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At the Edge: Riding for My Life

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Danny MacAskill lives on the edge. The cyclist is legendary for his YouTube viral videos like The Ridge, Cascadia and nerve-jangling blurs of stunts and speed over towering buildings and mountain peaks. His life is one of thrills, bloody spills and millions of online hits. It hasn't been an easy ride. Fear, stress and the 'what if?' factor circle every trailblazing trick, which require imagination, daredevil techniques and movie-making smarts. He has spent his life pushing the extremes; somehow, he's still around to tell the tale. In this unflinching memoir of mayhem, Danny shares his anarchic childhood on the Isle of Skye and early days as a street trials rider, takes us behind the scenes of his training and videos, and reveals what it takes to go the next level—both mentally and physically. Join Danny for a nerve-shredding ride. Just be sure to bring a crash helmet.

288 pages, Hardcover

Published April 1, 2017

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About the author

Danny MacAskill

3 books2 followers
Daniel "Danny" MacAskill is a Scottish professional street trials cyclist.

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5 stars
96 (41%)
4 stars
86 (37%)
3 stars
37 (16%)
2 stars
6 (2%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Paul.
2,143 reviews
November 25, 2016
The UK has got a lot of talented cyclists now, there are some that can beat allcomers in a sprint for the line, we have a highly talented team that can ride the velodrome and beat the world, a small number of top class riders who feature highly in the Grand Tours and some who can throw themselves down mountains in some sort of controlled terror.

Then there is Danny MacAskill.

If there was one guy who could be said to defy gravity, it would be him. He rides a trials bike, a sort of squashed mountain bike, that he can control in an unbelievable way. He has the ability to leap several feet in the air with it, using that height he jumps to climb vertical surfaces and clear gaps with a breath-taking ability. Couple this with a fertile imagination and a healthy disregard for safety he has created astonishing videos like Imaginate, Wee Day Out and Cascadia and become a You Tube sensation. They are the sort of video that you need to see twice, as you can’t quite believe that someone can do that on a bike.

In this book, MacAskill takes us back to his childhood, through his rebellious phase and brushes with the law on the island of Skye. He tells us of his initial venture into riding street trials and how he learnt his craft. His first video, Inspired Bicycles, was filmed by a friend and uploaded onto You Tube one weekend. He thought nothing of it until he received a call the next day from the BBC wanting to interview him. Overnight he had had 100,00 views of the video and from that moment on, everything went mad. Sponsorship deals followed and the quality of his videos increased dramatically.

It is an enjoyable book to read learning about his early escapades and how he has pushed what he can do on a bike to the very limit. If you’re expecting a lyrical narrative though, you might be disappointed, but MacAskill tells it how it is and it is quite refreshing for that. One for the fan, but even if you do’t want to read it you must see some of his videos. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Hanna.
95 reviews
April 3, 2018
I love this book so much..also the biker, as he is my inspiration
Profile Image for Nick Busfield.
19 reviews
July 23, 2023
An easy going and enjoyable read. Quite a bit that really resonated with my memories of growing up in a rural environment and scooting about on my bike.
Profile Image for Jonathan Tennis.
625 reviews11 followers
December 8, 2020
Discovered his videos one day and while I've only watched a few, I was curious to learn more about what made him tick and why do these sorts of things on a bike.

Entertaining and enjoyable read for anyone who wants to know more about how MacAskill became the rider he is today.

“Knowing I could take a serious knock and not have it sideline me was reassuring, though there were other psychological glitches during the making of Imaginate. Like an author struggling with writer’s block, I could sometimes find myself hung up on a line or a jump. Usually, it was a stunt I could have ordinarily landed with my eyes shut, but it became insurmountable. For example, for this video I wanted to flair on a ramp comprising four giant ‘playing cards’ – ply sheets designed to look like a two of clubs and the five of diamonds. It should have been fairly straightforward because I’d done plenty of flairs before and the technique wasn’t too dissimilar to the one I’d filmed during the making of Inspired Bicycles: I had to ride up and pop out of the top, spinning my body in the air before landing on to the playing cards again. What made the Imaginate flair so difficult was the fact that our set-up was built from a series of overlapping, flat panels, which made for a bumpy transition.” – p. 169-170

“One thing, though: please, please, please, just be careful, would you? I am all for inspiring a new riding video, but I don’t want to be held responsible for your hospital visits. Oh, and something else: if you’re not scared while doing a banger, you’re either a) mad or b) not trying hard enough.” – p. 235
Profile Image for Gordon.
263 reviews1 follower
September 11, 2017
Easy read, nothing startling, no kiss-and-tell here, but a nice insight into a fearless tearaway who can ride a bike and worked out how to make fun viral videos. Several nice talking points. Loved how he's a mountain biker first, and how hanging with the Atherton's stalled his momentum immediately after Inspired. Would have liked a little more insight into how the sponsorship etc actually makes him money (or not).

