Pedal power wins daredevil cyclist 65 million hits on YouTube

Danny MacAskill, famed online for his stunts, shows Jamie Merrill a trick or two

For someone with more than 65 million YouTube views of his madcap bike stunts, Danny MacAskill is a pretty modest character. When he's off his bike that is. Put Danny on two wheels and he's a total show-off, popping on and off kerbs, sliding along railings and jumping off pretty much any urban obstacle you put in front of him.

"Never in million years did I believe I would be pulling stunts for a living," says the 27-year-old, as he bunny hops backwards and forwards on his BMX-style stunt bike. "Since I was a little boy I've had bike heroes and loved to ride but it's not that I use it to express myself. It's just that riding is what makes me tick. My brain is tuned to create obstacles and I get a kick out of solving them on my bike."

It's this aptitude for two-wheel problem solving that helped Danny, who is originally from the Isle of Skye but now lives in Glasgow, shoot to alternative-culture stardom in 2008 when a friend published a video online of him performing his seemingly impossible stunts. Back then he was working in a bike shop; now he's sponsored by Red Bull, has starred in a TV advert for Volkswagen, had a cameo role in a music video for Doves and, last week, released a new film of some of his wildest tricks yet.

Called Imaginate, the seven-minute short took Danny two years to film and has already clocked up close to three million hits online. Unlike his previous films, it was shot inside with life-size toys, including a massive Rubik's cube, a vast model train set, a real tank and a Red Bull F1 car.

Some of the stunts took as many as 300 takes for Danny "to nail" and as I meet him in west London – where he's filming with the BBC – he's obviously pleased with the result. The plan is that he will teach me some tricks but Danny is less mobile than usual; a torn disc in his back is playing up and I can soon see how he's injured himself so often.

His tricks barely look possible and there's no shame in admitting I'm a little nervous. In the past he has broken his legs and wrist and smashed his collarbone. "I don't mind breaking bones," he says. "It's probably good for me to take a rest from time to time and it's sort of a badge of honour in this sport. It shows you are pushing yourself."

It turns out that street trial riding is as difficult as it looks and, thankfully, a rain shower saves me from anything more dangerous than some low-altitude bunny hops and a couple of "stoppies" – that's when you hit the brakes and lean forward to bring your rear wheel into the air.

MacAskill is kind about my modest abilities. Does practice make perfect? "I don't train. Every time I ride I do it at full tilt and most of the time that's still on my own in Glasgow," he says as I depart. "I'm just lucky that I came along at a time when the internet, digital video cameras and editing software have come together to create this online video culture and I can share what I love doing with everyone else."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam