Admit it — you’ve seen a video of someone risking their life and couldn’t look away. It’s a perfectly human response. Everyone loves daredevils like bullfighters, deep-sea divers, and sportsmen. They take risks so we don’t have to.
When Scottish cyclist, Danny MacAskill, found himself in a life-threatening situation, people were transfixed. He knew what he was getting into, after all. Viewers sat back and enjoyed the danger of his reckless decisions. His lack of caution was mesmerizing — and he wondered if he’d finally made a fatal mistake.
Before Danny MacAskill was a risk-taking cyclist, he was, as the Scots say, just a wee laddie with a sense of adventure. Fascinated by all things movement, he trained as a mechanic in his teenage years. While working on automobiles, Danny fantasized about one place in particular.
When you hear “Scotland’s Isle of Skye,” what do you picture? If it’s jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring beauty, you’re on the nose. This scenic fairyland is a 640-square mile landmass located off the coast of West Scotland.
If it’s not on your bucket list, it will be now. Just look at the views! Tourists love the island. In fact, there’ve been coming in record-breaking numbers for the last few years. Most of them are visiting to climb the island’s biggest attraction, the Black Cuillin mountains.
However, most visitors avoid the mountain’s deadly summit with its deadly knife-edge ridges. Enter: Danny MacAskill.
That is, except for the mountain range. It had loomed over him his entire life. Eventually, Danny stumbled on a talent that beautifully merged all his interests. As a mechanic, Danny was interested in all types of vehicles. He grew especially fond of mountain bikes.
Their low-gravity allowed him to easily perform impressive tricks. After work, Danny would ride around town, perfecting his stunts to the delight of his neighbors. This gave him an idea. In 2009, Danny posted a video of himself doing tricks in the streets of Scotland.
YouTube ate it up. His video got thousands of views, leading to a feeling that Danny would become addicted to. He was now entering the exciting world of street trials. Street trials are a combination of different cycling sports, like BMX and mountain biking.
It’s a creative, free-form technique that requires artistry. Danny fell in love with the non-competitive style, where every move is meant to inspire awe. He was hooked, and so were his viewers. After enormous success online, Danny quit his mechanic job.
He spent all his time perfecting his style. Before he knew it, Danny had a fanbase! His new career landed him in Argentina, Taiwan, and other far reaches of the world. The Isle of Skye, however, had something these other places never could obtain.
Danny decided he wanted to face the Black Cuillin Mountains that had taunted him his entire life. He wasn’t a child anymore. In fact, he was becoming a star. As proof, he would take on one of the most challenging routes in the UK.
This meant he’d have to face two treacherous ridges. The first of the two was Red Cuillin Ridge. Red Cuillin is lower, with jagged, loosely-packed earth that even experienced hikers struggle to cross. Not many dare to take it on, especially not on a mountain bike.
The second ridge looked even more menacing. Passing into the Black Cuillin Ridge means trouble. Located at the center of the island, this ridge comes up to a whopping 3,250 feet. To enter, you must survive Red Cuillin Ridge.
After that, you’re looking at a treacherous peak with practically no footing. Danny accepted the challenge confidently.
They found big sponsors to support the project, landing them enough money for top-tier recording equipment. They were set for fame — if Danny could make it. To reach the first ridge, Danny rented a boat. As he rowed along with just his bike and his backpack in tow, a sound whizzed above.
Stu Thompson was using a drone to record Danny’s journey from the sky. The camera captured sweeping scenes of the mountain as Danny neared the first checkpoint. The beginning of Danny’s journey was glorious. Red Cuillin Ridge was drenched in sunshine, giving the drone plenty of majestic lighting.
Danny knew this journey would result in the most incredible footage he’d ever made. Other than the fame, Danny had a specific goal in mind. Danny was here to “bag a Munro.” The “Monros” are a collection of Scottish mountain peaks that reach above 3,000 feet.
They were named by the 19th century mountaineer, Sir Hugh Monro. If there was a Monro in the mountains of his island, Danny was going to scale it. As Danny approached the Monro, known locally as the “Inaccessible Pinnacle,” he realized he’d need to change his plans.
Instead of using a rope to hoist himself up, he picked up his bike and scrambled up the side of the peak! If you’re afraid of heights, look away now.
He mounted his bike and watched the fog collect on the hills below. Suddenly, Danny was unable to see the summit’s path! To stay alive, he’d need perfect concentration.
He kept his eyes fixed on the ground ahead. As he rode, Danny felt a click in his gears. The bike was malfunctioning!
He managed to correct his balance, avoiding a slip down the steep hillside. After adjusting the bike, Danny breezed down the remainder of the heart-stopping hillside. He then ended in style…
His video, titled “The Ridge,” has seen over 55 million views! Danny now leads a wildly successful career in street trial filmmaking. From the rooftops of Spain to the Monros of Scotland, Danny keeps hitting new, harrowing heights for his loving audience.
Though he may not be the craziest daredevil out there…
Set on the idea, he started a fundraising campaign so he’d have enough money for everything required to make an actual working rocket. However, his first campaign run only garnered a little over $300.
Especially from celebrities who wanted to take part in this crazy goal.
A successful trip would, in his eyes, lend credibility to something he passionately believed in. Finally, launch day arrived.
The countdown began.
However, the ship only reaches 350 miles per hour, and the parachute deployed at an altitude of 1,875 feet.
They carefully helped him out, making sure his fragile body wasn’t battered and bruised.
Sure, he never made it the full distance, but he certainly made his mark on the world of stunts.
The two also joked about his daring ambition to one day try again.
So, he bought beakers, bunsen burners, test tubes, and a plethora of other professional lab equipment. He was determined to teach himself the ins and outs of chemical reactions regardless of the potential hazards.
He actually blew a hole in his tent while camping one night using a personal stockpile of magnesium. David’s experiments were getting dangerous, but nothing prepared his family and his town for what would eventually occur…
To them, the small explosions and chemical spills were simply the results of a curious mind. However, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Now he had the space to cause some serious problems…
Now, this might sound completely insane (and it was) but to David, it was completely doable. All he needed was a way to obtain the radioactive materials to start his new project.
Unbelievably, no one ever asked about his credentials and David was able to learn exactly how to obtain and isolate radioactive isotopes. With that information, he could begin building his reactor.
He even spent $1,000 on lithium batteries to obtain that particular chemical, as well. He was quickly gathering everything he needed for his reactor. But, would it actually end up working?
Unbeknownst to everyone in his neighborhood, including his parents, there was a highly dangerous nuclear reactor sitting in his backyard shed. However, it wouldn’t be too long until the entire community knew about it…
Using a Geiger counter, David was soon able to detect high levels of radiation five houses away from his shed. Luckily, he recognized his experiment was completely out of control and decided to shut the whole thing down. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be that easy.
When the police arrived, however, it wasn’t tires they found, but something much more terrifying.
However, the team measured 1,000 times the amount of radiation that was considered safe! This triggered the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan. Then… all hell broke loose!
Eventually, when workers did examine its contents, they were stunned at what they found…
There was also dangerous exposure to the nearby human population, animals, and the food chain. Needless to say, the people who lived in David’s community were not only outraged, they were now worried about their own health.
David struggled in life as time went on. He joined the army where he served for several years but battled drug and alcohol addiction.
Even though “Mad” Mike Hughes wasn’t able to get definitive proof the Earth was flat, he still holds that belief firm.