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Bike Parkour
April 20, 2009 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Bike Parkour. Exactly what it says on the tin.
posted by By The Grace of God (91 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
For those of you who are bound to ask what the soundtrack is, it's "The Funeral" by Band of Horses.
posted by aheckler at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2009


Since trials predates parkour, maybe it would be better to call parkour 'foot trials,' or perhaps 'extreme walking' or something.
posted by box at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


Is there some kind of unemployment crisis in Edinburgh? Just wondering.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2009


For those of you who are bound to ask what the soundtrack is, it's "The Funeral " by Band of Horses.

For some reason, most likely a telling psychological one, I inserted the word "fuckers" into this comment as I read it for the first time, as in "For those of you fuckers who are bound to ask what the soundtrack is, it's "The Funeral " by Band of Horses."

Problems, I might have them.
posted by milarepa at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought it was beautiful. Like ballet. I'd have to be fourteen to try to do it, but not to appreciate it.
posted by padraigin at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was pretty incredible, especially the part where he wedged the bike between the wall and the bike rack. Thanks for posting.
posted by friendlyjuan at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2009


Could definitely use some better editing and a better soundtrack choice. Still: Pretty damn impressive.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:54 PM on April 20, 2009


For some reason, most likely a telling psychological one, I inserted the word "fuckers" into this comment

I think it's because my usernmame has the suggestive "ck" in it, so that you unconsciously read "heckler" as "fucker" without realizing what you did.

You probably still have problems though.
posted by aheckler at 1:56 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Put. The fisheye. Down.

I hate because I love. Or something
posted by Skorgu at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2009


I'd have to be fourteen to drop off a two story building onto a sidewalk on my bicycle... but god damn that's some cool stuff. Trials riding is always impressive and I love the creative "urban riding".
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2009


Between this post, Riding the Wall of Death, competitive pole dancing, and a society of "natural" ultra-marathoners, I feel exceedingly stationary and boring. All the same, thanks! But ditto the editing gripe - why do stunt videographers love the fish eye lens so very much?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:01 PM on April 20, 2009


Among the many things I can't believe he did, I can't believe how effortlessly he tail-whipped that big bike.
posted by Mister_A at 2:01 PM on April 20, 2009


That brought me out of my jaded, seen-it-all blasé attitude and had many jaw-drops where there would usually be a silent meh. "Sick" is a good word.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2009


Wow I really liked this. Thanks! The drops at the end made me gasp a bit. I'd be one of those people peering off the ledge wondering did I really just see that guy ride his bike off there.
posted by dog food sugar at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2009


The music was too emo, needs more Andrew WK.

That said, pretty damn impressive.
posted by fire&wings at 2:04 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stunningly good trials riding. Finally someone to give Ryan Leech a run for his money.
posted by unSane at 2:06 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


> I'd have to be fourteen to drop off a two story building onto a sidewalk on my bicycle...

...without breaking every bone in my body ...

> ... but god damn that's some cool stuff. Trials riding is always impressive and I love the creative "urban riding".

Heh. I kid. Even at fourteen I'd probably faceplant from fifteen meters up and break every bone in my body anyway. This guy's an artist.
posted by ardgedee at 2:07 PM on April 20, 2009


So impressive, the back flip especially. Thing is, he makes it look too easy!
posted by Ramo at 2:09 PM on April 20, 2009


Yeah, I'm sure there must be a newer word that describes that, because all the ones I find myself reaching for (Ill? Sick? Bent? Uh, fly?) are too elderly to be quite right.

Really cool.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:10 PM on April 20, 2009


Holy wow, that was amazing.
posted by ZakDaddy at 2:10 PM on April 20, 2009


snarking aside, that was pretty fucking impressive. i'm scared to think how many bumps & bruises & broken bones & bikes it would've taken to achieve that.

also, the soundtrack was perfect, but maybe that's because it happens to be my favourite Band of Horses song.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:11 PM on April 20, 2009


Dude was impressive. Loved the music.
That was one sturdy bike, too. Dude really thrashed it.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:12 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't remember the last video I saw that elicited this level of nervous stunned laughter for someone's safety as they performed. Absolutely amazing.
posted by CheshireCat at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2009


Awesome. Simply awesome. I wasted my youth on 1080.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:14 PM on April 20, 2009


Oh man. I'm so glad I didn't see this video when I was eight. I would have killed myself trying to emulate some of those stunts.
posted by bitmage at 2:17 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


[comments removed - early thread shitting considered harmful and possibly the work of teenagers.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:18 PM on April 20, 2009


Thanks for the cleanup, jessamyn. This was a great post and didn't need that stuff.

