What would it take?

Filed Under (Exploring) by on December 1, 2011 and tagged , ,

The Ripplers are investigating how we can work towards becoming successful learners – and not just for school either. We’re interested in how to be the best learners possible wherever we go and with whatever we do.

So we’d like you to meet Danny MacAskill. He is from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. One day in 2009, he uploaded a video to youtube showcasing his riding skills and by the next day, people around the world knew who Danny MacAskill was.



At one point in time, Danny wouldn’t have even been able to ride a bike. He had to learn how to do that just like many of us have. So how was he able to develop the skills he has now? What did it take for him to get to this level?

To help us answer these questions, please share your ideas in the comments below. We’re also hoping this post might attract the expert advice of our Huzzahnian neighbours, who we happen to know are also on a journey towards becoming successful learners.


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49 Responses to “What would it take?”

  1.   Summer Says:

    Hi Mrs. Braidwood

    This video is really great! It must have took a lot of confidence and practice.

    Good job finding this!

    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      I agree @Summer. Without confidence Danny would have a hard time taking the risks he does. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2.   Max Says:

    Hey Ripplers! It’s Max from Huzzah! OMG this guy is good. It would have taken hours and hours and hours of practice to achieve half of these tricks. It reminds me of freerunning… He would have to be risk-taking definitely and he would have to be extremely industrious. Note the “Skill” part of his last name. He was also enthusiastic in that he likes to do bike tricks. But… he also lacked compassion in the sense that he was doing tricks on monuments and public buildings. Do you agree?

    Bye for now, Max


    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      @Max, at the time of this movie, he had been a street trials rider for 12 years. He started to learn tricks when he was 11.

      He has found a way to be successful with what he loves to do. The more I learn about him, the more I’m inclined to believe that he is compassionate. The trouble is that he is faced with the obstacle of finding ways to continuously challenge himself in a sport that is typically carried out in urban areas, like the ones he rides through in the film.

      •   Max Says:

        Mrs. Braidwood. I think he could of been more compassionate by maybe asking permission to use benches and telephone booths and other public buildings first.

        Bye for now, Max

  3.   Colt Says:

    In order for Danny to learn his tricks, he would have had to be very industrious! Taking the time to learn how to ride like that, but our teacher did note that doing tricks out on public and private building lacked a certain compassion! What if he broke something!

    Either way, Danny MacaSKILL is certainly Skilled.


    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      @Colt, I think it would really bother Danny if he broke something. In the video, you can see how precise he is about where he lands on a surface and how determined he is to only let the tire touch it. If others parts of the bike

  4.   Colton Says:

    Hi Mrs Braidwood,
    I think the most seen traits are industriousness and risk taking because he had to practice a lot to get to that level and he is taking a huge risk by trying all of those stunts. The one trait I think he should work on is being compassionate because he was jumping all over monuments. Great video, though. Thanks. Colton

  5.   Jack Says:

    Hello Mrs. Braidwood,
    I am from Huzzahnia and I think this video has a lot of traits like confident and risk taking., except compassion, because he is using monuments and ancient historical houses. I think he would have practised a lot. He would have started practising early in his life slowly be coming good at it.
    Hope I helped.


  6.   Kenzie Says:

    wow I could never do that he is a relly big risk taker for doing that right in front of a palice stathion

  7.   Griffin Says:

    Hello Ms. Braidwood and class,
    I think that Danny has lots of successful learner traits that make him a very successful person. I think he lacks compassion in some areas, because of riding over public utilities and national monuments.
    It took him lots of practice and confidence in himself to get there.
    Bye for now.
    My Blog

  8.   Kyle Says:

    Hello Mrs.Braidwood,
    I think it would take Danny most of his life practising to master biking like that.I think he is one of the biggest risk-taker I’ve ever seen. I wish I could do that. Maybe if I practice I will one day be like him. Why did you guys pick Danny to be in your post?
    If you would like to come to my blogs it’s here.
    Bye Bye

    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:


      I picked Danny MacAskill because I thought he possessed so many leaner traits that we could really see put into action. He was also fascinating to watch! Do you ride a bmx bike or mountain bike? Danny began trick riding when he was 11, but he just started off with small tricks, not the big risks you see him take now. And then you’re right …. he practiced, practiced and practiced some more.

