near this, unless i’m holding onto a wall). in terms of polo-specific skills, i need to learn to pass and shoot accurately. i also really need to get a street tire (and if i have $$, some double-drilled moments). oh, and build a long mallet or two.

but all in all this is going well.

so, Jack (and anyone else), Monday is polo night. you comin? i’ll PM you my number.