Great post, incredible riding, great music. Three thumbs up!
posted by Roach at 2:20 PM on April 20, 2009


Yeah, I saw this earlier today and was just knocked right the fuck out by it. Really stunning stuff.

This guy bikes better than I walk.
posted by cortex at 2:21 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Excellent rider but he should get the people who made this video to shoot his next one. Camera work to match his riding skill level.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Filmed over the period of a few months in and around Edinburgh...

Cool stuff Grace. Nice find. I suspect the schadenfreude money shots are the ones we don't see though. More than a few bruises were collected to produce that finished video no doubt.
posted by netbros at 2:23 PM on April 20, 2009


I have to disagree with the critiques about the "editing" (is that the same thing as the "direction" in this context?) I thought the shots were all appropriately dramatic, with some interesting follow-thru after the tricks were pulled off. If I had to guess why fish-eye is so popular, I would say that it speeds up the action and makes the rider look like he or she is moving faster than they actually are.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2009


Here ya go, netbros.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2009


Excellent rider but he should get the people who made this video to shoot his next one.

Ok I just watched that video and I understand how the camerawork and editing are more sophisticated (is it also film?), but I don't think that approach lends itself to showing off the tricks. I found the original post to be much more interesting and engaging, because there wasn't a layer of production values gloss coating the entire thing. The fancy video just tries too hard, and I just want to see the tricks. If you spend too much time thinking about the shots themselves, it feels like missing the point. Or maybe just going in another direction entirely?
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2009


This is what us California kids used to do in the 1970s before skateboards got all cool.

By "this" I mean bunnyhops and that tail-flick move into garbage cans.
posted by mrt at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2009


Eventually, the rubber bones of youth are replaced with the calcified breakable bones of adulthood. Then all you get to do is marvel at the freedom of youth and know that sometime soon those kids have a shitload of real pain coming their way and there is no way you can tell them that they will hear.
posted by srboisvert at 2:37 PM on April 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Great stuff. A really talented guy and I'm surprised I haven't seen him yet. Great video too.

But as for the whole "parkour" comment... I don't know, my friends and I have been pretty much calling this "freestyle bmx" since we were about 8. As has the rest of the world. Apologies for the snark.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:38 PM on April 20, 2009


Absolutely amazing.

Thanks for posting.
posted by defenestration at 2:38 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


eponysterical?

how many hospital visits were made in the course of the making of this video?
posted by geos at 2:53 PM on April 20, 2009


I have an observation; if you are capable of effortlessly leaping your full sized bike on top of a wall and then balancing it as you ride on top of a iron fence, 1.) you have astonishing balance 2.) you are more athletic than I ever have been or will be, and 3.) because of 1 and 2, I am filled with envy and sort of hate you.

Still, very cool stuff.
posted by quin at 2:54 PM on April 20, 2009


...I am filled with envy and sort of hate you.

Don't worry, you can always trump him by having kids; I hope he is wearing a cup during some of those stunts. Very cool, though. You can also do the same things with a motorcycle.
posted by TedW at 3:08 PM on April 20, 2009


... soon those kids have a shitload of real pain coming their way and there is no way you can tell them that they will hear.

I don't think I want to tell them. If nothing else, for the vicarious living I can do in these few minutes, and for the fact they look like they're having a LOT of fun. You can be old and broken for the rest of your life, but freedom from the fear of consequences (or the amazing belief in your own abilities, or whatever it is that propels these people ahead) only lasts so long, though it looks like Danny MacAskill is past his teens.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow.

What's great about parkour, though, is the idea of one continuous line. Learn the skills, apply them anywhere. Freerunning. It seems almost useful--worth learning.

This, on the other hand, is all bit-by-bit, one trick at a time, work it out just to capture it on video. Most of the tricks just seem like showy hotdogging without much practical use. The bit where he gets his buddy to hoist the bike onto that awning? Probably could've cut that.

