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FCBC Newsletter

May 2022

It’s Bike Month!  With great weather and high gas prices, there’s no better time to get out and ride.  If you need some minor repairs or adjustments, come to a Fresno Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike event to get it road ready with expert advice while you work on your own bike.

In this month’s Newsletter:


  • Bike Café is on Tuesday, May 10 on cargo carrying.  Learn how to carry big stuff, like groceries and mattresses.

  • FCBC will be screening The Soul of a Cyclist, an award-winning documentary.  We will be joined by director and filmmaker Nuno Tavares via Zoom on Sunday, May 22 at 3:00 pm.

  • There will be many other Bike Month activities, including Fresno City Hall Bike Month proclamation on May 12, the Ride of Silence on May 18, Bike to Work week from May 16 to 22, the Ride of Silence on May 18, and Ride Through History on May 21.

  • The next Fresno Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike event is on Sunday, May 22 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Tower District.

  • The next chapter from the pending book by Juan Flores on bicycling in Fresno describes bike polo.

  • The next Board meeting is on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm.

FCBC Bike Café

The monthly virtual Bike Café allows FCBC members and others to socialize and discuss bike-related topics of interest.  For this month's Bike Café, join us for a discussion about How to Haul Big Stuff by Bike.  The car is the default for many of us when we need to transport something large and/or heavy.  With the right equipment, you can use your bike to haul everything from groceries to boats and mattresses. You will be amazed at what you can haul!




Jim Gregory, owner of Bikes at Work.  Since 1991, Jim and Bikes at Work have been making cargo bicycle trailers.  The company is devoted to providing bicycle-powered products to help people accomplish useful work.


Thor Smith, FCBC Board Member. Contemplating adding a basket, panniers, and/or a rack to your bike? Thor will share the details on how a basket, pannier or bike rack can help you haul more with your bike.


Register here to get the Zoom link.  If you have questions about using Zoom, registration for the event, or any other questions, email us events@fresnobike.org.

2nd Annual May is Bike Month Movie Event:  The Soul of a Cyclist


FCBC is holding a virtual screening of an award-winning documentary, The Soul of a Cyclist, which celebrates how bicycling brings people together, inspires joy, builds vibrant communities, and leads to a happier, more fulfilled life.


Enjoy a picturesque journey from the rolling hills of Lisbon, Portugal to the tweed-filled streets of London, England, and meet all the charmingly quirky people who share a love of bicycles and bicycling.  The movie is 73 minutes with English subtitles.


Nuno Tavares, director and filmmaker, will be joining us via Zoom from Portugal for Q & A on Sunday, May 22 at 3:00 pm.  We are thrilled because there is an 8-hour time difference between Portugal and California.  Register for the event here.


Fresno Bike Month Proclamation


The Fresno City Council will have a ceremonial proclamation of Bike Month at their regularly scheduled meeting on May 12 at 9:00 am.  It can be viewed in person at the council chambers in City Hall or virtually on Zoom.

Bike to Work Week


Caltrans District 6 is kicking off Bike to Work Week from May 16 to 22 by having a Bike to Work Day on Monday, May 16 with an energy station open to all bicyclists at Manchester Center behind the Starbucks. The energy station will be open from 7:00 am to 8:30 am on May 16, and you will be able to get a snack or replenish your water.  National Bike to Work Day is on Friday, May 20.

20th Annual Ride of Silence


The Ride of Silence is an international event on Wednesday, May 18 that honors all bicyclists who were killed or injured on public roadways.  The 8-mile ride in Fresno will begin at Clovis West High School at Teague and Millbrook Avenues.  Meet at 6:30 pm, with a ride-off time of 7:00 pm.  This event is organized by the Fresno Cycling Club, and you can register here.


Bike Through History

One of FCBC’s most beloved events, Bike Through History, is returning this year on Saturday, May 21 beginning at 9:00 am.  FCBC is partnering with the City of Fresno Historic Preservation Commission to take a tour related to historical sites in Fresno. The ride will start and end at the historic water tower in downtown Fresno, at the corner of Fresno St and O St. Join us for a fun, easy, group ride of about 8 miles to view most of the remaining hitching posts in Downtown Fresno, the Lowell neighborhood, and the Tower District. The ride will end with an opportunity to socialize. Suitable for all ages and riders who can ride independently on the open road. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Register here

Check out the route on Ride with GPS

Fresno Bike Station FYOB Event

The next Fresno Bicycle Station Fix Your Own Bike event is scheduled for Sunday, May 22 between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm at the Van Ness Village Vendor Fair, located at 1440 N. Van Ness Avenue.  The Fresno Bike Station is sponsored by FCBC and allows bike owners to learn how to repair their own bikes with help from experienced mechanics, including FCBC member Julie Congi and Tower Velo owner Chris Eacock.