Did stop as I read it to watch the various movies again, very fun and the recommended path to fully appreciating the book.

(note - do not like the YouTube advert impregnated on the cover of the book - had hoped it was a sticker, but no...)
1 review
July 6, 2018

Book review – Danny Macaskill – At the edge – Riding for my life

Mountainbike videos and also the sport, getting more popular in the last view years. But often they inspire people to do something dangerous because the videos are made by professionals who know their risks. Danny Macaskill, a professional mountainbiker and trails rider has written a book, “At the edge”, about his video projects in which he did some specular stunts. The book was published by Malik in 2016 and has 300 pages. It is a documentation of Danny Macaskill’s mountainbike life and his video projects.

In the first chapter Danny Macaskill describes some specific terms of mountainbike language, which are unknown for people who are not active in this type of sport. After that he give the reader knowledge of the fear of death, because a lot of people said to him that he is tired of life. He says that death is no option for him, but he also knows that this kind of sport is very dangerous. After that he describes his childhood, which was in Scotland. Danny tells about his first mountainbike and his first try’s and skills. He got popular with his first Video which he made with some friends totally random. They upload it on YouTube and got a lot of attention in very short time. In the further chapters he describes some life experiences with his bike and also about the stunts and tricks he learned. He also says that he loves it if he can ride for his own, because then he get the inspiration and the ideas for new videos. Another big point in his book is the material he needs in his career. He told the people how many bikes and parts he damaged and what they cost. That is really crazy! He also describes that music inspires he for mountainbike tricks and while listening to it he get some new ideas for videos and stunts. In the end, he thank to all the people who were involved in his video projects, his family and also his friends for the support of his sport.

I will not describe each chapter of that book in detail because Danny describes a lot of stories which happened in his life so that would go beyond the scope.

Between the chapters he describes the single scenes of his main video projects in a short paragraph. In these paragraphs he gives the reader an insight of the difficulty and the dangerous stunts he made in his videos. On the page opposite of the paragraph, he draws some sketches of his stunts and how they could happen.

The main character of the book is Danny Macaskill and he is also the author. He describes his own life from his own view. His life happened mostly in his native country Scotland. But his videos and events were at the whole world in al lot of different counties.

In my opinion the book is very interesting because you get a lot of information of his life and also how the videos are made. I only saw his videos and was really impressed of them. But now I read the book in which Danny Macaskill describes also the risks and dangers and how difficult the video projects were and how long it was to find the perfect Camera angle and the perfect spot to film. It is sometimes also really funny to read the life experience of Danny’s life. He meets so many funny and also crazy people and was in a lot of difficult tricky situation. I really like the sketches, were Danny show the reader how the locations look like.

For me as a video editor for mountain bike videos and also mountainbike rider this book is very interesting, because I get some inspiration for my own videos.

If you are interested in mountainbiking and want to hear some very interesting stories of a professional mountainbike rider, the book from Danny Macaskill “At the edge” is perfect for you. While you are reading gut get a lot of motivation to take your bike, go outside and pedal it out- and maybe you try some stunts which Danny had explained.

But also if you are interested in filming or video editing the book is perfect for you! You get some detail information of the specific filming of mountainbike videos and also the difficulties for example the rough terrain where the mountainbikers riding. You can see that really good in the making of, of Danny’s movie “The Ridge” which happened in on the rough Scottish mountains which is also really nice and a “must seen” for a mountainbiker.

Danny is for a lot of people who live the mountainbike sport a role model and shows what you can do with your mountainbike and how specular that can be look like. Many people know Danny Macaskill and already seen his amazing stunts. If you read the book from him, you would like it because it is interesting and also sometimes very exciting. The book ends with a quotation of the German newsletter “Welt am Sonntag”: “If Danny rides his bike, the people around can only astonished.”

Profile Image for Jeremy.
5 reviews
July 8, 2023
I enjoyed reading At the Edge. I appreciate and admire Danny's character. For example, the way he deals with adversity is through expanding his own prospects/ambitions. This is essentially the desire to want to do more as he's already taken on that attempt. Throughout the book, fear was vaguely mentioned by MacAskill when risk-taking and exposing oneself to unrelenting challenges was at it's essence (it seemed he was immune from it). However, as I learned in later chapters, he carried those same sentiments we all experience when engaging in the unknown. He explains it as almost a sense of retaliation from ourselves. Regardless of how experienced one may be sometimes, self-doubt will try to find its way in. In MacAskill's case, when fear creeps in, he can often give into it for a period of time. However, he has found a way to understand himself (mind) and push himself into fulfilling that commitment. "I can't live with regret," he says. As MacAskill said himself, if you're not scared it's either because "you're mad" or "you're not trying hard enough".
Profile Image for Popup-ch.
760 reviews15 followers
January 24, 2023
Danny Macaskill was an overnight sensation on YouTube in the early 2010s, when he posted some incredible videos of his bike tricks - jumping off houses and trains, hopping over streets and cycling along railings and tightropes.