Now, if the tricks were all strung together in one long take, or even edited together to look like they were real-time, then I'd be blown away. As-is, though, I'm merely very impressed.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on April 20, 2009


Speaking as someone in their forties with the balance of a palsied penguin, that was mind-blowingly fun to watch. Thanks.
posted by docpops at 3:19 PM on April 20, 2009


as some folks mentioned Ryan Leech, here's an excerpt of him riding in Prague from The Collective's video for Seasons
posted by bl1nk at 3:46 PM on April 20, 2009


I started at "meh" but ended with a mindgasm, so thanks.
posted by maxwelton at 3:48 PM on April 20, 2009


Yeah, this is incredible. If I could do those things, I would do them all day, every day, until I broke my face. Granted, that might not be long.
posted by musicinmybrain at 3:53 PM on April 20, 2009


The fact that it's edited and not one long, continuous ride is probably my only issue with it and being associated with parkour. It's pretty awesome riding though, and despite it being a bunch of tricks shown together, I liked the little touches where the rider is shown putting stuff back or slightly tweaking the environment.

It looks to me like his bike has a regular freewheel so why is it that he sometimes backpedals? It looks more purposeful than for balancing purposes.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:05 PM on April 20, 2009


They way they showed him during the first minute - attempting the stunt and failing - made me cringe (seriously) at about 1:10 in, because I was expecting the ultimate FAIL, and you know that would hurt in the worst way.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:07 PM on April 20, 2009


When i was a kid this kind of thing was called "BMXing" I'm not really sure if "Bike Parkour" is really a good term.
posted by delmoi at 4:08 PM on April 20, 2009


BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. That ain't BMX. It's not even a BMX bike.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2009


The backpedaling is, most often, intended to get one's feet in the right position for the next move. Here's some more information about techniques.
posted by box at 4:21 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I skated for about a decade (until my body couldn't keep up with my desire for too-technical-for-me highspeed fliptricks and my bones/fingers/knees started twisting and breaking like they shan't). We used to hate BMX dirtbags with their halfpipe-destroying metal toys and bullshit flatland fappery.

These guys however: total dolls. That opening bigass ollie (is that what bikers call it too?) up the wall in the beginning was sweet. The tree McTwists...DUDE DID FUCKING TREE MCTWISTS HE IS GOD...was pretty cool too.

Only tiny gripe: the bigger air tricks were all straight 180s and 360s. Mighty fine tricks, but it'd've been cool to see those guys mix in some tailwhips, tweaks, etc.
posted by Glee at 4:22 PM on April 20, 2009


Wild. Even more so as it's my hometown and I recognize all the places he's doing those tricks. Great post BtGoG.
posted by stumcg at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2009


It looks to me like his bike has a regular freewheel so why is it that he sometimes backpedals?

Remember that a freewheel only freewheels if the bike goes forwards. If the bike is traveling backwards, the pedals must go backwards.
posted by zsazsa at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2009


Speaking as someone with a lot of parkour experience (I've been playing Mirror's Edge lately) I know how much practice goes into this kind of thing. I am simultaneously impressed by how cool he looks and how many injuries he suffered in the making of the video. That fence at the beginning? *shudder*
posted by graventy at 5:42 PM on April 20, 2009


Oh man I love this stuff. It's art and sport and dance and urbanism and anti-urbanism and mainstream and counterculture all rolled up into one. I'm moved by this stuff in ways that I'm sure people are moved by ballet.

Fisheye, well, as a photographer I have one myself and it's as much about field of view as it is about a type of distortion - and every type of lens distorts when it captures 2-dimensional images. I think it was used very well.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:04 PM on April 20, 2009


Yeah, I've seen bikes like this around. Bigger than BMX bikes, but smaller than what I tend to think of as mountain bikes. Neat little bikes.

Um but anyway. I was impressed in the first half of the video but then they crank it up and he does the thing on the tree. No, not the first thing. The other thing. You know the one. And then I was pretty much stunned the rest of the time. I mean. What.

I saw a guy doing the same style of riding one day while I was having lunch at the local college quad. I was sitting on a concrete wall maybe 4 feet high, and the dude just cold hops up from the ground to the top of the wall it maybe three feet from me, holds a wheelie for 20 feet along the edge of the wall, then pops off, lands on one wheel, and perfectly controlled, cruises away. I couldn't believe what I'd just seen. And there was nobody to tell.

