Introduction: Bicycle Polo Fixie in an Afternoon.

Hey, a fellow that I know asked if I would be interested in helping set up a bicycle polo team.

He has just bought a lovely shiny fixie bicycle and is manically enthusiastic about trying the sport out.

So am I now: You can use any bike but I wanted to try  the fixie stylee but I didn't want to spend £400 like he did; I tried it this way . . .

Step 1: Starter Bike.

I went to a friend who is moving house; he had about eight scrap bikes; I chose a shopper and a BMX.

This could be made from one bike but I like the height and open frame of the shopper and the tough wheels of the BMX; so I used both.

The first action was to take the wheels off the shopper and then remove all cables and brakes.

The shopper tyres were flat and as I don't need brakes it was ok to use the slightly smaller BMX wheels; and they look good.

So I put the BMX wheels on the shopper frame but I needed to slightly widen the forks and the rear triangles by standing on one side and pulling the other side up, not too much though; also I had to file out the dropouts on the front fork a little to accept the marginally wider axle.

Step 2: Freewheeling to Fixed

This is very basic.
I sprayed some solvent on the freewheel to clean it and simply welded the two moving parts together with an arc (stick) welder.

I'm no welder as you can probably tell but it took about 30 seconds and is holding.

I've heard that the expensive bikes have a double threaded hub so that a lock-ring can be used to ensure that the sprocket does not come loose.

Step 3: Chain.

The chain on the shopper was rusted solid so I used the one off the BMX.

How to remove a chain

Horizontal rear drop outs are best for Fixie bikes so that the chain can be tensioned properly.

Unfortunately there is not much room for forward movement of the wheel in this frame due to the fat tyre.
I have the chain at an acceptable level but when it stretches I will be scuppered.
If the polo becomes established I will invest in a Half-Link Chain which allows greater flexibility in wheel positioning.


I happened to have been given a small length of half-link chain that was left over from a friend's bike.
I shortened my chain and incorporated this new half-link length into it, thus enabling me to have a nice tight chain.

Step 4: Pedals.

At first I used some metal pedals that I had.

Because the cranks are so long these tended to dig into the tarmac when cornering.
(I found out later that metal pedals are banned in cycle polo.) 

I replaced them with these cheap plastic ones and cut the outer part of the pedal off for extra clearance.

Step 5: Seat.

The riding position on the shopper is quite cramped so I used a ' Laid-back' seat post which improved things remarkably.

I did need to make a shim from a drink can to make it fit nicely.

Step 6: Grips and Handlebars.

Well, I've been saving these monsters which a friend had discarded due to their ugliness.

They look splendid.

Apparently polo bikes have very narrow handlebars; ridiculously narrow.
I've decided to keep mine as they are for now as they feel fine.

Step 7: Mascot

The light bracket looked empty.
I put on a playmobile figure.

Step 8: Finished and a Moment to Reflect

I've been practising cycle polo with my 13 year old monkey friend in the nearby playground but the grown ups have not got their act together yet; they appear to be stumped on how to make a polo stick.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I made a fixiefor the road, using the same quick-weld method.
I was going fine until I was surprised at a junction and only live to tell the tale because I had fitted a front brake as a precaution.

It's a ridiculous thing to be riding in traffic and I swore that I would never ride a fixie again;  however  in this environment ( polo playground) it is absolutely suited and excellent fun.

Anyhoo, we are planning to meet next Thursday, if it happens expect an Instructable on splints made from Polo sticks in the near future.