Good Sports: Pedal Junkies

FRESNO, Calif.

A group of junkies get together a few times every week at Cary Park in Northeast Fresno. But no need to call the police, these junkies are Pedal Junkies, Fresno's bicycle polo team.

Pedal Junkies captain Anthony "Tea" Gonzales said, "The diversity of all the people and nationalities that play. It's worldwide. Polo is growing really fast. It's like roller derby: it's really underground but people are catching on."

Bicycle polo is just like horse polo, except of course, it's played on a bicycle. The rules are simple: it's a gentlemen's sport, so behave, there are three players per team, and your feet cannot touch the ground.

"Not everybody could play basketball and not everybody plays football or the other sports. But everybody rides a bicycle," Gonzales said. "And once you get a chance to play bike polo you might find your new love."

And that's exactly what happened to Gonzalez about a year and a half ago. As the Pedal Junkies team captain and main organizer, bicycle polo has consumed his life.

"I've made a whole lot of friends and those friends have turned into family members," Gonzales said. "I have a spot to spend the night all over the world I have a couch to stay on all over the world."

And this community feel to the sport, the welcoming nature of all of its players, has hooked self-described super-fan Sara Topete.

"We went to San Francisco and they let us crash on their couch. We went to LA and we can crash on their couch," Topete said. "So it's just a really cool close-knit community. So you can see the appreciation of it."

But Gonzales would like to see the sport blow up with the Central Valley leading the charge.

"That's what I want Fresno to be," Gonzales said. "I want people to come on out and see that we're taking bicycle polo seriously too."

"I've seen everything that he's said he's wanted to do happen. So I believe in him. He's so passionate about it that it's going to happen. So if he says it will be on ESPN it will probably be on ESPN."

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