Reminds me very much of observed motorcycle trials. But with more flipping. Astounding.
posted by pts at 6:07 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


i can't help but wonder how many frames/wheels/knees/ankles/wrists this guy goes through in a season. i mean, i'm sure he's got some sponsorships at this point, but still. he must have amassed quite an awesome pile of dead bikes and bike parts.
posted by the painkiller at 6:23 PM on April 20, 2009


Holy shit, that was cool.
posted by jquinby at 6:54 PM on April 20, 2009


i can't help but wonder how many frames/wheels/knees/ankles/wrists this guy goes through in a season.

There might be something wrong with me, but I read this as 'how many females/wheels/knees/ankles/wrists this guy goes through in a season'.

I'm sure it was just the juxtaposition of frames/wheels but there still might be something wrong with me.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:56 PM on April 20, 2009


Nice job editing out the sound of his tires exploding on EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN' LANDING!!!
posted by Mike D at 8:10 PM on April 20, 2009


This blew my mind.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 8:28 PM on April 20, 2009


He's almost certainly running tubeless tires which don't explode, just kinda burp out some vomit if you land too hard.
posted by unSane at 8:42 PM on April 20, 2009


I like parkour, don't think I could pull this off though.
...however if I could I wouldn't try to look like I was hot dogging it if people were around watching.
I would try to appear completely out of control of the bike while going on top of those shops yelling "Help me! Someone help me I can't stop!" and scream all the way through a backflip and then step off the bike in disbelief "My God! I almost got killed! I don't know what just happened!" And accept sympathy of course. You'd have to walk the bike home. If you just get back on and take off no one's going to buy it.
Not that it would be easy. I tried a little of that with parkour. Sort of a drunken boxing thing "whoops, didn't mean to trick off that rail so amazingly..."
That uh....yeah, didn't work out for me too well. On the other hand, no one knew that I had meant to appear to slip, but actually slipped, so y'know, sympathy.
The secret shame of which I will take to my grave.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:45 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


a few people have mentioned this already, but what this guy is doing is called trials, or street trials. we know this because he's riding a trials bike. similar styles or riding that use different types of bikes are bmx street, and urban mountain biking. there's a good deal of overlap in terms of the elements of each style, but the demarcation point is usually the type of bike being ridden.

on back pedaling, if your bike has a regular freewheel, you have to pedal backwards when you're riding backwards. this usually makes balance harder. if you don't want to have to pedal backwards when riding backwards you need either coaster brake or a free coaster.

and the flair (back flip with a half twist) off the tree? badass
posted by mexican at 9:07 PM on April 20, 2009


That was jaw-droppingly amazing.

Now I hope he stays off my lawn.

And my fence . . . and my tree... (etc.).
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:07 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unreal. Thanks.
posted by chinston at 9:07 PM on April 20, 2009


tubeless tires which don't explode, just kinda burp out some vomit if you land too hard.

Pretty much just like the rider, I assume.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:09 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Never in my life have I ever wanted to be 15 years younger than I am right now than, uh, right now, I guess.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:14 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very cool. Also, damn I wish I still lived in Edinburgh.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 10:05 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's one thing I know for from my days of skatboarding. Getting this good at this type of thing requires about 20% raw talent, 60% obsessive practice, and the last 20% comes from missingthe partof your brain that says "I hurt myself doing that, I'm not going to do that again".

That part of my brain is very well developed, which makes me really good at riding bikes and skateboards in a straight line on a flat surface, which I like to think of as my own special type of "trick".
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:05 PM on April 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cheers, box! That link's pretty informative - I will now sit here, read the page, and pretend that I'm actually going to even *think* of trying any of it.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:59 PM on April 20, 2009


And zsazsa points out what should have been bleeding obvious to me. How could I have forgotten! Thanks!
posted by ooga_booga at 12:01 AM on April 21, 2009


Fucking crazy. I think almost all of the things he did, I never would even think of doing with a bicycle: acoss a fence? UP a tree?