Nick Paladino Bicycle Safety Award

Tony Molina

At the April 27 meeting of the Fresno Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC),  FCBC Board Chair Tony Molina was announced recipient of the second annual Nick Paladino Bicycle Safety Award.  The award is named after former FCBC Board Member Nick Paladino, who was the inaugural recipient of the award last year.  Tony has been a tireless advocate for all bicyclists, and the recognition is well deserved.  Congratulations Tony!


Upcoming Book on Bicycling in Fresno

Below is the ninth chapter in the book that FCBC Board Member Juan Flores is writing on bicycling in Fresno.  The chapter is on bike polo, a fast-paced bike sport growing in popularity.  Juan welcomes any comments, corrections, and constructive criticism at juan@fresnobike.org.  Previous chapters can be viewed on the FCBC website.

Bike Polo in Fresno

I was first introduced to the bike polo community when Fresno County Bicycle Coalition organized CenCalVia, the first open streets event in Fresno, on October 2 in 2016.  One of the venues at the event was the Bike Polo.  The group known as Pedal Junkies led by Tea Gonzaez and Sara Topete, set up a court in the middle of the closed street.  They created the polo court using two by four boards that were screwed or bolted together to define its boundaries and to limit the travel of the polo balls.  The wooden barrier also served to protect the spectators from stray balls.  I was impressed at the great speed of the polo players and their accuracy in handling the ball while maneuvering their specially designed polo bicycles.

I was resolved to learn about how to play bike polo and decided to take a deep dive in the internet and Wikipedia.  I learned that bike polo is a fun and fast-paced game that requires agility, strength, and endurance.  And as the name states, it is played on bicycles, and teams of three attempt to score by shooting a ball with a mallet into the opposing team's net.

According to Wikipedia, to score a goal, you must hit the ball with either end of your mallet.  You cannot score a goal using the side (known as a shuffle).  If you touch your foot to the ground (aptly known as a “foot-down”), you must touch your mallet near the center of the court (“tap in”) to be allowed back in play.

Cycle polo (or bicycle polo or bike polo, polo-vélo in French, Radpolo in German) is a team sport, and is similar to traditional polo, with the exception that bicycles are used instead of horses.  The two versions of the sport are grass bike polo and hardcourt bike polo.  The hardcourt game has significantly grown in interest in the first decade of the 21st century, and organized play is happening across the world including China, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, France, India, Germany, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, England, Scotland, Argentina, Italy, Spain, USA, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Nepal, Brazil and Cuba.

The two versions of the grass games are the four-player game and the five-player game.  In the four-player game, cycle polo is played in a rectangular grass field of 490 by 330 feet, or whatever field is big enough.  The ball used is approximately 2.5 inches in diameter and made of hard plastic and is usually a bright color to make it more visible.  The mallet is approximately 3 feet, 3 inches long.  Goals are approximately 12 feet wide and made with two goal posts without any crossbar.  International matches are 30 minutes long and divided into periods of 7.5 minutes known as chukkars.  Extra time can be used to determine the winner in the event of the scores being tied.

A player following the ball on its exact line and taking it on his or her off side will be entitled to the right of way over all other players.  If a deliberate severe foul is committed at the vicinity of the goal, the team that is fouled is automatically given a goal.  Less severe fouls are awarded free hits.  In the event of deliberate or dangerous fouls, the umpire can issue a yellow card (warning), and in case of repeated or severe fouls, a red card (ejection).  Teams can replace the ejected player with a substitute after the end of the chukkar if the umpire allows it.

In order for a player to touch the ball or attack an opponent, the player must be holding the mallet in the right hand, with the handlebar in the left hand, and must not be touching the ground with any part of the body.  The right of way is given to the player who follows or possesses the ball.  In the penalty area, the right of way is lost in favor of the goalkeeper.  In order to score, the offensive player must hit the ball across the goal line using the narrow end of the mallet, called a "shot" or "hit."  Hitting the ball across the goal line with the wide end of the mallet is called a "shuffle".  When a team scores a goal, the opposing team must retreat to their half and wait for the other team (player or ball, whichever comes first) to cross the halfway line before engaging in play again.

The bikes have changed over the years as well due to the changes in the game.  Initially, people used fixed gear bikes, sometimes with a front brake and sometimes without.  People soon found that a bike with a freewheel gave you more control when shooting and dribbling the ball, but then braking became an issue.  Just having a rear brake meant lots of skidding, so people started using both front and rear brakes operated with one brake lever.

We have Tea Gonzalez and Sara Topete to thank for Bike Polo’s prominence in Fresno.


Next Board Meeting

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm via Zoom.  Everyone is welcome to join the virtual meeting.  If you would like to participate in the meeting, register here, and you will immediately get the Zoom link.


If you are not yet a member of FCBC or need to renew, please visit https://fresnobike.org/join to become a member or renew your membership.

Have a comment or suggestion?  Contact us at info@fresnobike.org

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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