Photography By: James Cheadle
For most of us Sunday is a day of rest, a day of relaxed contemplation… a day to try and not physically assault relatives who have come to visit. But for at least a few hundred of people in inner city Baltimore, Sunday is the day you retrieve your illegal-to-ride dirt bike from a secret location, race through the streets in groups up to 100 strong, dodge the cops and the traffic – all while trying to pull the most outrageous stunts possible. For Sunday in the city, whose endemic drug culture and urban collapse was mercilessly depicted in the TV show “The Wire,” is Wildout Wheelie Day.
No one can pinpoint exactly when dirt bikes became such a phenomena in the city, but it goes back at least 20 years. One version of events has drug dealers, who realized it was next to impossible for police to intercept deliveries transported on bikes that could negotiate any terrain, buying bikes for their couriers to use. And over time a stunt scene grew up within off-duty narco riders that’s been emulated across the city. The riders vehemently deny this history, claiming dirt bikes have always been a Baltimore thing and the stories about drug dealing are just a way to paint them as bad guys terrorizing the city. To find out the truth we headed down to Charm City.
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