I'm not sure if I should show this to my kid or not...
posted by From Bklyn at 12:15 AM on April 21, 2009


Brilliant work. Inspirational, but I know I'd just end up standing by a newly acquired bike staring at the thing I wanted to try jumping on, then shake my head and ride it home. (Slowly and carefully.)
posted by The Monkey at 12:51 AM on April 21, 2009


Interesting to watch this with some more context; thanks for the R Leech link - lets you appreciate MacAskill's superior aerials&flow. (Here's a previous 2 hour ride of his; here's his team; oh, and: they do call it trials.)
posted by progosk at 1:17 AM on April 21, 2009


ok enough about parkour...

this is a style of riding called trials and is essentially a style born out of bmx + motorcross + mountain biking + obstacle courses. Here's a good place to start if you want more info. Look up Hans Rey for more insanity in different terrain (like on the edges of cliffs).

super cool stuff...the only problem is the bikes are pretty damn expensive to just get one for fun.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 1:36 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is fabulous. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on April 21, 2009


Ah, gobsmacking visual trick eyecandy and crippling homesickness all wrapped in a handy package. This was even more gobsmacking for me because I know about 90% of those streets, steps and walls intimately, so I know exactly how high and far some of those drops were.

God I miss Edinburgh.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:09 AM on April 21, 2009


eponironical!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:38 AM on April 21, 2009


Damn. I hurt myself badly enough just riding trails. After looking through the video and some of the related ones on YouTube, on top of wondering how one develops the sense of balance to do this sort of thing, I also wonder why the hell not one of them thinks it might be a good idea to wear a helmet...
posted by caution live frogs at 6:09 AM on April 21, 2009


Here's the same rider Danny MacAskill in Leeds tricking around campus and town. I was introduced to it by the guy who taught bike maintenance here on campus, he'd a video on his phone of the session. About 10 seconds see those big steps? Well they're right outside my lab and they're fscking huge.
posted by handee at 7:13 AM on April 21, 2009


Say what you will, I thought that song was perfectly chosen for the video. Andrew W.K.? Come on.
posted by kingbenny at 7:27 AM on April 21, 2009


I agree that this is more like trials than parkour. Parkour is "the art of displacement"; it's about getting from point A to point B quickly and in ways you wouldn't normally think about. This is just (no disrespect) a compilation of tricks. But they're awesome tricks, many of them!
posted by Eideteker at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


My step brother broke his neck doing this. He mostly healed, but he lost a lot of movement in his upper body. At first the doctor thought he'd be permanently paralyzed from the neck down. But he was pretty good and even got paid to do shows as promotion. Honestly, couldn't see him living his life any other way, though it's not making things easy now.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:29 AM on April 21, 2009


help me, i can't stop watching this.... that thing he does between the wall and bike rack at about 3:13 keeps BLOWING MY MIND
posted by the painkiller at 11:23 AM on April 21, 2009


Extreme walking except with instead of feet a bike
posted by tehloki at 11:51 AM on April 21, 2009


Being a bike geek I have to wonder which model of tires he's using on this bike.

That and the plank-to-the-wheel straightening technique is pure gold!


When this guy goes over a longer length of chain than Ryan Leech did for the first The Collective movie, then I'll agree that he gives Ryan a run for his money.
posted by Severian at 9:48 PM on April 21, 2009


Big up for that By The Grace. A hella tin that too, don't look like sardines neither.

Wonderfully done, call it mtn bike parkour or whatever, I call it Freakin' Amazin'.

Great choice of tune [singer's voice sounds a lot like that of the Shins] and a smooth video. Nicely done. That kind of riding took hours of training. One slip on that fence and your nut sack has had it.

Loved the shot where he jumps the stairs in the tunnel and then figures appear, back lit looking down...cool. Lots of cool there.

Just amazing balance.

I'm happy to still be slalom skiing and playing in net [ice hockey].

The coolest tricks I saw on a slalom ski, is a guy Stapo40, doing 360 Tick-tock's, wake 180 Front to back, backwards deep water starts [yep, head in the water starts] and beach backwards starts! I emailed the guy, he said he did chop the end off the skii a tad, but still... amazing to see.

Now, that flip off the tree....WOW.

Did I say it's freakin' amazin'? 'cause it really is. Sweet.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:26 AM on April 22, 2009




Good news Happy Dave.

Here's the stunt driving troupe he performs with, The clan's site.
posted by alicesshoe at 12:38 PM on April 22, 2009


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