Meet mountain biking's superstar, Danny MacAskill
We dig deep into the colourful world of the trials riding icon to learn more about his life on two wheels
Danny MacAskill is a street-trials and trail rider from the Isle of Skye who still loves riding his bike as much as he did when he was eight years old. Since his breakout 2009 film Inspired Bicycles, Danny has racked up millions of video views and amazed audiences across the world with his riding skills. Currently boasting over half a million YouTube subscribers, the flying Scotsman really is mountain biking’s megastar.
What are you best known for?
Trying to do hard moves on my trials bike. I can’t nail any signature stuff, but I ride along tennis lines, fences and cables, and do random frontflips!
What was your first bike?
A Raleigh Burner BMX.
Describe your fantasy day...
At the moment it’d be to get all my classic MBUK heroes together – Steve Peat, Rob Warner, Chris Akrigg, Brendan Fairclough and Robin Kitchin [ex Team Animal rider turned filmmaker and photographer] – and go for a slip-and-slide in the woods.
What gets you excited to ride?
Wet weather! I grew up on Skye, so I got used to riding in the wet. If I’m honest, when it comes to mountain biking, the wilder and wetter, the better. I just love riding in full waterproofs; it really feels like you’re conquering the day. You could easily sit inside and mope, but when you’re out there it’s just ridiculously fun. That goes for the trials bike, too – I love riding street in the wet, because you’re getting so much more out of the day.
What’s your favourite bike component of all time?
Magura’s Raceline brakes – and that goes for their HS33s [the German brand’s iconic hi-vis yellow hydraulic rim brakes] back in the day, too. That was what you aspired to ride back then, and when you got them, they were amazing! These days I run the MT7s, and they’re the best. Yes, I’m sponsored by Magura, but they’re like an extension of me and have kind of defined my riding over the years.
Do you have any hobbies outside mountain biking?
I’m into rock climbing, discovering new music and having parties in my van – I can fit 60 folks at a push and we have some good times!
What’s the best trail you’ve ridden in the past year?
One called Slabmin that’s up at The Mast in Inverness. It’s kind of a secret trail, and I go riding there most days.
If you could only ride in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Probably Aviemore in the Cairngorms and its surrounding area. It’s got cool street riding and the mountains are so good for mountain biking and e-bikes.
What’s your most treasured possession?
It’s got to be my Santa Cruz custom carbon fibre trials bike. That thing is cool! It still gives me that inner feeling of seeing somebody else’s bike, a pro rider’s steed, and thinking, ‘Man, that’s so rad!’
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Don’t get me started! This morning I was listening to CJ Bolland’s The Prophet, it’s heavy-duty ’90s techno. And one by Apollo 440 called Vanishing Point – that’s a masterpiece.
What’s your favourite album?
Probably the Chemical Brothers’ Come with Us or Faithless’s Sunday 8PM. Those two are super-nostalgic for me.
do you have a favourite item of clothing?
My Five Ten shoes. I’ve lived in Stealth rubber for years – that’s genuinely where all my powers come from! If I’m in trainers, or anything else that hasn’t got Stealth rubber, I have to look at the world differently.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
A giant sound system, my phone with Spotify, and my Santa Cruz Heckler e-bike. I’d have a bloody good time!
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Take a grinder to those rims and get better brake pads! I messed about with smooth rims on my trials bike for years without ever knowing there was such a thing as having brakes!
This article was originally published in MBUK 419
Words: Steve Thomas (www.stevethomasimages.com)
Photo: Red Bull
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