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Bike polo balls differ based on weather

That story in Oregon Outdoors about those guys who play bike polo in Ashland was pretty fascinating. It's amazing what people come up with as far as new extreme sports. But what I was wondering about was the actual ball they use. The story said it was a hard plastic ball but someone who I was talking to about the story said they use different balls for different circumstances. Do you know what that's about?

—A.A., Ashland

Yep, we at Since You Asked Central have a little left-over bike-nerd and a little unsettled competition from our younger days, so we identified pretty well with the Rogue Valley Bike Polo guys and gals who play every Monday evening at 6 p.m. at Court 5 in Ashland's Hunter Park.

And if you have a beater bike and want to test-drive this sport, come on down. Newbies are welcome.

As for the balls, they are different, says Eric Michener, owner of Rogue Bicycle shop and a bike polo afficionado.

The balls are color-coded for different weather conditions, Michener says. The orange-colored balls are for playing when the ambient air temperature is 60 degrees and above, as it was when the Mail Tribune's outdoors team visited the group last Monday.

The pink-hued ball is for games when air temperatures are between 40 degrees and 60 degrees, Michener says. Yellow balls are for games when the mercury is below 40 degrees, he says.

The reason for the different colors is because the different balls are made to act best in those temperatures, says Michener, whose shop sells all the bike polo stuff, including the various balls.

Play an orange ball during pink-ball conditions and it's sluggish and slow, Michener says. Whack an orange ball in yellow-ball conditions and it could shatter, and that would ruin their Monday evening, he says.

The various colors are important to the Rogue Valley Bike Polo club because they play year-round.

—Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.