History of bicycle polo

version française
version française

1. Polo - 2. Irish invention - 3. The first start - 4. British cycle polo in the 30's -

5. The popular French version 6. First international matches for France - 7. Reprise -

8. On the move - 9. Bike polo today in the world


- 525: Elephant polo in India.

1790: Mr. de Sivrac (France) invents the velocipede.

1871: The Hurlingham Club (U.K.) fixes the modern rules of equestrian polo.

Irish invention

1891: The Irish cyclist champion Richard J. Mecredy (Ireland) invents the cycle polo. He was the first cyclist ever to run 34.593 km in one hour with air tubes in 1890.

L'Ile-de-France Cycliste n° 80, jeudi 12 février 1948

October 1891: first cycle polo match in The Scalp (20 miles from Dublin, Ireland) with the Ohne Hast C.C.

31 October 1891: The first cycle polo rules are published in "Cycling" (Ireland).

Le père du polo-vélo

The first start

Northern Bicycle Polo Club

1895: First English clubs (Northampton, Newcastle, Coventry, Melton Mowbray and Catford).

1897: First cycle polo club in the U.S.A.

15 May 1897: The Bicycle Polo Association of Great Britain was born. The headquarters is in the Sheen House Club (West of London).

27 May 1898: If a "cycle polo show" has been held in the Moulin Rouge (France) with Captain Wood's teams according to some old French newspapers, it was actually a cycle ball show: no mallet at all were used. The players only used their wheels to play the ball.

10 September 1898: The B.P.A.G.B. publishes its own rules in "the Morning Post".

28 September 1901: First international match between Ireland and England in Crystal Palace. Ireland wins (10-5).

13 July 1908: Cycle polo match at the Olympic Games of London. Ireland beats Germany (3-1) at the Shepherds Bush Stadium (London).

The first World War stops the cycle polo movement.

British cycle polo in the 30's

1 February 1930: Second creation of the Bicycle Polo Association of Great Britain with members of Corrance C.C.

13 March 1930: New rules of cycle polo (with 8 players per team) inspired by the polo poney rules of the Hurlingham Club and by the hockey rules of the Kent Hockey Association in the United Kingdom.

3 May 1930: First match with the new British rules in Mogador.

19 June 1930: First British regional league.

31 July 1930: First match with an official referee.

27 September 1930: First match organised by the B.P.A.G.B. in Herne Hill.

1930: Creation of teams : Polytechnic, Adys, Tooting, Merton Wheelers, Corrance, Calleva, Highburry, Centaur, Oval and N.C.U.S.W. Section.

1931: Creation of teams : Epsom C.C., Norwood Paragon C.C., St. Martin's C.C., London Bicycle Polo Club, Tunbridge Wells Club and Imperial Wheelers.
The Tooting B.C. wins the first championship of England. The London B.P.C. is second.

1932: Creation of teams : Catford C.C., Clarencourt C.C., Old Portlians, Southborough & District C.C.
The Tooting B.C. wins the second championship of England. The Norwood Paragon C.C. is second.

1933-38: The Norwood Paragon C.C. wins the championships of England.

1938: The Bicycle Polo Association of Great Britain has 170 teams in 100 clubs with more than 1,000 players.

The popular French version

Edmond Frans (middle) and his first team Vitry

1925: Creation of the Polo-Vélo-Club de Paris and the Polo-Vélo-Club Français.

1927: New rules of bicycle polo in France in the Fédération Sportive du Travail (F.S.T., further Fédération Sportive et Gymnique du Travail - F.S.G.T.).

1928: First championship with teams of Paris and its area (Vitry, Ivry, Clichy, Juvisy, Les Lilas, the "XIIIème", the "Croissant" and the "Nord-Est").

20 April 1930: Creation of the Bicycle Polo Commission in the Union Vélocipédique Française (U.V.F., further Fédération Française de Cyclisme - F.F.C.).


26 March 1932: New bicycle polo rules are published in "L'Union Vélocipédique de France".

1932: The Polo-Vélo-Club de France wins the French Championship in Bordeaux. The V.C. Paris is second.

1933: The bike polo is played in 6 French districts. The V.C. Paris is the new French Champion. The P.V.C. Toulouse wins the first Cup of France.

