WHEN Danny MacAskill was working in Bothy Bikes in Aviemore, he never imagined where his career would take him.

“Bikes were already my living ... I would ride my trials bike around Aviemore on my break and then be out at night for two or three hours”, he tells The National from a room in San Francisco.

The Californian city served as the location for the street rider’s latest film, over a decade on from his viral sensation and breakout work Inspired Bicycles.

MacAskill travels the world on his bike these days but it all started back on Skye where he grew up. 

He said: “I was quite an active kid. I had a lot of energy and I’d always be climbing in the trees in my garden or clambering over my house with friends.

The National: MacAskill's latest work has taken him to San FranciscoMacAskill's latest work has taken him to San Francisco (Image: Dave Mackison)

“Bikes just became a big part of what we did when we were younger. We just built classic jumps with planks of wood in the garden or used them to get to each other’s houses and go out in the hills.

“I never planned on doing it for a living. I left school when I was 17 and didn’t really have anything I wanted to study but I knew I was keen to work in a bike shop.”

MacAskill explains street trial riding as “getting your bicycle up and over obstacles” with “some spins and tricks thrown into that”.

It’s something he speaks about with remarkable ease, and something he appears to make look simple as anything in his videos.

His breakout hit came in 2009 with Inspired Bicycles which showed him street riding around Scotland’s capital.

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Since then, his career has taken him all across the globe, from Skye to San Francisco. It’s no wonder that, when asked to pick out a standout, he pauses to reflect on all the incredible places he has seen. “There’s been all sorts, I’ve been lucky to travel all over the place in the last 13 years.”

He settles on Epecuén – a town in Argentina which was struck by tragedy. MacAskill explained: “It’s a place about 700 kilometres from Buenos Aires. It was a tourist town that very slowly flooded over the years but then the water receded and it left this ghost town behind.”

Asked about Skye, he said: “Obviously the landscape is amazing but I’m so lucky to grow up there so the community makes it great as well.

“I actually live in Inverness now but Skye is just a cool place to hang out.”

The National: Postcard From San Francisco is available to watch nowPostcard From San Francisco is available to watch now (Image: Dave Mackison)

His latest work – Postcard from San Francisco – showcases the iconic city and is set against the backdrop of infamous landmarks such as The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the streets of Chinatown.

It might be a long way from home, but it’s a film which goes back to MacAskill’s roots, one which he described as “pure street riding”.

“Postcard from San Francisco is a true passion project of mine”, he said. 

“It reflects pure hard riding that no practice prepares you for. Some of these stunts have taken over 300 tries to land perfectly, but I’m stronger than ever and will always thrive to push the boundaries of the sport to create progression.”

The film has been released and is available to view online but it’s a project which almost never happened.

The National: The film almost never got made after MacAskill broke his kneecapThe film almost never got made after MacAskill broke his kneecap (Image: Dave Mackison)

In 2017, just as filming commenced, the rider broke his kneecap. “Until now, I had stayed away from this genre because it’s particularly difficult to just make a film about raw, pure street riding because of the risk of hitting the concrete”, he said.

“It’s so cool to be back here now and I’m really happy with how it all turned out.”

The film premiered on Red Bull Bike YouTube on Tuesday alongside a seven-part behind the scenes series which can be seen on Red Bull TV.