Danny MacAskill

2nd March 2012 at 00:00
The Scottish trials cyclist says a daring PE teacher with a `cool moustache' helped put him on the right track

I really enjoyed school. There was never a day when I got on the bus thinking I really didn't want to go. I definitely tended to get into a little bit of trouble, though I never did anything serious. I think some teachers would say I was a bit of a class clown sometimes. I was never fighting or graffiti-ing or anything like that; it was never on that level - more joking around. Looking back, you think: "What was I up to, doing that kind of stuff?"

School was quite a sociable thing for me - that was what it was for. I was lucky. I was in a very small primary school, but I happened to have a lot of friends who are still my good friends now, who went there with me, and that was the same in high school. I tend to kind of fit in the middle of a lot of groups, and I never really had any enemies, I suppose.

I'm dyslexic, so I struggled a little bit in English, and if I was doing something I didn't want to fully focus on, my attention span would be short. I would maybe be thinking about other things than class. Maths was OK - it was more the subjects that needed a lot of reading and writing where I didn't get on so well.

PE was something I was interested in. I have always enjoyed doing the physical stuff, rather than the academic stuff. I didn't stand out. I did cross-country, but I was never the top of the class. I was pretty small in school, as well. But I just enjoyed it. Whether it was raining or snowing, I just enjoyed being outside at school. Mr Edgar, my PE teacher, was always very encouraging.

We had a thing called "activities week", when we could pick and choose what we did. There were enough of us who wanted to go mountain-biking, so Mr Edgar took us on a trip all around Skye, leading us around on all these different rides. It was amazing, and it was right up my street. I have ridden my bike all my life. When I was in primary school, I was cycling to school every day, and my bike has always been part of what I do. It was good to be able to do something like that through the school.

He had the right balance dealing with us. He was really friendly, and it was cool, but I suppose if you go and take a big group into the wilderness you kind of have to keep them under the reins as well.

In 1999 or 2000, a world cup downhill course in Fort William opened, so he arranged a trip for all of us - there were a few of my friends who were also keen on biking - to go down and ride the course. This is a world cup downhill track, so it's pretty full-on. People go down on full- suspension bikes, and he rode down it on his mountain bike from the 1980s. It had a huge frame and was fully rigid, and the brakes didn't really work. That was pretty cool. We all had a lot of respect for him.

I suppose it could have gone wrong, but he just wanted to give it a go, go down and have a good time. He has retired now, so he probably was in his forties. I remember he always had a good moustache.

I haven't seen him since I left, and I never thought about what he might make of my success with my bike. I'm sure he would be pleased. I have done what I enjoy doing, and the success has been very unexpected, so I am sure it would have been very unexpected for him as well. It would be nice to run into him - it would be funny to reminisce about going down that downhill course in Fort William.

Danny MacAskill was talking to Julia Belgutay

Personal profile

Born: 1985, in Inverness

Education: Dunvegan Primary, Portree High

Career: street trial rider, YouTube sensation, nominated for `adventurer of the year' award 2012 by National Geographic. First clip Inspired Bicycles, filmed in 2009, has been watched by nearly 29 million people worldwide.

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