  9.   Jackson Says:

    Hi Ripplers,
    I think that Danny MacAskill is extremely risk-taking because some of the stuff he was doing could of easily gone wrong and he could have been hurt really bad.
    Thanks for sharing this video with us,
    Jackson :P
    From Huzzahnia

  10.   Reece Says:

    Hello Mrs. Braidwood,
    I think it took a lot of practice and effort to get to that level.He was really risk taking when he did the tricks. I also think he has to be really confident to do it.

  11.   Bekkam Says:

    Hello Mrs.Braidwood
    That was a awesome Video!! because he did all these front flips and doing three sixty’s. But his succsesful learner traits were that he was a thinker because he thought about what he was going to do before he was going to do his trick. And I thought that he was a risk-taker because all the things that he was doing he could have got hurt.

    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      Hi @Bekkam,

      He was definitely a thinker! Along with thinking, I think he was also creative and strategic in how he planned out all the unique ways of traveling over objects. In my class we talked about the level of risk he was taking. If you watched closely, you can see how Danny’s bike is really like an extension of his own body. He understands it so well and has such amazing control over it. With all of his practice and this control, he takes risks that challenge him, but he also believes his goals are achieveable because of his experience and expertise. My class determined that if any of us decided to try the same level tricks as he does … now, that would be foolish. The risks we choose to take need to be tailor made for us individually to match our background and skill level.

  12.   Caitlyn Says:

    Hi Mrs.Braidwood,
    That was really amazing what he did on that bike. It would take years of practice for him too achieve the goal do do those tricks of a bike. He probably failed many times and he would mostly get injured all the times he tried but he finally did it. He would have to be confident keep trying over and over again.

  13.   Sophie Says:

    Hi Mrs.Braidwood!
    I am a Huzzahnian and we are also learning our successful learner traits.
    I think that Danny had almost all of the successful learner traits like risk-taking and confidence because it takes a lot of risk to try to pull off stunts like that and you have to be confident in order to succeed. Danny lacked compassion because he didn’t think about all of the damage that he might be doing to the buildings and things that are property of the city.


  14.   Chelsey Says:

    It would take a lot of practise and he had to take a lot of risks too. He had to be super confident!

  15.   Mara Says:

    Hello Mrs.Braidwood,
    Thank you for sharing this video. Danny is very industrious for practising all this time to become this good. He is also strategic and a thinker because he had to plan all those stunts.
    There is one problem with this video, though: Danny “drives” over all these old buildings and monuments in that community. I think it shows a little lack of respect.
    What do you think?
    Great post!

    •   Kaylee Says:

      @ Mara
      I agree he would have to be very strategic. He would also have to be a good thinker because he has to think of how he is going to ride over things.

      I understand what you are saying, that he is riding over old buildings that belong to the community ,but in order for him to get that good he would have to ride somewhere other then a skate park and he isn’t damaging any of the buildings anyways.

  16.   Dylan Says:

    Hi I’m Dylan

    I like the video I think it is very productive.

    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:


      Which 2 learner traits do you think Danny MacAskill would need most in order to ride like this? I’m curious to know what you think.

  17.   Tristan Says:

    Hi Mrs Braidwood

    I think Danny Macaskill had all of the triats in the video. He demonstrated industriousness because he had to practice to get that good. It must have been hard for him to do that and he probably broke a few bones before they filmed that.

    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      Actually, @Tristan, when this was filmed, he had just come back from breaking his collar bone for the third time. While he was healing, he used this time to scout out the locations that he wanted to use in the film – places where he thought he’d be able to do amazing tricks.

