Footless: Put On Your Cycle Shorts For Cycle Ball

Joel Harvey

Hybrids are scary things. We’re not talking about electric cars here, but the mythical gene-splicing of creature and man. No, we’d rather not come face-to-face with a godless abomination of nature like a centaur or a werewolf, thank you very much. But in sports, hybrids can be a good thing and we love to see them. They freshen things up, and create a wholly exciting new sport as a result. Ladies and gentleman, say hello to cycle ball.

One of the first things you need to know about cycleball, is that it goes by another name. A name that makes you realise how awesome the sport is: it’s also called radball.

“Hey, Kevin. You want to play some cycle ball today?” “Nah, sounds lame.” This is an example of how most conversations will go if you call the sport cycle ball. But watch how this scene plays out when you use its other, more radder name: “Hey, Kevin. You want to play some radball today?” “F**k yes. Sounds rad.” See? Cycle ball should always be called radball.

The Origins Of Cycle…Radball

The first thing that’s going to surprise you about radball is the actual age of the sport. Because like Sharon Osborne, radball is a hell of a lot older than you think it is. It was first played in 1893. Yes, 1893. Which makes radball older than the television, the atom bomb, and Sharon Osborne (possibly).

All these years and you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard of it yet. The reason is if you don’t live in certain countries where the sport is popular, then you’ve been sadly missing out. Radball is mostly played across Europe (not you, UK – get used to it, Brexit boy), Japan and Russia. These places are the home of the sport, where they truly understand the joy and madness that is radball.

The sport even has its own international competition, imaginatively titled the Cycle Ball World Cup (the Radball World Cup sounds much better though). First held in 1929, the competition has been dominated by two legends of the sport: the Pospíšil brothers of Czechoslovakia. With silky skills and jaw-dropping ability, they truly were the Neville brothers of their day. The pair would win the world cup an incredible 20 times between 1965 and 1988. Pospíšil that in your pipe and smoke it.

Rad, Bad And Dangerous To Play

There are, of course, rules to playing radball, and they’re largely similar to the rules of football. You have two teams both trying to score against each other into opposing nets. Except in radball, you score by the raddest way possible i.e. you use your bicycle to hit the ball into the opposing goal. The teams are usually made up of two versus two, although if you really want things to get crazy, you can have five versus five, too. Games are often played indoors (although you can play outdoors), and a full match will only take 14 minutes to complete. Seriously, radball isn’t messing around here.

The only way to touch the ball is by using the wheels of your bike, or your head if you want to mix things up. But if you’re in goal, you get the added bonus of being able to use your hands, too. Under no circumstances, though, can you use your feet to touch the ball during play.

And that’s largely it for regulations. There are some obvious no-nos, though, such as pulling an opposing player off their bike, or ringing your bike bell to put someone off. But apart from that, you have free reign to act like a true cycle-path and go crazy.

And how about the bicycles you use? Well, they’re fixed gear bikes with no brakes. They’re also specially designed for the sport, offering the player enough flexibility to make the quick moves they need for the ball. So don’t think you can play by getting your rusty Chopper out of the shed. In fact, don’t be getting your rusty Chopper out ever again. Nobody is impressed by it and it’s very unhygienic.

Are You Rad Enough To Play Radball?

So, you can talk trash, and you can cycle with a ball. But look in your heart and ask yourself: are you rad enough to play radball? Are you?? It’s not an easy question to answer. Take a look at these guys and see if you think you have enough about you to play with them:

It’s not just about being good on a bike – we can all ride a bike without falling off (providing we have stabilisers, obviously). But in radball, you have to be skilful enough with your wheels to pull off some ridiculous plays. You need to be precise with your angles and positioning to ensure you can hit the ball with pin-point accuracy using only your bike. Christ, that’s difficult enough to pull off when you’re using your feet, let alone having a bicycle involved.

The fact of the matter is that radball isn’t for everyone. Only the raddest ballers out there can play this insane hybrid mash-up.

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