His Fitness Formula: Imagine Polo, but Without the Horse, and Add a Bike

The Thrilling World of Bike Polo: A Fusion of Skill and Guts

Bike polo, a captivating fusion of medieval jousting, traditional polo, and street hockey, demands skill, determination, and bravery from its players. Unlike its equestrian counterpart, bike polo involves riders on fixed-speed bikes brandishing mallets as they fiercely compete to score goals in a 3-foot-by-6-foot net. Just like hockey, contact is allowed, making the game even more exhilarating. Players don helmets due to the potential for collisions and the risk of getting mallets caught in their spokes.

Meet Jason Farthing: A 50-Year-Old Bike Polo Enthusiast

Among the daring bike polo enthusiasts is Jason Farthing, a 50-year-old bike mechanic from West Palm Beach, Fla. He is passionately devoted to this thrilling sport and enjoys the adrenaline rush it offers. Fearless and experienced, Jason embraces the physical challenges and doesn’t shy away from playing with competitors half his age. His high-ranking speed and bike-handling abilities make him stand out on the court, and he takes pride in his capacity to accomplish a 360-degree turn with the ball around competitors while riding at full speed. Jason’s dedication to bike polo is unwavering, and he dreams of competing at the prestigious 2023 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship in Perpignan, France, later this year.

From Grass Fields to Hardcourt: The Evolution of Bike Polo

Bike polo’s origins trace back to the 1800s when it was played as a demonstration sport at the 1908 Olympics in London, resembling traditional equestrian polo and conducted on grass fields. However, in the late 1990s, bike messengers in Seattle pioneered a faster-paced and rough-and-tumble version of the game called hardcourt bike polo, played on concrete courts. This innovative variant gained popularity rapidly and has since become the thrilling sport we know today.

The Game and Its Challenges

Hardcourt bike polo typically involves three players on each team, competing on a concrete court with a minimum size of 120 feet by 60 feet. Players must constantly transition between offense and defense while skillfully navigating their bikes with a single hand. Notably, touching the ground with their feet results in penalties, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the game.

Add a Bike
Add a Bike

Embracing the Bike Polo Community

over the competitive courage, the bike polo populace is a tight-knit group with a strong sense of companionship. Jason Farthing himself attests to the welcoming and communal nature of the sport. After intense matches, opponents come together to grill and camp for the weekend, reinforcing the bonds among players from different teams.


The Workout Routine of a Bike Polo Player

Bike polo demands peak physical condition, and Jason Farthing understands this well. He adheres to a rigorous workout routine, visiting the gym five days a week, often attending twice daily sessions. To maintain his fitness and prevent old knee injuries from flaring up, he combines various exercises for his cardio workouts. This includes jogging on the treadmill, using the StairMaster, and walking or jogging at maximum incline for 25 minutes daily. In addition, he swims in place for 30 to 40 minutes using a bike tube looped around his waist, cleverly improvised to enhance his swimming experience.

Apart from his cardio regimen, Jason incorporates weightlifting into his routine. Four daylight a week, he basis on different muscle groups, with distinct training designed for legs, biceps and core, as well as legs, chest, and shoulders.

By varying the order of exercises monthly, he ensures that his muscles stay challenged and engaged.

His weightlifting workout comprise single-calf raises, hanging leg raises, back stretchings, single-leg hamstring curls, upright rows, and weighted crunches.

His Fitness Formula
His Fitness Formula

Mastering the Art of Biking

In bike polo, players must rapidly shift from a standstill to full speed, putting immense strain on their muscles. Jason achieves this by incorporating interval training into his biking routine. While commuting less than 5 miles to work, he performs intervals by sprinting across intersections and then coasting to the next one, repeating the process several times. This intense workout leaves his muscles fatigued and drenched in sweat by the end.

To further improve his skills, Jason also practices at a roller hockey rink with other players every Wednesday, and on other days, he practices solo at a racquetball court. During these solo sessions, he repeatedly hits the ball against the wall without letting it touch the ground, all while executing 180-degree spins on his bike. Jason emphasizes that learning new bike polo skills is akin to mastering skateboarding tricks, requiring repetitive drills to embed the movements into muscle memory.

Nourishing the Body: Jason’s Vegan Lifestyle

Maintaining a vegan diet for 34 years, Jason Farthing embraces the clean living principles associated with the straight-edge subculture of punk. Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs, he focuses on consuming a protein shake for breakfast to kick-start his day. He also shares a Chipotle hack where he enjoys rice and beans while customizing his bowl with triple beans, triple vegetables, and double rice, along with three tortillas, ensuring that it lasts for multiple meals. On occasions when he indulges, he treats himself to Ethiopian food.

 Without the Horse
Without the Horse

Equipping for Success: The Gear of a Bike Polo Player

To excel in bike polo, having the right gear is essential. Jason Farthing invests in equipment that enhances his performance:

Bike: He gained a Pake Rum Runner single-speed track bike frame, marginally broken, for $120, and paired it with a Hope Tech 4 Trial Zone Disc Brake, which supports perfect control.
Sneakers: For reliable traction, he rides in Adidas Five Ten Trail Cross Mid Pro mountain bike shoes, bought used for $75.
Helmet: His Sena R2 EVO helmet, priced at $200, features Bluetooth technology, delivering audio through speakers positioned above the rider’s ear to ensure audibility of traffic.
Mallet: Armed with a Fixcraft XT mallet featuring a head from the esteemed German bike polo brand Stubborn, Jason is equipped for formidable gameplay.
Apparel: His choice of comfortable and durable Levi’s commuter jeans, valued at $98, completes his biking outfit.


Jason Farthing’s commitment to bike polo exemplifies how passion, dedication, and hard work can propel someone to conquer challenges and achieve success, regardless of age. The fusion of skill and guts in this exciting sport continues to inspire players around the world, fostering a strong sense of community among enthusiasts. As the sport evolves, more individuals like Jason will rise to the occasion, showcasing the sheer thrill and excitement of bike polo to a broader audience.

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