Danny’s new clip, which he produced with Red Bull Media House, was released a few days ago. Danny takes you behind the scenes in this interview, explaining how he found the locations for “Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out” and what it was like, filming on a mountain bike again.
What is Wee Day Out all about?
Although I’m doing very abnormal riding, I set out to make a video that hopefully relates to the normal rider. Every rider has had to ride through a puddle when it’s been a bit unknown how deep the center of that puddle is, it just so happens that the puddle in my film is 6ft deep. I wanted to do a video on the mountain bike again and give myself creative freedom with this film. It’s meant to be a fun day out on the bike, so I wanted it to be quite light hearted.
How did you choose the riding locations and features?
Over the last couple of years I’ve been having less and less time to ride my bike for myself. I knew the riding was going to take a lot of time to not only find the perfect location, but to actually build, film and land the tricks. All my friends involved in the project live in Scotland so it made it a lot easier to do it on our doorstep.
The first thing that we do when it comes to filming is to spend time scouting. I was quite busy at the start of the year, so I got one of my friends [Nash Masson] to be my eyes, which is the first time I’ve had somebody else looking for me. He was solidly scouting for about three or four weeks. He’s one of the only people I’d trust to do that. After he got a whole load of locations I would look at them, visit the ones I thought were interesting and start to make a list of possible tricks. That really evolved throughout the year.
Is it harder doing tricks on a mountain bike than a trials bike?
I’ve got on with the bike really well. The Santa Cruz 5010 that I ride is not far off the weight of my trials bike, so even though it’s a bigger bike, it’s so light. It’s proved itself to be incredibly strong. It’s not designed for the majority of the riding that I’m doing. It’s been run over by a 450kg hay bale multiple times and thrown off so many different drops – with and without myself. It’s definitely held up way better than I could have hoped for.
There are positives and negatives of using a mountain bike. It’s a little bit more forgiving with the suspension – although, once you’re above 6ft drops to flat the suspension actually gets in the way a little bit of the technique. You can ride on terrain that you wouldn’t be able to ride on a fully rigid bike and you can take in the rough and off-camber run ups.
An example of a trick that I could do on a mountain bike that I couldn’t on a trials bike is the very first trick I do in the film, which is a gap from the train platform onto the railway track. That was only possible because I was using the suspension and I had the damping there to control my body. If I was to do that on the trials bike it would just about be possible, but I think more often than not I’d land and bounce off, and my wrists would be having a horrible time. Because of the suspension I could land, keep myself together and ride on the track. Although it still took me 100 goes…
What do you prefer to ride – a mountain or trials bike?
I’d say I like riding them equally. On my mountain bike I’m usually riding more in the winter and I’m often riding with friends in a group. You can’t really beat the feeling of riding down a muddy, sliding trail and everyone getting to the bottom with a story to tell. Even if it’s pouring with rain it’s a lot of fun.
But I also love my trials bike, it’s more my own thing. I tend to ride it by myself when I’m in Glasgow. It’s kind of like going out and playing a game – I pick a few walls and rails and try to link them up in different ways. Both are equally good fun.
How challenging were the tricks in the film?
Every trick that I’ve done in the film has been a little bit out of my comfort zone. One of the tricks I’ve got to do is a backwards roll off a drop – it’s just such an unusual feeling. It’s quite claustrophobic as well, as basically at one point you’re on your head falling backwards down a 6ft drop and you don’t really know where you are, and I don’t really know if it’s a good trick… It will be interesting to see what people make of that one.
More on Danny’s website: www.dannymacaskill.co.uk
‘Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out’ is a Red Bull Media House production produced by Cut Media