The U.S.T. Ivry in 1933

1939: 14 clubs in Paris (V.C. Paris, V.C. Français, Pédale Charentonnaise, U.S. Métro, Lutèce Sportif, Clignacourt Sportif...), 6 clubs in Normandy (Joyeuse Pédale Gravillaise, Moto-Vélo-Club Franco-Belge, Club Routier Havrais, Etoîle de Frileuse, Union Vélocipédique Havraise and Vélo-Club Sanvicais) and more in Aquitaine (Talence, R.C. Bouscat, S.A. Bordeaux, Burdigala, U.C. Béglaise, A.S.P.T.T., B.P.C., A.C. Barsac, C.C. Herstal, U.C. Bouscat, Parempuyre, A.S.P.O.M., U.S. Pessac...).

First international matches for France

8 July 1934: France vs. United Kingdom in Buffalo (France) with the French rules and French players from the V.C. Paris, the A.C. Boulogne-Billancourt, the A.S. Cheminots Est and the U.S. Métro: 9-2 for France.

25 June 1939: France vs. United Kingdom in Cipale (Paris, France) with the French rules and French players from the V.C. Sanvic : 6-6.

August 1939: United Kingdom vs. France in England with British rules : 6-1 for U.K.

The second World War stops the cycle polo matches.


1946: Bicycle Polo has a new start in Aquitaine, Paris area, Normandy and Pyrénées.

1948: The U.S. Pessac wins the first French Championship since the end of the second World War.

1959: 12 teams in the regional championship in Aquitaine.

1960: The back field player can cross the middle line according to the updated French rules.
First teams in the Orleans area.

1973: In case of a tie at the end of the two overtime periods, a series of penalties shall be taken by four players from each team according to the updated French rules.

1976: Upon request of the captain to the referee and after the agreement of the referee, there is no more limit to change the players: they can take place at any given time, including during overtime periods according to the updated French rules.

1981: A second substitute is allowed to play according to the updated French rules.

On the move

1984: First regional championship in the Paris area since 1963 with the V.S. Sannois-Franconville, the U.S. Domont, the V.C. Bry-sur-Marne and the E.S. Gervais-Lilas. The V.S. Sannois-Franconville wins.

1986: The French Championship is played with teams of 4 regions (Bourgogne, Aquitaine, Normandy and Paris area) for the first time since the early sixties.

1999: First French web site (www.polo-velo.net).

2000: First French team in an international event since 1939 (E.S. Gervais-Lilas).

Match between Sannois-Franconville (green and red) and Gervais-Lilas (green)

Bike polo today in the world

After the Second World War, Great Britain sent teams in France for a cycle polo revival (7 October 1945). The Bicycle Polo Association of Great Britain restarted the game after WWII and continued for decades to organize bicycle polo in the UK. A match even took place at Windsor Castle on 6 August 1967 including Prince Philip among the players.

1966 : Creation of the Cycle Polo Federation of India.

1994 : Creation of the Bicycle Polo Association of America.

USA 1996 : India (1st) and the United States (2nd)

1996: First International Bicycle Polo Championship organised in Richland, U.S.A., with Indian, Canadian and American teams. India won.
First championship in New Zealand. The Victoria University MTB Club won. The Kennetts were second.

January 1999: First French web-site concerning bike polo: www.chez.com/polovelo (now www.polo-velo.net).

The International Bicycle Polo Championship is organised each year in a different place: after Richland (Washington State, USA) in 1996, it has been held in Vancouver (Canada) in 1999, Dehli (India) in 2000, London (U.K.) in 2001, Les Lilas (France) in 2002, Vero Beach (U.S.A.) in 2003, Vancouver (Canada) in 2004, Aiken (South Carolina, USA) in 2005 and Kennewick (Washington State, USA) in 2006.

One or two French teams have played this Championship each year since 2000.

Since January 2001, bike polo is officially recognised by the International Cycling Union.

The international 4 player set of rules was first used in the 2001 International Championship, while the international 5 player set of rules was introduced in 2007 for the European Cup.

This European Cup is played between European clubs since 2007.

Today, bicycle polo is played at least in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France (Aquitaine, Normandy, Center region and Ile-de-France), Germany, Great Britain (England and Scotland), India, Irland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, U.S.A....

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