Rachel WilliamsArticle continues
Monday November 5, 2007
Bike polo in Brick Lane.Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi
The pre-polo social scene on Brick Lane is not one the regulars at Cowdray Park would recognise. There are no designer frocks or upturned Ralph Lauren collars, and the scruffily hip spectators choose cans of lager over champagne and Pimms. Yet urban bike polo, which has sprung up in cities around the UK, has an unexpected heritage to rival that of its equestrian cousin.
Inspired by street players in New York, the new breed of enthusiasts are reinventing a sport that - despite its inclusion at the London Olympics in 1908 and the hundreds of teams that existed in its heyday in the 1930s - is largely forgotten in Britain. Six months after four friends got together at a basketball court in east London, dozens of would-be players frequently now turn up on Sunday afternoons.