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Interviews

20 years/20 questions – Danny MacAskill

The trials mastermind takes to the hotseat

TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.

Has anyone done as much to make mountain biking as visible to the general population as Danny MacAskill? From when he first popped onto the scene with his mind blowing Inspired Cycles edit in 2009 to cinematic masterpieces like The Ridge and Wee Day OutDanny has been viewed 250 million times.

The numbers are staggering but his bike skills are even better. Danny Mac’s imagination and creativity is truly what sets him apart – who else would try to front flip off a barbed wire fence!

We sat down with Danny to talk mountain biking past, present and future.

Danny MacAskill – 20 Questions

What achievement are you most proud of?
“Getting Rob Halford to have a cameo role in This is Drop and Roll.”

Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“I don’t know I would call this the wildest, but one of the coolest moments I ever had riding my bike, has to be doing a show with Martyn Ashton and Sam Pilgrim in 2009 at Bike Radar Live, while Hans Rey, Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Brian Lopes, Martin Söderström and many more were looking on. It felt like I was getting inducted into the mountain biking world.”

What has been your favourite moment of Dirt’s history?
“Any Dirt magazine that had Chris Akrigg coverage in it would always have to be top of my list.”

How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“My friends and older brothers started buying the magazine. Back in 1998, reading Dirt was sort of my introduction to mountain biking.”

What would be the first question you would ask Dirt?
“What was your favourite issue?”

When did you first start mountain biking?
“I got my first bike when I was four-years-old. By the time I was five or six I was cycling just under a mile to primary school in Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye. Soon, I was cutting up the road and getting really good. We all had bikes and would do stunts and race home from school.

When I was 11, I got my first mountain bike and got into trials riding. My older brother’s friends all had trials bikes and I would follow them around trying to see what tricks I could do.” 

What bike were you on then?
“I started of on a red Kona Firemountain with black Project Two forks and a pair of Magura Race Line HS33 brakes.”

What rider or person has most influenced your career?
“I have been obsessed with bikes ever since turning my first pedal at the age of 4. As I got older I started reading mountain bike magazines and used to watch videos until the VHS tape was worn out.

Many great riders have inspired me. Hans Rey’s and Martyn Ashton’s influences reflect in many things, that I do. Steve Peat is still an idol for me today as well, because he is still doing what he loves and has been riding at such a high level for a long time.” 

What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“I don’t really race, but I did compete in the 2008 Megavalanche, which I loved. It was great racing elbow to elbow with some of the other riders.”

Who would you loved to have raced against or ridden with?
“I have been lucky that have ridden with pretty much all my heroes. Getting to ride with Mat Hoffmann is still on the list though.”

What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
“I think bikes come in all shapes and sizes and I think E-Bikes have a place out there. Especially when it comes to getting a different type of rider involved. E-Bikes expand the possibilities of mountain biking to more people. If you’re young and fit though, then you should stick to pedalling while you still can.” 

What’s your favourite wheel size?
“24” for street trials and 27.5” on my mountain bike.”

What life lessons has mountain biking taught you?
“If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try, try ,try and try again. I have definitely learnt patience and perseverance through trials.”

Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
“Ali C is probably one of the most progressive street trials riders in the world at the moment and deserves more recognition for his work.” 

What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of mountain biking?
“The hundred different bottom bracket standards. This is getting out of hand.”

What’s been the best track you’ve ridden?
“The path at Ben Lomond.”

How would you change World Cup downhill?
“A lot of people might disagree with me, but I would love to see an urban downhill course. One street race a year would be pretty awesome. I think, racing down streets is a lot more relatable to the outside world and therefore maybe more exciting for the average person to watch. The addition of a street downhill contest would boost the coverage for all riders. Watching the best riders in the world race some gnarly city track down steps and off roofs would be cool.”


What do you still want to achieve in mountain biking?
“I have a huge list of projects I would still love to get done. While I can, I am going to try to work through as many of them as possible.”

What do you want to see more of from the Dirt website?
“A bit more coverage of street trials riders wouldn’t go amiss.”

What do you hope the next 20 years brings for mountain biking?
“I’d love to see mountain biking carry on growing at the pace it is. It would also be great to see MTB becoming part of the school curriculum.”

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