4 May 2009
I’ve never seen stunt cycling quite like this before. Danny MacAskill, a 23-year-old from the Isle of Skye, has perfected a form of urban trials biking, or “parkour on two wheels”, which involves using objects including trees and buildings as platforms, props and launch pads for stunts.
In this five-and-a-half minute video, filmed and produced by Dave Sowerby, MacAskill seems to defy gravity as he does a backflip off a tree, rides across spiked railings, does a 360 going backwards down concrete steps, and leaps across two-storey shop fronts.
The video — complete with an excellent backing track, The Funeral by Band of Horses — has already become a YouTube sensation, with nearly four million views since it was first uploaded on April 19th. This may fall short of the 100 million views of Susan Boyle singing “I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent, but it’s ultimately more impressive.
Entirely shot in MacAskill’s home town of Edinburgh, the film shows the Scottish capital’s landmarks — including the David Hume Tower, University Library, John Lewis store, Commonwealth Pool, McEwan Hall, Tron, St Giles Cathedral, Standard Life House, Waverley Steps, National Gallery of Scotland and Holyrood Parliament – in an entirely new light.
MacAskill, originally from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, has acknowledged that he sees things differently. He told the Daily Telegraph: “When I walk around I probably see the city differently from most people. I’m always scouting out good places to do stunts. I’ll stop to examine every random ledge.”
It took 12 years of practice for MacAskill to reach this standard with quite a few injuries along the way. He says the opening stunt – where he rides across spiked railings – took eight hours of attempts to perfect. MacAskill has apparently earned enough from sponsorship and show signings to quit his job as a mechanic at bicycle shop MacDonald Cycles, on Edinburgh’s Morrison Street, and is now riding full time with his five-man stunt crew, The Clan. They will be performing at four separate events at the Original Bicycle Festival in Dumfries and Galloway, which runs from May 9 to 24.