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Best Place to Battle on Your Bike Phoenix 2009 - Arizona Hardcourt Bike Polo

If your idea of polo involves a well-heeled crowd engaging in refined combat atop magnificent thoroughbreds, then you've apparently never hung out at the Dorsey Center in Tempe on a Monday night. Every week, the members of Arizona Hardcourt Bike Polo gather for an intense, two-wheeled version of the world's oldest team sport. More crusty punk than upper crust, it's the realm of tattooed and pierced participants riding battered steel steeds and using mostly DIY-style equipment (including mallets made from PVC pipe or cannibalized golf clubs) during contests at an outdoor tennis court.

The object of the game, however, is the same: Teams of three players attempt to whack a rubber ball through their opponent's goal. It's a gonzo spin-off of the traditional cycling polo (which was conjured during the 1890s in Ireland) that's been popularized by boho urban bikers during the past decade, including the local fixed-gear cyclists who founded AZHC last year. (A similar group, Phoenix Bike Polo, plays on grass at Desert Storm Park in the Arcadia neighborhood every Wednesday.)

Anyone can participate. If you want to, be sure to bring some chutzpah in addition to your Bianchi Pista, since the hard-court action gets a little hardcore, with plenty of smack-talking and the occasional collision.

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