Throwback Thursday: Danny MacAskill's Breakthrough Edit

Mar 14, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

10 years ago, while working in MacDonald Cycles in Edinburgh, Danny MacAskill uploaded his first edit to YouTube and was about to have his life changed forever. Filmed by his friend Dave Sowerby, the video got hundreds of thousands of views over night and as of today has been watched over 38 million times – the world went absolutely crazy about the then 23-year-old.

The video has stood the test of time as one of the most progressive and impressive street trials edits ever with techy tricks and some moves with massive consequences. Red Bull soon came knocking and Danny was catapulted to stardom with edits such as Way Back Home, The Ridge and Wee Day Out. In 2012 he was given the honour of baring the Olympic torch during its tour in Glasgow. He has also found himself featured in the New York Times, joined a Hollywood production as a stuntman and was nominated twice for “Action Sportsperson of the Year” at the Laureus World Sports Awards, as well as for the National Geographic “Adventurer of the Year Award”.


83 Comments

  • + 110
 Remember finding this video on youtube and watching in disbelief, he's on another level
  • + 53
 Still in disbelief.
  • + 6
 Yeah, I had that,"Wait! What??" several times the first time I saw it too. The bunnyhop to G-turn up the stairs, on a trials bike? I did G-turns in the early 90's on a freestyle bike, never up stairs, never thought it would be possible on a trials bike. I tried them on my mountain bike, and though I did them, they weren't comfortable to do with the bigger wheel. Danny makes them look easy, even on a full suspension bike. What???
  • + 13
 @oldschool43: I did see Dennis McCoy do that in a car park somewhere in Nashville at X Games qualifiers around 2000. I was so impressed I forgot my bag and passport in the card park. That was a fun summer in the US...
  • + 13
 @Boardlife69: The flair on a tree still blows me away.
  • + 5
 Would love to re-find this on Youtube in the highest-res upload Sowerby can pull from his original footage. Would be awesome to show this on a big screen to the groms in my neighborhood!
  • + 4
 @DarrellW: That's awesome??? One of my favorite tricks. Flatlanders step into other tricks from G-turns these days. Crazy stuff. Dennis McCoy actually talked me through the process on how to do them in like, 1989 or 90. I was basically doing 180's with the front brake on, he fixed that. No brakes or a gentle tap to start it! And a tap to keep from going over. 2 weeks later, and several bruises, I got it down. I rode with a lot of those guys way back when..
  • + 2
 I remember showing this to my old man soon after it came out. he genuinely didn't believe it was possible to do that flair etc, thought he was on wires or something...
  • + 44
 I spent two weeks with Danny on a bike maintenance/wheel building course when he was 15/16. He had a red Pace then and spent break times in the yard doing huge bunny hops and other tricks. Alf, course tutor, (proper old school road cyclist) laughed a lot and said something along the lines of "that'll never catch on"....
  • + 35
 Pinkbike always pulling through with killer content... I'm 21 and definitely wasn't in the scene 10 years ago so I had no idea this video existed until today... Blown away.
  • + 9
 If you want to follow more trials riders Ali Clarkson uploads weekly on youtube and you can find Duncan Shaw with videos out too. Both ride with Danny and are on the Drop and Roll team as well.
  • + 33
 the highest skill point I can aspire to in this film (yes, I said film not f*cking 'edit'...) is being one of the pedestrians going "huh? wtf?" as they look over the railing at the end! Mind bending skills.
  • + 16
 Yes, the people coming to peer over the railing after Danny sends it was one of my favorite parts. So funny!
  • + 5
 @Lokirides: If you ever go to Edinburgh you need to look over there and you'll understand. That's a big scary feckin drop.
  • + 29
 Still one of the best, if not thee best trials edits ever.
  • + 4
 It blows my mind and Danny Mac and Ryan Leech can both exist in the same time space and be such masters at their disciplines. I would LOVE to see a film with the two of them together a la Rodney Mullen vs Daewon Song... just truly mind blowing, next level skills!
  • + 1
 @TerrapinBen: THIS. Yes please.
  • + 4
 @TerrapinBen: Hmm how about Danny Mac V Chris Akrigg?
  • + 1
 @steezer: Have you seen Road Bike Party 2?
  • + 1
 @awrobb: Yeah I have- isn't it more of a colloboration rather than a face-off e.g. a game of BIKE?
  • + 16
 I have LOVED this song ever since I first watched this edit... it is such a big edit, kind of reminds me of Rodney Mullen's skateboard edit, these guys were just on another level at the time of filming this (Danny still is btw)
  • + 13
 There are bits in this clip that I think are as good as anything I've seen him do. The rolling backward manual to stop and forward wheelie is crazy. The stuff off the tree in the park, especially that first run up where he looks to be 15' up or more. The point where he's stalled between the bike rack and the wall... all pure gold. Put this man in jail for repeatedly breaking the laws of physics.
  • + 1
 Came here to point out that damn backward manual to wheelie. That should not be possible.
  • + 11
 Only 38M? I think I watched that at least 1M times...
  • + 3
 i remember it like it was yesterday. saw it the morning it came out. went viral around the world. my mom even saw it and sent it to me like a month later. it's the perfect combo of insane riding skills, the right song and perfect editing that makes it almost like a movie. it has ups and downs, loss and i think Danny even gets the girl right? the people who created and edited this must be famous by now.
  • + 2
 This is my favorite of his videos. This one is just an amazing rider tooling around doing awesome stuff.

