Page last updated at 06:49 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 07:49 UK

YouTube stunt biker causes a stir

Danny MacAskill
Danny MacAskill showed off his skills in Dumfries town centre as part of the Original Bicycle Festival taking place in the region

By Giancarlo Rinaldi
South of Scotland reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Almost everyone in possession of an email address must have received a message along these lines of late.

Subject: Amazing stunt biker video.

YouTube has helped to turn Danny MacAskill into a worldwide sensation with a film of his skills fast approaching five million page views.

In the days before video-sharing websites, however, there used to be a more simple and direct way of getting your entertainment.

You went to see it for yourself.

Danny MacAskill in action

So, when the stunt cyclist and his team, The Clan, came to Dumfries town centre it was a chance too good to be missed.

I was dragged away from my computer screen and went to watch him in action in the flesh.

Let me tell you, it was pretty impressive.

For those who haven't seen the YouTube footage a short word of explanation is probably required.

The 23-year-old, originally from the Isle of Skye but living in Edinburgh, features in a mini film called Inspired Bicycles.

In it he performs an amazing range of stunts around the capital including a backflip off a tree and a series of leaps off tall buildings.

Now that's OK in a city and with the luxury of a few attempts to get it right for the cameras.

'Astounding leaps'

But how would he get on live from the Midsteeple, Dumfries and Galloway, as part of its Original Bicycle Festival?

The answer was very well.

It can't have been the easiest of set-ups with a small area to work in, a strong breeze blowing and the soundtrack of squawking seagulls.

Nonetheless he pulled off a string of spins, leaps and flips that were astounding.

Danny MacAskill
To spin a bike underneath you and land back on top of it is not something to be sneezed at

It is easy to forget just how tricky the stunts actually are.

These people have a habit of making the very difficult look very easy.

However, as someone who can't even pedal without holding onto his handlebars, I was not so easily fooled.

Here in the region where Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the pedal cycle we know a few things about two-wheeled travel.

And to spin a bike underneath you and land back on top of it is not something to be sneezed at.

What is more, you only really get a feel for the height the cyclist is, when he is flying through the air from being that close up.

The minor problem with the live show, to my mind, was that each trick was over in the blink of an eye.

There were no replays, no pause button and no slow motion.

I think I have got so used to technology that when I have to do without it I feel a little bit cheated.

Still, there is always YouTube.



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