      If you click on the other video link in the post above you’ll also see his first video and it shows how he isn’t always succesful all the time.

      What other traits do you think he exemplified?

  18.   Nicholas Says:

    Hi Ripple Effect

    It would take 4 to 6 years and a lot of risk taking to do those tricks. From Nicholas


    •   Mrs. Braidwood Says:

      You’re right @Nicholas, to be this good at street trials riding he had to be a great risk taker. He’s actually been learning how to do this for about 14 years now. He also plans on continuing with it for a lot longer. I wonder what he’ll be able to do in another 2 or 3 years if he continues to practice.

  19.   Tommy Says:

    I loved that video was amazing. He must have practiced for years before he could do that but I think he should have done his tricks somewhere else besides monuments and ancient structures.


  20.   Mrs. Braidwood Says:


    Thanks for leaving such great insight into what you know about successful learner traits and how they might apply to Danny MacAskill – I also like how a few of you pointed out that SKILL was actually part of his last name – that was a great detail to notice.

    A number of you mentioned that you thought he lacked compassion because of where he was riding. That thought popped up in our class as well since we’ve learned from our own experiences that historic monuments and other people’s property should be treated with care. It’s easy to assume that Danny MacAskill isn’t demonstrating compassion because of where he rides. But is this really the case? It’s a great question to ask and one worth investigating.

    In an interview with Red Bull in 2010, he shared some of his thoughts on how he feels about where he rides: “I don’t feel like I have a right to be doing this, so I try to make sure that I give way to everyone and wait until I’m not getting in anyone’s way doing it really.”

    If you look carefully at the level of control he has when he moves from structure to structure, you can notice the precision with which he lands and how soft his landings are. He makes sure that he doesn’t touch his bike pedals on any of the structure. The only part of the bike that makes contact is his tires.

    From our perspective, too, riding so confidently past a police station would seem pretty daring, but what we didn’t know when we first watched it was that he rides in front of the police a lot in Edinburgh. Because he always rides alone and he doesn’t do grinds (a bmx trick where a bike slides along a surface like a rail or ledge using a part other than its wheels), they understand that he isn’t damaging the surfaces. They often come and talk to him and if they ever give him an inkling that he needs to move on (which might be just popping their head out the door), he respects that and moves on. He has the same relationship with many security guards in the area and they know they can trust him to be mindful of that.

    More than anything, Danny MacAskill just wants to ride and inspire others to ride. He takes his responsibility as a role model very seriously. As a one-of-a-kind exceptional trials rider (he challenges the notion of traditional bmx trials riding by using a mountain bike), he is constantly tasked with solving the problem of finding new and increasingly complex structures to challenge himself with. Some will still disagree with where he chooses to ride, but my feeling is that he does ride with compassion for his surroundings, people and structures included and he keeps this in mind while he tries to balance his need for increased challenges to test his skill.

    We’ve also watched more video footage of him riding, and we’ve seen the care he takes in making sure anything he alters to get set up for a trick is put back in the same location and condition that he found it when he’s ready to leave the area.

    Knowing a little more about Danny MacAskill now, do you still feel as strongly that he lacks compassion? Or how do you think he might be able to be more compassionate while still challenging himself to improve and maintain his high level of success?

    •   Colton Says:

      Hi Mrs Braidwood,
      I kinda understand now how that he has compassion, but I still don’t think it was right for him to ride over the grave. I mean if I was dead I wouldn’t want people riding over my grave. Bye.

    •   Sophie Says:

      Hi Mrs.Braidwood!
      I think that he lacked compassion if he didn’t ask permission to ride where he did but if he did then it would be a differnt story.~Sophie

  21.   Dakota Says:

    Hi Mr’s Braidwood.
    I think in this video Danny shows many productive learning traits and even some we can’t see. As an example he must be very enthusiastic to keep up with all his work and also a very obvious trait to see would be risk-taking. Danny has got to be a very good role model for everyone. What is the main learner traits you see in this video Mr’s Braidwood. And why?

