Making the impossible look easy on a mountain bike
Danny MacAskill has been wowing us for more than a decade. We ask him about his biggest moments and his riding today.
Red Bull athlete Danny MacAskill is celebrating 10 years of his MTB trials videos. To watch his collection, head to YouTube.com/RedBull
We’ve got a feature in the next issue all about the biggest moments in mountain biking, what are yours?
That’s a tough question. Just off the top of my head, you’ve got Peaty winning at Fort William in 2005. I still get goose bumps thinking of that. I was working at the bike shop. That was great. For me personally though, the Inspired Bicycles video in 2009, the early days of YouTube. It’s a bit grainy and it’s 10 years old but it’s still relevant today.
Do you still ride around the city looking for features like you did for Inspired?
Oh yeah, I’m constantly looking for features, my brain is switched on to features. You find yourself eyeing up all the different angles in the room, even if it’s unrealistic. I would love to do some stuff that’s as technical at Inspired, riding wise I want to do something like that on a technical level. But I’m never going to supersede that video.
Does that mean you don’t try and outdo yourself in each successive video?
I realised over 10 years, pretty quickly in fact, it’s much easier to change the feeling, often the location or the overall concept each time rather than trying to one-up myself. So each time we try to do something that doesn’t compare to the last one. I look at BMX and skate, and you have to work so hard to make that kind of progression each time.
The next video I remember you doing after Inspired was the Scotland trip with Hans Rey and Peaty, how was that?
I remember getting a call from Hans asking to go on a trip up to Skye and I couldn’t believe it. There we were having cups of tea in my parents’ living room with Steve Peat and Hans Rey. Hans, I was in awe of. I couldn’t show them my room as it had posters up of them from when I was a kid. I learned a lot from two of the biggest legends in sport… about drinking! What I really mean, is how to deal with sponsors and the public.
Got to ask, what do you think about e-bikes?
I can see a place for them in the world, I do a lot of moto trials anyway. Up in my neck of the woods it’s pretty boggy and not very hospitable for mountain bikes, and an e-bike would definitely open it up. It’s just something different. My friend Stu Thomson was out with his dad, doing 40km loops and his was able to keep up on the e-bike.
Any tips for people to improve their own riding?
Perseverance for sure. It’s hard to say if that relates to everyone, but when making a video I would have 400 goes over four days or more at a feature. But that’s more than perseverance, that’s stubbornness. But for mountain biking, the thing that opened up my riding was learning to get comfortable in a loose gravelly car park, rather than feeling like I was going to die when the wheels moved under me.
What kind of trail riding do you like now?
The wetter and the steeper the better. That’s what I call Type 1 fun, in the woods is good. If you’re going out for a full epic then it’s a different story, that’s Type 2 fun. Type 2 is like, racing, or suffering on a long ride where it’s good afterwards. I’m a terrible person to follow though, as I have no idea! I’m good at saving myself too, hopping over rocks and I’m on flat pedals, so I’m not the best to follow.