>>>"The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike"
Photo: Chris Prescott
We interview Danny MacAskill, street trials pro and YouTube megastar

“The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike”

He has received over 200 million views on YouTube. It makes no difference at all whether he is at the top of a cliff, on his native Dunvegan streets, or in a setting of his own creation, his stunts on two wheels are legendary.
He has received over 200 million views on YouTube. It makes no difference at all whether he is at the top of a cliff, on his native Dunvegan streets, or in a setting of his own creation, his stunts on two wheels are legendary.For Danny MacAskill, viral life started in 2009 when he made a video of a number of his biking stunts in Edinburgh. He added tracks from Band of Horses and went to bed. By the following morning, thousands had viewed his stair hopping and balancing stunts along the top of a fence on his Inspired Bicycles bike. Since then, National Geographic have named him Best Adventurer of the Year, he has appeared in the New York Times, and carried the Olympic Torch on its way through Glasgow.

One morning you got up to find that thousands of people had viewed one of your videos. You were 23 years old at the time. How has that changed your life?

My whole outlook on bike riding has changed. Before the video, that was in April 2009, I was focussed only on riding the bike and learning new stunts. But since then I have begun to see the bike from the point of view of a film maker.

Martyn Ashton and Martin Hayes were the people who inspired him most when he was a child.
Photo: © Red Bull Media House

¿When did you begin to take an interest in street trial?

I’ve been obsessed by bikes ever since I first pedalled one. I was four years old at the time. I began to ride what we call trial bicycles when I was around 11, although I had been practising skid outs and wall jumps right from when I had my first bike. I was hyperactive and adventurous as a child. I used to ride along the street, trying out whatever came into my head (and it normally ended in tears). When I was eight or nine, the brother of one of my friends and his gang began riding mountain bikes. I was the typical younger kid who followed them wherever they went, copying whatever they did.

His video The Ridge has received more that 41 million views on Youtube.
Photo: © Red Bull Media House

¿How many hours do you have to train to get from amateur to professional level?

I’ve always ridden for fun and had never considered becoming a professional. Riding a bike for me is like what playing football or going mountaineering at the weekend is for others. When I’m not injured, I’m out on the bike an average two or three days a week. I’ve never thought of it as training.

Danny MacAskill made a documentary in the ruins ofEpecuen, Argentina. It was devastated by a flood and abandoned, and now the ruins attract tourists from around the world.
Photo: © Red Bull Media House

Now you are involved in the ‘Drop&Roll tour’

Drop&Roll brings together the best street trial riders of the world. We do exhibition riding on a specially designed performance platform. Duncan Shaw, Ali C, Fabio Wibmer and I travel around Europe and the rest of the world with the show.

Zurich is one of the cities where the Drop&Roll Tour has performed.
Photo: © Red Bull Media House

¿What is your favourite place for bike riding?

Where I’m from, no doubt at all about that. The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike.

Before becoming a street trial star, Danny MacAskill worked in a bicycle shop in Edinburgh.
Photo: CutMedia
I now think of the bike from a film maker’s point of view.

Your homeland, Scotland, has been been the setting for your best known videos, - Way Back Home, in Dunvegan, or The Ridge, on the coast of Skye...

The Ridge was always something I wanted to do from years ago. When I was younger, I used to look at the Cuillin mountains and imagine myself on the bike up there. Videoing it was great fun and one of the most difficult and demanding projects I’ve worked on. But for me it was an act of love because I wanted to show off Skye, where I’m from, to the world.

“I’m out on the bike every day with a repertoire of stunts to try out or locations to see.”
Photo: CutMedia

And a place you'd love to see on two wheels?

I’d love to visit Japan sometime. And the other day I was looking at the moon and I thought to myself that it would be a good place to make a video some day . . .

Tell us something about your next project – possibly something creative like 'Imaginate’?

It’s the only thing I think about: new stunts and new places to shoot new videos. The problem is there isn’t time to do everything. I’d like to work on a short video to ease the pressure I put on myself – I’m always pushing myself to get any new project up a notch. Besides, this year we’re going on tour with Drop&Roll, so keep an eye out for our next shows.

Biography

Danny MacAskill is a professional street trial rider. He was born on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, where he first began to experiment with the bike. When he was 23 years old, one of his videos went viral and launched him to the top of street trial biking. Now he organises street trial shows and has appeared in TV shows and as a double in Hollywood productions.

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