The more recent ones are way too concept-ish and feel overbearing, and you get the sense that there's a whole crew of videographers getting every angle. Not that the riding isn't still amazing, but the videos have lost that "authentic" feel.

I love this one.
  • + 2
 I first reconised Danny from his Way back Home Video and wanted to try out trials riding ever since. This winter I finally got some money left and got myself a street trial bike. Best decision so far, super fun but also super difficult to make progress. Keep it up Danny!
  • + 2
 This video got me back on the bike when I was struggling to cope with life in college. I don’t ride trials, but the fun of riding just comes through so clearly in Danny’s style. Also decided to visit Scotland after watching Way Back Home! Currently planning our second trip there, so if Visit Scotland isn’t paying Danny yet, they should be!
  • + 2
 He did make a tourist video for a Scottish region recently. Can't begrudge him that, given the genius he unleashes on us.
  • + 1
 Trials riders always do such amazing stuff. Be it Hans Rey in the early days. I think I only learned about Chris Akrigg since the Earthed 3 video (2005), some of the stuff Rick Koekoek does looks incredible too (though he doesn't quite have that BMX/street style). The earliest of this kind of riding I saw was from the Planet X street/trials riders in the early 00's. I don't recall who those riders were (anyone does?) but they were doing incredible stuff on that 4kg steel Pitbull frame.
  • + 3
 Thanks for the Date Ref , now i know what date the Aliens took over he's body to play mind games with us on what he does on a bike :_
  • + 1
 Ah, his relatively unknown days I'm pretty sure that there's a couple more edits by inspired bikes. But this one in particular stands out and all the rest of his edits after Is just going so much more intriguing and intricate. Danny isn't sponsored by Santa Cruz is he? Or some Serta high-level ambassador? Regardless he's riding some sick bike's now days
  • + 1
 Nah, he’s not on a sick bike. It never arrived.
  • + 1
 If I'm not mistaken, he is dual sponsored by both Inspired and Santa Cruz, (As well as POC, Muc-Off, and Conti.) Other than the one off prototype SC did for Danny, they don't make trials bikes, and Inspired don't so full-sus, so no real conflict there.
  • + 1
 @SirLapLack: I don’t think he’s on Inspired anymore. Santa Cruz made him a one off carbon trials frame. There is a great article about it somewhere on the net.
  • + 1
 Can't listen to this song now without thinking of this video. It puts a unique take on the somewhat depressing song content. At 3:10 it gets rather euphoric, and then nearer the end when the drums and guitars start jamming and the tricks get thicker and gnarlier.... ahhh it just gets a rider PSYCHED.
  • + 1
 This reminds me of Ryan Leech in Ride to the Hills. Blew my mind at 14. The whole movie was an inspiration to just ride for the sake of riding. I could literally have watched a 3 minute clip of Thomas Vanderham or Wade Simmons and feel like I could accomplish anything on my bike afterwards

