Balitmore Bike-Artist Makes the City His Canvas

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Sometimes, the internet is really cool. Take, for example, these maps — or are they paintings? — by Baltimore resident Michael Wallace. Fusing GPS technology, detailed city maps, his bike, and a sense of whimsy, Wallace creates what Nate Berg, writing in the Atlantic Cities blog, calls “a city-scaled and semi-crude Etch-a-Sketch drawing [with] Wallace [as] the pinpoint drawing the line.” Except that, unlike Etch-a-Sketch art, Wallace’s “drawings” are often miles wide, and take a few hours to complete.

So far, Wallace has come up with 120 ride/drawings, most of them through his Southeast Baltimore neighborhoods. Some highlights have included sailboats, trains, monsters, and a level of Donkey Kong. Baltimore’s gridded layout makes some of the more complex drawings a challenge, but he’s learned how to shape lines by taking turns at either wide or narrow angles. Patterson Park’s wide open spaces also help with the creative process. Still, Wallace — a middle school teacher by day — knows he must look a little kooky to other cyclists, since he ends up having to do a lot of zigging, zagging, and doubling back.

Once school is out this summer, Wallace will have more time to devote to completing his next batch of rides. He’s got several already sketched out, including one with an ambitious Crocodile Hunter-theme. Check out some of Wallace’s other inventive bike sketches below:

"Magnitude 5.8," 14.26 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes.
"Donkey Kong"
The planned "Crocodile Hunter" ride

Check out more of Wallace’s work at his website.

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