Danny MacAskill in Edinburgh. Pic: Dave Mackison/Red Bull Content Pool

60 seconds with… Danny MacAskill

He’s only the most famous trials rider, perhaps even the most famous mountain biker, on the planet. Find out what makes the star of 'Imaginate', 'The Ridge' and 'Wee Day Out' tick...

Who is Danny MacAskill?

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Just a random guy who loves to get out on his bike.

Where’s home?

I live in Glasgow, but ‘home’ will always be Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye.

How did you first get into riding?

Growing up on Skye, there wasn’t much going on, so I spent a lot of time after school or on the weekend riding bikes. My friend’s older brothers got into mountain biking in the mid-’90s. When I was round at their house, he put on the MBUK video Chainspotting and it blew my mind and got me into trials riding.

What was your first bike?

A small red-and-black Raleigh Burner.

How about your current go-to bike?

It depends on the terrain I’m riding. For my latest video Gymnasium I rode my custom carbon Santa Cruz trials bike, but when I’m out on the trails it’s usually my Santa Cruz 5010 CC trail bike.

Where was the best trail or location you rode in 2019?

Sölden Bike Park in Austria was fun, especially riding with Fabio Wibmer, Nicholi Rogatkin and the whole Drop and Roll team.

What gets you excited to ride?

Music really motivates me. I’ve been riding trials for over 22 years now and have ridden the same local spots over a thousand times – it could get a little boring if I didn’t have my headphones in. The cool thing about music is how it changes the way you take in your environment and keeps it fresh. Riding mountain bikes with friends is also really fun though – the wetter and windier the better!

Who’s your favourite rider to watch?

Chris Akrigg for his aggressive, flowing style. It’s awesome to see him still kicking ass into his 40s. [BMXer] Kriss Kyle too – whether he’s on 20in wheels or an MTB, he always comes up with really fun, creative stuff. And last but not least, Sam Pilgrim for the sheer entertainment factor. Some of the contraptions he’s ridden on his YouTube channel have had me in stitches!

What’s your favourite bike film?

I can’t narrow it down to one, so here are a few – Chainspotting, Dirty Tricks and Cunning Stunts, Ryan Leech’s Manifesto, The Collective, New World Disorder 10, Etnies’ Grounded, Brandon Semenuk’s Rad Company and Fabio Wibmer’s Fabiolous Escape 2.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done on a bike?

It’s hard to say. Everything I do in the films, l’m in control of. There’s always fear there, but it’s usually irrational and I can push through it and get the trick done how I knew I could all along.

What’s been your worst crash?

I’ve had loads of silly little crashes, but tearing a disc in my back repeatedly doing a 360 down a 12ft drop for an advert in 2009 kept me off my bike for the longest time.

If you could only ride one wheel size, what would it be?

I love MTBs, but I’d go for my 24in-wheeled trials bike.

What would be your desert island luxury?

Spotify and a speaker.

Who’d be your dream non-bike sponsor?

Airbnb would be awesome!

How far can you wheelie?

As long as I can stay awake.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Take a grinder to your rear rim and make your brakes work in the wet!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro rider?

Working as a mechanic in the bike shop, or as a plumber. Either way, I’d be riding my bike every day.

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An edited version of this article was originally published in MBUK 381 (April 2020).