www.pinkbike.com/news/Old-School-Throwback-Ride-to-the-Hills.html
  • + 4
 Damn, has it been 10 years already?! I watched it when it was released and it feels like it's been just few months ago.
  • + 0
 Same here. It turns out I am an old fart.
  • + 4
 For those who like Danny, check out this throwback to 2007!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRbQ4RAdR5I
  • + 1
 Was starting to think every by-stander was completely unimpressed in this video by his antics until the stair drop into the tunnel and that final jump off the bridge to grassy knoll! Unbelievable riding!!
  • + 2
 Holy shit, it has 38 million views? Is that the most watched biking video on YouTube?

And yeah, still friggin' amazing after all that time.
  • + 3
 Riding, Music timed to edits, such great video. He deserves ever bit of his success.
  • + 2
 I love showing this to my boys, ages 6 and 10. I hope they also realize the YEARS of endless practice that goes into just ONE of those bunny hops.
  • + 4
 What a moment in bike history, cult classic
  • + 3
 remember it like it was yesterday. riding the skinny pointy fence like WTF!
  • + 2
 This bloke can really ride. I hope he sticks with it and makes some more creative videos in the future.
  • + 3
 Perfect edit, perfect music, perfect career start !!!

ps: "start" Smile
  • + 1
 This video is what got me back into riding, (As opposed to just commuting.) Started with BMX, then MTB, then road/gravel. Inspired, indeed.
  • + 1
 This guy is more fun to watch than some dude doing 50 foot drops any day. Skill is needed here. Drops need more balls than skill.
  • + 1
 When creativity, style and ability come together, we all stop, watch and probably shed a tear in awe. Still the best street trials edit ever.
  • + 3
 3:13 is still one of my favourite trials moves in any edit!
  • + 1
 What’s funny is if this video were released today it’d still be good....there’s some lines in there that a lot of people, with 10 years of time, still can’t do....
  • + 1
 Wow. Only ten years... I was a bike shop squeeb at the time and feel like a lot has changed since then. Nothing like what's changed for Danny though!
  • + 2
 Same man. Time flies. I also remember watching tony hawk stomp the first 900 on a skate. That shit was crazy. Cool how sports progress but Danny was and is still a ninja. Remember sitting by him watching the pumptrack challenge in whistler and was just in awe to be in his presence haha.
  • + 3
 I would sure love a re-upload so we could get 720 or better resolution.
  • + 3
 how time flies...crazy. Still an awesome edit!
  • + 1
 Still after 10 years has yet too pass 40million hits but still blows minds?
  • + 2
 I FUCKING REMEMBER THIS SONG IT'S ALL COMING BACK NOW
  • + 1
 Is hard to wrap ones head around should like this, then you consider he's only gotten better... What's next!?
  • + 1
 bunnyhopping up 9 stairs and doing a fakie manual is just not from this world. this is so sick
  • + 2
 A man absolutely dedicated to his craft. A superstar imo.
  • + 3
 So good!!!
  • + 1
 Those disbelievin pedestrians Big Grin brilliant Big Grin
  • + 1
 Love the shocked onlookers.
  • + 1
 This got me back into biking
  • + 1
 still in disbelief for sure
  • + 1
 The Rodney Mullen of bikes! Such an innovator!!
  • + 1
 Most mind-blowing bike edit ever
  • + 1
 This is absolutely crazy man.
  • + 1
 Just the best!!! this video is why I started listening to Band of Horses.
  • + 1
 Chills with the opening notes every time.
  • + 1
 Sick throwback!! Going to post a flashback tomorrow?
  • + 2
 What a boss!!
  • + 1
 Can someone ride better than that ?
Danny can !
  • + 2
 Still mindblowing.
  • + 2
 Still his best edit.
  • + 1
 Legendary!
  • + 1
 Danny for Rampage!!!!
  • + 1
 His lines are too creative for Rampage, kinda like Brendog's.
  • + 1
 Genius!
  • + 0
 Prov it is not geometry it is a rider
  • + 1
 still a kickass edit!

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