The equestrian game of polo is about 2,000 years old, but the bike version is a relative babe in the woods, having originated almost 120 years ago in Ireland, it's believed. It turns out that Richmond is on the map of cities where bike polo is on the rise. Most weekends, a group of about 10 to 20 local players are on the hunt for an open hard-court space — one of the toughest parts of playing around here, they say. One rainy Sunday in March, players (from left to right) Nick Vaughan, Ian Dunwiddie, Mike Young and others took their mallet-swinging action indoors, using an empty warehouse on the city's East End. This month, one of the group's organizers, 26-year-old Sean McCormick, was scheduled to join an East Coast team for a two-day event in Rouen, France — The Happy Wheels II Hardcourt Bike Polo Tournament. Compared to other versions of bike polo, the hard-court style is "a lot more rough and tumble," McCormick says. "There's a lot more bruises, scratches, sprains and broken bones."