Grass Bicycle Polo as a sport has existed since 1891 and was even an exhibition sport at the 1908 Olympics. The rules of this game, played on a grass field, are much more akin to actual equestrian bike polo.
Hardcourt bike polo is a different game altogether. Gone are the rules discouraging contact and for that matter most of the rules all together. For a detailed and ever changing record of the History of Hardcourt I suggest you check out this forum thread over at bikepolo.ca. Some suggest the first hardcourt games were played in Seattle in 1999-2000.
Every city has their own twist on rules and there is no formal hardcourt governing body in North America or the world.
The basic outline of rules are as follows:
- 3 members to a team
- Players are not allowed to touch the ground with your feet (dabbing). Once a player dabs they are out of play until they tap out at center court
- Scoring must be done with the end of the mallet
- Like contact is allowed
- Games are played to 5 or 15 minutes
Those are the basic guidelines with which each set of players builds their own set of rules around. Or not.
Equipment for bike polo is simple and normally consists of a bike with a low gear ratio for quick acceleration, a mallet made from aluminum ski poles attached to a plastic head, and a street hockey ball. Informational videos on how to make your own mallets and more can be found at Legitbikepolo.com.