Bike Polo Mallet
One of the coolest aspects of bike polo is the use of found and recycled materials. A polo-bike can be almost anything—an old mountain bike, a rusty old 10-speed, a hybrid from the bike co-op, etc. The goals are often made from pairs of traffic cones. The mallets are most often cobbled together from PVC pipe, used bar tape and old ski poles. You might even find an old street hockey ball at Goodwill, though that’s one item that’s probably best bought new.
My first bike polo mallet met its fate this past Sunday. The aluminum shaft cracked about an inch above the mallet head, rendering it useless until it sees new life as a considerably shorter loaner mallet. I had been lucky to get the first one as a birthday present from my friend Tall Rob, who’s build a considerable number of “jam sticks,” but his supply of usable ski poles had run dry.
Enter the website www.freecycle.org. Free Cycle is all about keeping things out of the landfill. There are close to 5000 individual groups, each moderated locally. I signed up on Monday evening and posted a want ad. Within 20 minutes I had a response, and I picked up a very nice pair of Elan skis and poles, complete with a travel bag (anyone want a free pair of skis and bindings?) within the hour. I can’t say you’ll have as good an experience as I did, but for the price it’s certainly worth a shot.
I decided to go with a new mallet head for this stick, using store-bought 1.5″ ABS plumbing pipe. It’s Rob’s design, with one open ended cap, and one closed. The open ended cap is good for control and scooping the ball out of the corners, the closed end is better for long shots. The mallet head is drilled so that the pole fits snugly, and a single bolt holds things together. The end caps are cemented, and the nut is secured with Loctite. After applying the bar tape, the final step was to fashion a knob from the end of an old BMX bike grip, wrapped with a copious amount of electrical tape.
Now I hope it’ll stop raining so I can try this thing out…