We’re so used to seeing Danny MacAskill do amazing things on his bike that we sometimes, ever so often, forget just what an unbelievably good rider is. Like all the best athletes on the planet, he regularly makes the extraordinary look incredibly easy. There is, of course, a reason Danny can do this stuff on a bike that you can’t and that reason is, I’m afraid to say, talent; buckets of the stuff.
What Danny does in his new video ‘The Slabs’ though isn’t just about talent, although it certainly helps, it’s about having balls the size of moons as well. It’s about having the courage to do what, to the eyes of mere bike-riding mortals like ourselves, looks borderline suicidal.
Filmed on the Isle of Skye, this seriously extreme challenge sees our Danny ride down the legendary Dubh Slabs on the edge of the Cuillins. It’s known as one of the most remote of Scotland’s classic moderate climbing routes, serving up some of the finest friction slabs known to man. It’s less known as a mountain biking route… until now, that is.
The video, a We are Peny Media production directed by Robbie Meade and Danny, shows our intrepid bike riding supremo scramble to just below the summit of Sgurr Dubh Beag / Little Black Peak (733m). He takes on this technical section of the Dubh Ridge unroped, with his bike strapped to his back.
From there, the challenge begins in full. Set against an epic backdrop of unrivalled wilderness, Danny navigates his way down the ludicrously steep (especially on a bike) 900 metre route. The black ‘boiler-plated’ Gabbro slabs look particularly scary, and that’s before we’ve even told you about the exposed steps and drop offs, buttresses and grassy clefts, that separate him from the tranquil shores of Loch Coruisk down at sea level.
Afterwards, Danny had this to say about it all: “I was pretty nervous tackling a lot of the obstacles on the route. The most challenging part was definitely the final 200 metre slab vertical section, which on the first day was just not possible to ride. It was very exposed and had a very difficult run out.
“This made the grip, braking and balance very difficult. You literally feel gravity just pulling you down the rock and when the only thing stopping you is your brakes you really feel how steep it is. Luckily it all worked out and I managed to get off the slab onto the grass reasonably controlled.
“As much as I enjoyed riding the Dubh Slabs, the most memorable emotion was the relief and satisfaction heading back over the loch on the boat after finishing the filming! I really hope everyone enjoys this video and we hope it inspires some fun bike adventures when we are allowed to properly explore Scotland again.”