The bike-stunt video that changed a life

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Remember this video from back in April? It changed a cyclist's life.

Former Edinburgh bike mechanic Danny MacAskill became an overnight sensation when this video — about 6 months in the making — hit YouTube. If you're not one of the 13 million people who have seen it, you should take 5 1/2 minutes to check it out.

Now the New York Times interviews him in “A stunt cyclist's Tour de Fence” and tells how the 24-year-old's life has changed since YouTube stardom struck.


Earning $9 an hour a couple of years ago as a bike mechanic, MacAskill could pull down a six figure salary in 2010 if he stays healthy, his agent tells the Times.

He's scheduled to do work in South Africa, Australia, Germany, Canada and Las Vegas next year. A Hollywood producer wants him to do stunts in an upcoming movie about bike messengers.

In fact, he was deluged with offers after the bike-stunt video went viral, but he ignored many of them:

“I didn’t want to grab everything while I could and look like an idiot.”

Similarities with Obree

The Times says he's reminiscent of Scottish singer Susan Boyle, whose appearance on a reality show later viewed on YouTube launched an international career.

To me, though, he reminds me another Scotsman, Graeme Obree, the cyclist who set the one-hour speed record twice in the early 1990s.

Obree was known for building and making last-minute modifications to his track bicycles. MacAskill built his own 24-inch stunt bicycle from components from different parts makers and a frame from England-based Inspired Bicycles.


They also bring a positive attitude. Here's what Obree said about beating the world record mark on his second try:

“I'm not going to be the timorous guy from Scotland. That's what the difference was. Purely mental state. The day before, I had been a mouse. Now I was a lion.”

And MacAskill's attitude while performing his stunts:

“Picturing anything negative will make something bad happen. You have to be relaxed. Whether it’s 10 feet or 1,000 feet from the ground, I do not plan to fall.”

They both certainly have a lot of heart.

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