Cardiff Bike Polo Club. Image Credit: Shannon McGuigan

Wales’ only bike polo club ‘in danger’ as Maindy Velodrome home faces demolition

The Cardiff club is worried about losing its home and training venue

THE future of Welsh bicycle polo hangs in the balance as the country’s only club faces an uncertain future.

Cardiff Bike Polo is worried about losing its home on the hardcourts of Maindy Velodrome – where they have trained for the last 14 years – as the council continues with plans to demolish the velodrome and extend Cathays High School.

The club would then have to find a new place to train. They fear it would not only put their club at risk but also the future of Welsh bike polo.

Cardiff Bike Polo organiser Tacha Lilly Huber, 33, said: “I would be worried that if we lost this place, it would threaten the livelihood and continuation of our club and sport.

“We are the only club in Wales, so to represent and go all over the world is really special. It feels like a family more than anything.”

Ben Tullis, a 45-year-old bike polo regular, said that this loss could affect their rising status: “Cardiff is up and coming in the bike polo rankings. It would be a great disappointment if anything were to happen to jeopardize the future of the club.”

Cardiff Bike Polo organiser, Tacha Lilly Huber. Image Credit: Shannon McGuigan

The Maindy club means a great deal to those who have been coming here weekly for several years.

This club saved my life”

Tacha Lily Huber, Cardiff Bike Polo organiser

Tacha said: “This club saved my life, struggling with mental health and depression, bike polo was a crucial and amazing part of my life because I was able to come here and rely on something every week.”

Richard Lansdown, a club member of 14 years, echoed “I haven’t found a group of people like this in anything else. This sounds cliché but it really is like family. We look after each other.

“It’s the glue that holds us together. You wake up on a Monday morning and you look forward to training on a Thursday.”

The unique sport made its way across the pond from Seattle to the Welsh capital in 2009 via word-of-mouth among the international cycling community.

The three-a-side game is played on a hardcourt with an attacker, defender, and goalie on each team. The game begins with a joust for the ball in the centre of the court. Every player has their own bike and mallet and the aim is to score the most goals to win.

The club currently has 15 members as the beginning of the year is during their off-season.

‘Maindy is central and free’

The club remains concerned other locations won’t be as accessible as Maindy – which is also free for the club to use – and that many members could be turned off from coming.

Richard, 45, said: “It is very convenient to get to. It’s right in the middle of town. We have tried playing in other places but it’s harder to get the regularity.

“There will always be hardcore people who will play but I am worried we will lose those who come because it’s convenient and chilled.”

The Welsh flag on the bike of Tacha Lilly Huber. Image Credit: Shannon McGuigan

The club also has benefits for local independent bike shops.

Tacha said: “We are linked to three independent bike shops. If poloists that travel here have any issues with their bikes, they will go to our lovely local independent businesses.

“It’s a niche little sport that everyone is welcome to. I have met so many people from different backgrounds, from all over the world. It’s really inclusive.”

Cardiff Bike Polo practice every Thursday at 7pm on the hardcourts at Maindy Velodrome.