Danny MacAskill's five secrets to success
How to become a mountain biking megastar like Danny MacAskill
Danny MacAskill is perhaps the biggest name in mountain biking. From humble beginnings riding trials and the streets of Edinburgh, Danny was propelled to superstardom in a seemingly short space of time with his hugely successful Inspired Bikes video, which now has just the 38 million views! But what sort of mindset do you need to have, to be a hugely successful mountain biking megastar like Danny? When he guest edited issue 343 of MBUK, he gave us a few words of wisdom as to what’s helped propel him to the top.
Don’t take it too seriously
Danny's first tip is not to go looking for that success. "It’s not about being seen by lots of people on the web. If I can make something that's fun and entertaining and really progressive then that's all that matters. I want to get the most out of myself – I’m not competitive in any way, but I still like to do loads of different things and push myself. I still feel like I’ve got a level of riding in me that can supersede what I’ve done before.”
Inspired Bicycles, 2009. The first video that propelled Danny to internet stardom. Riding his trials bike around the streets of Edinburgh he conquers famous landmarks around the city like the University campus, The Meadows and a set of exceptionally narrow railings.
The sky is the limit
“Luckily for me and the sport there are so many options in mountain biking – I really enjoy coming up with new ideas. It’s easy enough to tell what would work well with certain riders and I’d love to take biking to the mainstream. I’d love to be a creative director, coming up with ideas. From the creative side there’s a lot to do – you can make a viral video with an 80-year-old on the bike that people like to watch.”
Wee Day Out, 2016. If only all adventures were like this one! Danny travels the wilds of Scotland out on a normal, for him at least, ride encountering puddles that require snorkels, slippery log in treacherous places and run away hay bales – he takes it all in his stride!
Don’t give up!
“My Imaginate edit was a bit of a stress zone. It was like Groundhog Day! You lose track of time sometimes. You’re in a dark room and you struggle with something all day and the day before. The day before that you’ve been struggling with something else! But, when you know you can do it, it’s worth putting that little extra in!”
Imaginate, 2013. This is one of Danny’s most visually impressive videos – with giant bouncy balls, life-size toy tanks and soldiers and some of the most impressive riding we’ve ever seen it’d be a shame to not watch and find out what goes on inside Danny’s head.
Weigh up risk vs reward
“Generally all the stuff we try is possible in some way, or it’s at least worth a go. But, if you really feel in your head that the probability of severe injury is high and the chances of you actually making it are really low, it might be worth considering your options. But the bigger stuff, the bangers, you’ve got to weigh it up.”
The Ridge, 2014. Riding on his native Isle of Skye, Danny pushes what’s possible trying his hardest to conquer the Cuillian ridgeline. Danny’s admitted that this video is as much about the views and location as it is the riding.
Be a super fan
“I’m a massive fan of DH! It depends what’s going on at the weekend, but more often than not I’ll watch the World Cup live or try to avoid the results and watch it on replay. I love watching them. It’s amazing how long Peaty stayed in the game with all of those gearshifts. I watched the Won’t Back Down film again a couple of weeks ago and it highlighted Peaty’s amazing career. How many runs and how consistent was he? Impressive! Season after season and he still has a love for it!”
Way Back Home, 2010. It’s no secret that Danny is from the Isle of Skye but has spent most of his riding career in and around Edinburgh. Way Back Home documents Danny’s very special adventure back to his homeland – his journey is certainly done in true Danny Mac style!
For a more in-depth look at Danny MacAskill’s career and how he’s become one of the most well-known mountain bikers to date, you can get hold of MBUK 343 here.
And don't forget to sign up to our newsletter!