Stunts in the streets for Venezuelan motorcycle virtuoso

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Stuntman Pedro Aldana performs a wheelie on his motorcycle during an exhibition in the Ojo de Agua neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The motorcycle trick rider and adrenalin junkie who prefers the nickname "Crazy Pedro," draws masses of Venezuelans starved for entertainment to his shows across the country. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

CARACAS – If police aren't shutting down his street shows for lack of permits, Venezuelan motorcycle trick rider Pedro Aldana is battling coronavirus quarantines or the tropical rains that turn the asphalt slick and send fans running for cover.

Despite life's obstacles, Aldana — a natural-born showman who performs in wild checkered clothes and dyed green hair — has kept up his performances, which draw hundreds of people to unused parking lots or obscure city streets.

“This is my hobby, my art," said Aldana, who is leading a movement to win official recognition of motorcycle acrobatics in Venezuela — a sport nurtured in poor neighborhoods like his, where he sometimes mentors young fans in basic mechanics. "This is my passion and my work.”

Aldana, who goes by the show name “Pedro Locura,” Spanish for “Crazy Pedro,” is joined by a loyal crew of likeminded daredevils for occasional exhibitions of speed, agility and precision balance.

The swarming motorcyclists do wheelies at high speed, often standing on one foot or a knee from the seat or the back foot peg. Sometimes a young woman stretches out on the seat in a show of her trust for the rider's skills.

In other maneuvers, they turn tight circles in a group, each rider hopping from a normal seated position to sidesaddle while the front wheel is sky-high.

It's a sport on the rise in Venezuela, where many take pride in the motorcycles they depend on to get to work or earn them a living making deliveries.

Aldana said he won his nickname as a youth mastering tricks on his bicycle. By age 11, he'd graduated to a motorcycle.