When the northern edge of Dolores Park reopened in June, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department unveiled a brand-new multi-use court. Unlike the park's other areas for sports, this one isn't equipped with a tennis net or a basketball hoop, and there are no permanent markings on its blue asphalt surface.
But there are plenty of bicycle-width skid marks, left behind by the San Francisco Bike Polo League.
The group can be found playing on the court most nights, as many as four nights a week, furiously circling around in pursuit of a red rubber ball.
Bike polo has a fuzzy history — according to the League of Bike Polo, it dates back to 1890s Ireland — but its current incarnation first popped up in Seattle at the end of the 20th century. It has since grown into an international sport, with tournaments in Germany, Portugal and Ukraine this year.
The game is very similar to its equine-based counterpart, but uses bikes instead of horses. During a match, teams of three try to score against each other during a designated period. The players embody the do-it-yourself spirit of the game, from their makeshift mallets down to a homemade portable scoreboard invented by a local league member.