In this book he describes his growing up on Skye, a remote Scottish island, with rather limited resources. He was never very studious, and preferred to thrown himself off trees and cliffs, and when he got a bike he did the same things with that. There was a bit of a trick-cycling scene in Scotland, and he became locally known for his balancing tricks. He then moved to Edinburgh and got a job in a bike shop, spending his waking hours on bikes, until a friend of his suggested that they make a film clip. It was uploaded to YouTube and he became famous overnight. The book was written in 2016, when he was at his peak, having done stunts for Red Bull and others.

The writing feels rather personal, and I'm guessing that he must have had a good ghost writer!

Profile Image for Raven.
388 reviews5 followers
August 14, 2019
Written at just the right level for my knowledge/interest in street trials riding, this autobiography has plenty of background in how Danny MacAskill developed an interest in bicycling and was able to turn it into a career. I'd seen several of his videos, and I've been to Skye, but I hadn't realized he was a stunt rider in "Premium Rush", for example, which I had also seen and enjoyed. I particularly appreciated the discussions of how he comes up with the ideas for his videos, and the details about turning a concept into an implementation. As a different kind of athlete, I liked the closer view of all the work that goes into developing and producing each line, and the failures and injuries and struggles along the way. It gives you a more realistic view of a pretty unlikely life. :)
9 reviews
March 19, 2017
Danny MacAskill is one of the most famed and talented mountain bikers in the world and to some is a mad man.However after reading this book you can learn his humble beginnings to becoming a superstar and a legend. Being a rider myself I felt a strong connection with this book because of how similar Danny was to me. Our family, friends, and personality so similar. Though I would only recommend this to people who have a sense of professional mountain biking. The terms and people he refers to where only make sense if you The terms and people he refers to where only make sense if you have background knowledge of the mountain bike history. That said anyone who has knowledge of mountain biking will feel the same connection that I did; therefore enjoying the book. But Danny McCaskill is of course not a professional writer and did make some flaws. Stories got a little wordy and the usual problems. Things like incorrect flow or not having enough description. Besides that the store was excellent and taught me so much more than I would've thought about this amazing rider.
Profile Image for Ietrio.
6,643 reviews25 followers
October 16, 2018
The cover is crap. The title is At the Edge. So there is a silhouette on a mountaintop.

The book has its good parts. In the 15th chapter MacAskill is contemplating the society that deems his stunts as dangerous, yet simple common acts like driving fast on an empty country road while pouring rain can be far more dangerous and reckless. The problem is the text. I found it dull. And I could not relate with the stories. And soon the stories became a pain. So maybe somebody else could retell them sometime.
18 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2020
I (and my kids!) have always been a big fan of Danny MacAskill's videos so it was a lot of fun reading his perspective on how his career has gone and how he got to where he is now, as well as how he feels while working on a project.
Quick and light read, kept me turning pages and finished in 2 sittings...
Profile Image for Wendy Carlyle.
163 reviews
June 13, 2017
Having viewed several of Danny's You Tube films, I looked forward to reading of the 'behind the scenes' stories and of his motivation for doing what he does. I was not disappointed. MacaAskill comes across as a bit of a Brownlee, an ordinary lad who has a talent for extraordinary things.
1 review
April 30, 2018
This is an amazing book must read!! Great about going into detail about the youtube videos explains everything. Danny is so talented and is one of the best trials riders in the world. He really is an amazing rider!
Profile Image for Shaun Owen.
45 reviews
April 14, 2019
A little sparse, padded out with illustrations, and at the end of the book - photos. I am in awe of the stuff Danny Macaskill does on a bike but this book is a little uninspired. He doesn't go deep enough into the technical stuff for me.
Profile Image for Moira McPartlin.
Author 11 books39 followers
May 19, 2020
An easy read around the making of Danny MacAskill's viral videos. I loved reading the description of the planning and filming then watching the finished article on You Tube.
Profile Image for Pradeep Korivi.
1 review1 follower
April 9, 2021
This is an amazing book for anyone who has seen Danny's work and what to know what goes through him. He's a hero of mine for his love towards riding.
Profile Image for Fraser Cook.
171 reviews5 followers
October 14, 2016
A bright and interesting journey through the riding and films of Danny MacAskill. Danny comes across as a throughly likeable fellow. Danny may be 'superhuman' able to do astonishing things on two wheels. He may be a sponsored rider. He may have had literally millions of people watch his films. But he remains somehow 'normal' , humble, just one of us, a guy who enjoys going out and playing on his bike. Also some good insights into the mind of such a driven and expert athlete. His skills not given at birth but earned, the hard way, through hours and hours of practice and crashes.
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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