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Yes, all bike stunts in short film Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium are real

A man signs up at a gym at the beginning of the year, but instead of taking up a spinning class or weightlifting, he uses the gym equipment to perform amazing stunts on his bicycle. 

This is the premise of a short film called Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium. It has been shared on Facebook and watched millions of times. 

But the video has also been flagged as potentially false by Facebook’s fact-checking system, possibly due to its awe-inspiring stunts. (For more on how this system works, see here.)

We checked if Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill actually did perform all of the impressive stunts in the video.

Red Bull gives you bike stunts?

The video was created by Cut Media, a production company based in Glasgow, Scotland that works with brands, like energy drink Red Bull, to make adverts, short films, and other content. Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium was made for Red Bull, and posted to the Red Bull Bike YouTube channel.

The film isn’t presented as a traditional advert for Red Bull, but MacAskill’s helmet has the Red Bull logo on it. At the start of the video he also receives a Red Bull drink with his gym membership, which he appears to drink in between stunts. 

Fans might also know that MacAskill has appeared in other videos for Red Bull TV, the company’s media production arm. These include the short films Imaginate and Epecuén.

MacAskill also posts videos on his own website, which include his collaborations with brands such as Red Bull and Adidas, as well as other videos made by Cut Media.

No camera magic, just effort

A behind the scenes video, also shared by Red Bull TV, shows how Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium was filmed, in a Glasgow gym. 

No special effects or editing tricks were used and MacAskill performed all the tricks in the video himself. But the behind-the-scenes footage shows just how difficult the stunts were.

A crew member said that it took MacAskill around four hours to record one stunt, which the video refers to as the “slackline gap”. Another stunt, the “ghostie bike flip”, took hundreds of attempts. Here MacAskill lets his bike roll ahead of him, hit a pommel horse, and somersault over it before he jumps the horse himself, and lands back on his bike. 

All the stunts in Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium were performed exactly as shown. But they took far more time and effort to perfect and film than the barely six-minute-long video lets on. – Keegan Leech


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