Cara Notestine has been playing polo in Memphis since the beginning: using bike boxes as barriers behind the old Peddler Bike Shop on Highland beginning. She would also make sugary treats and bring them to the pick-up games at Bluff City Sports. While I stopped playing bike polo due to fear of injury, Cara and the rest of Memphis Bike Polo have kept it going strong with regular pick-up games, hosting a tournament, and traveling to a lot of other tournaments. She was kind enough to share some pictures and tips on packing bikes from her recent trip to Ladies Army 8 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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“Ladies Army isn’t the only all female tournament but I think it’s the longest running. Mexico was the 8th year. I think the first one was in Vancouver and there were only 4 teams. There were 32 teams in Guadalajara. This was my second Ladies Army, my first being last year in San Francisco. It was Funlola and Anna’s first one though! There’s rumors of next years being in New York, but Bogota might put in a bid as well.”

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“My bike bag all packed (with corgi for scale). I think the trick to flying with your bike for free is to try and make it as small as possible. It’s not gonna fit into the proper dimensions but if the bag is awkward shaped, they’re not going to measure it. If they ask what it is say it’s artwork or camping gear because most airlines have hefty bike fees. We flew American, their bike fee is $125, we all got really lucky and no one even asked. I’ve flown a lot with my bike and have only been charged once! I use plumbing insulation to protect the tubes and an old hub to brace the rear dropouts.”

Be sure to follow Cara on Instagram for more polo, traveling, and Corgis. And be sure to come out for polo, you just might get some chocolate chip cookies!