  22.   Pamela Says:

    Hey Mrs. Braidwood,
    I was amazed with what he could do on a BIKE I never thought that a person could do that. Danny Macaskill is Industrious because he knew what he had to do and he got it done. He was also strategic because he has a plan to do it safely and is careful. Danny is also creative because he learns new ways to ride and does it on different kind of structures. (Pamela)

  23.   Matt Says:

    I wonder how long it would take to gain that much skill. He used all of the learner traits except for compassion (although he did as much as he could,)It still looked like he lacked compassion, except for a couple instances, but still an incredible learner. This really inspires me to be a better learner because if I try to learn as much as he did, I could be at his level of skill for anything.

  24.   Alex Says:


    I found this video quite awesome and yet it also making me think about learner traits. Now I actually think about them all the time like how could I be industrious when doing my work or could I be enthusiastic about this event we’re doing. So in short form this video is incredible and it is also making me think about the things we’re doing in a better way.

  25.   Josh Says:

    Hi, my name is Josh. I really like his biking skills and how good he is. That looks very risky doing those tricks so high up on clifs and on bars. I probaly won’t want to do that because it’s really dangerous. I enjoy watching this video.

  26.   colton Says:

    This video is so inspiring Mrs.Braidwood if you didn’t show this video I would have never seen it. He is amazing I think that with enough practice any one can do anything.

  27.   Kylie Says:

    Hi Mrs. Braidwood,

    This is Kylie. Danny MacAskill got to this level with a lot of practice and being confident. He is making all these jumps and flips. Thinking all the time because hes got to know where and how to land. Enthusiastic because its got to be scary not knowing whats going to happen. Risk taking because this isn’t your usual skate park and jumps you would do. Danny was being compassionate because he was aware other people around him. He must be really talented and brave if Red Bull is sponsoring him!

  28.   savannam1 Says:

    Hello Mrs. Briadwood

    I think that Danny MacAskill got to this level by lots of practice and being a risk taker. Some of the jumps must have been at least 20, 30, or 40 feet high. Also Compassionate because every time he fails he gets right back up and does not let his failures stop him. Enthusiastic because he loves riding his bike. Thinking Because he has to know if it will be safe to do jumps off buildings and compassionate because his is aware of the people around him.

  29.   Celina Says:

    Hi Mrs.Braidwood,
    I think he was risk-taking because he could get hurt really badly. I also think he is creative because of the locations he picks.

  30.   Dharma Says:

    Hi Mrs. Braidwood

    Wow Danny MacAskill is so cool he must have so much pratice. I showed my parents and my brother and they thought it was amazing and my dad does a lot of biking and he does some tricks but not as good as him and thats what he told me. I also loved it too like wow he’s great and I mean great.

  31.   Emma Says:


    I think Danny McAskill has been practicing since he was a kid or he is just really good at riding his bike. Do you think he was was practicing since he was a kid?

  32.   kallan Says:

    Mrs.Braiawood thanks for this amazing experience. If you wouldn’t of shown us this video we wouldn’t have known about Danny MacAskill.

  33.   Noah S Says:

    He can do his tricks very well. I wonder if he ever falls down. He must have lots of practice. We don’t have anybody like that is the US.

  34.   Ethan Says:

    oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35.   Ryan Says:

    Hello Mrs. Braidwood & Ripplers!

    This man is crazy! I’ve seen a few of his videos, and they are truly un-believable. I can hardely gather the strength to do a three-foot jump, let alone do a front flip off a building. He has a ton of courage! You have to be extremely tough to do something like that. You also have to believe in your self. Danny had a goal, and did he ever achieve it!

  36.   elizabeth Says:

    my name is Elizabeth and I live in the U.S and I would like to know if Danny was born in Canada where you and your class room live. Did you have in touch to him and got to talk to him or maybe interview. I would like to know how Canada’s like.
    You can contact me in in