WHEEL I never. World- famous stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill is set to take part in an event which will see the Grassmarket transformed into a gruelling bike track.
The 27-year-old athlete – who became a household name after a video of him performing mountain bike tricks across the Capital went viral – has confirmed he will attend a race night being billed as the “ultimate battle of the bikes”.
The Red Bull Hill Chasers event will see 500 amateur bike enthusiasts battle through a series of tough multi-discipline heats to line up against him and a number of other cycling professionals.
He told the Evening News he can’t wait to participate in the event.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part, especially as it’s taking place in my home town,” he said.
“It’s going to be pretty spectacular racing up the cobbles of the Grassmarket and there’s no other race that gives you the chance to prove your discipline is the fastest.
“For anyone that takes part, it’s going to be a challenge but a lot of fun.”
The unique event will see the Grassmarket and Victoria Street transformed into a gruelling 170-metre uphill race track.
It is the first time it has come to Scotland said a source, who added that organisers are delighted Danny has agreed to take part in the homecoming event. The insider said: “He’s literally just signed on the dotted line and is so excited at the prospect of taking part in front of a home crowd. It’ll be a very special occasion for him.”
Amateur racers will take part in timed hill sprints to qualify for the main event.
The fastest 30 riders will go up against the UK’s most elite cycling legends in a bid to be crowned Red Bull Hill Chasers 2013 “King of the Hill”.
Other famous cyclists taking part include world-renowned riders Michal Prokop and Jack Pullar. Edinburgh-based cycling pros Scott McMorris, Dave Henderson and Gareth Montgomerie will also be joining Danny MacAskill in the gruelling event.
Prokop, a three-time world champion, said: “I’m really looking forward to visiting Edinburgh for the first time. The race atmosphere is going to be amazing.”
MacAskill was a bike mechanic who shot to fame in 2009 thanks to a five-minute clip shot during his lunch breaks.
More than 29 million people have since watched his famed video. He is now one of the world’s top stunt riders with a soaring bank balance and a string of lucrative endorsements.
He rides for Inspired Bicycles and has appeared in promotional material for Volkswagen and Leica cameras.
Edinburgh City Council’s festival and events champion Councillor Steve Cardownie expects thousands of people will turn out to see MacAskill compete.
Describing it as “a great opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to not only test their skills, but to race against top bike athletes from across the UK”, he said: “We’re delighted to welcome the event to Scotland for the very first time. There’s a huge cycling community here and I can think of no better back-drop for this exhilarating challenge than Edinburgh’s dramatic Old Town.”
Danny MacAskill - Smooth operator
SINCE releasing his own video, Danny MacAskill has appeared in a number of slick, professional stunt videos.
Three years ago, his Way Back Home video featured him doing jaw-dropping stunts against a backdrop of locations including Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Bridge. Another video, Industrial Revolutions, saw him doing tricks in an abandoned Scottish iron works. It was created for Channel 4 documentary, Concrete Circus.
His trademark jumps and wheelies took him 12 years to master.
He has also launched a signature bike frame under his name.
• To register for a place in the March 30 event, visit www.redbull.co.uk/hillchasers by midnight on March 22.