Introduction: How to Ghostride a Bike

Picture of How to Ghostride a Bike

This month I'll teach you a simple skill that is very handy for car-free living. I know everyone out there loves their bicycle, and generally it is inseparable from the self. But now and then you or a friend has somehow left a bike locked up somewhere else and needs to get it. No need to trek out there on foot to retrieve it! Just borrow another bike, go ride out to the lost bike and bring back both at once using the technique of GHOSTRIDING.

It takes a bit of practice but the skills needed will make you overall a more skilled and confident bike rider. Once you get used to it, Ghostriding several miles across town is not much trouble.  With the riding skills you learn, soon you'll be talking on your cell and drinking your morning coffee on your ride to work too, just like your friends in Berlin, Amsterdam or Tokyo.

This article is brought to you by Momentum magazine and MonkeyLectric

Step 1: One Hand Riding

Picture of One Hand Riding

practice riding your bike with just one hand. this is the most important skill needed for ghostriding. make sure you can brake while riding this way.  practice until you can comfortably ride a mile in city traffic with just one hand. if this is a challenge for you, start on a cruiser bike or city bike where you have an upright posture.

As you can see from the photos, there are lots of good reasons to learn to ride one handed besides ghostriding!

Step 2: Which Bike to Sit On?

anytime you are going to ghostride, first decide which of the two bikes to sit on.  normally you'd choose your own since you are most familiar with it, but if the bike you need to ghostride is much smaller than yours, sit on that one instead.  reaching way down to hold a smaller bike is difficult.  reaching up to a taller bike is easier.

Step 3: Line Up the Bikes

Picture of Line Up the Bikes

line up the two bikes next to each other.   get ready to start riding your bike with one hand like you practiced. the second bike's handlebars should be to the right (or left) and a little behind of the first bike.

Step 4: Holding the 2nd Bike

Picture of Holding the 2nd Bike

with your free hand, hold the second bike right on the stem or at the exact center of the handlebar. this is the only place where it will be possible to hold or steer it.

Step 5: Start Riding

Picture of Start Riding
start riding your bike with one hand, and holding the second bike to the side of you at arm's length.

KEEP YOUR WEIGHT OFF THE SECOND BIKE.  try riding forward slowly.

  • if you put any weight on the second bike it will start leaning over and steering against you.
  • pretend you are riding one handed like you practiced, and holding a heavy bag off to the side with your other hand.  lift up on that bag, don't push down.
  • the second bike will be perfectly upright if you are doing this well.  if it leans to one side or the other or feels like it is steering against you: briefly lift the front wheel of the second bike off the ground - this will get it back on track and keep you honest about having your weight only on the first bike.

Step 6: Stopping, Turning and More

once you can go straight, practice stopping and getting on and off. this is the only time you will put weight onto the second bike - when you are stopped and getting on or off. as soon as you are moving you're riding like you did with one hand.

next practice turning. anytime the second bike seems to be getting off track, just lift up its front wheel for a moment and put it where it should be (a comfortable distance to your side)

when riding in the city, you'll also use the same lift-up-the-front-wheel trick when you are riding over potholes that might throw the second bike off track.

Now go have some fun!!


VagsmaCutter (author)2011-03-26

Back in the day ghostriding was when you bailed off the bike and let it keep riding with nobody on it (like when you see a ghost riding a bike down the street). Usually, the bike belonged to someone else so it was a time/ energy saving tactic. What they call ghostriding now is what we used to call stealing a bike...ahah not really, but that's often what the police thought. Anyway, I always held the grip on the closest side to me. It seemed like it was easier to keep the two bikes separate, you could make steering corrections with either bike so you could go faster. But, this wasn't in the city so you didn't have to worry about being hit by a careless driver (as much). I would probably ride whichever bike is heavier. If the lighter bike is extremely light just grab the frame in front of the seat post (boys bike) and carry it shoulder height, kind of resting on your shoulder. (watch the front wheel when lifting it the first time). Have fun.

We used to call ghostriding when we would go into the small village cemetery at midnight, find a willing resident ghost, and get him to take us for a piggyback ride.

mamad3pitch (author)2016-03-19

Great Instruction,


Yonatan24 (author)2015-09-28

This should be called:

"How To Ride Two Bikes At Once Without A Helmet, And Kill Yourself"

begunia (author)2011-11-17

I thought ghost riding is ability to stand on the bike while riding it.

BenjaminP7 (author)begunia2015-09-28

In Australia it's jumping off the back of your old K-mart bike when you are too chicken to follow it up a ramp you just helped build out of dirt, want to look cool and want a new BMX for Xmas.

FrankL6 (author)2015-06-15

sandra-1 (author)2011-07-05

I can do this without both hands.

ethantank15 (author)sandra-12015-03-23

you are both showing off now how did you learn to do it with no hands?

or did you just do it allot?

teniva (author)sandra-12012-01-21

Yes, me too,.

TheBashfulBrute (author)2014-11-16

This is great! One time, my friend had a heart attack or something and I had to ghost ride his bike, with him riding on the back of my bike rack! Felt like a hero xD

sjain60 (author)2014-05-28

I have been ghost riding since long as and when required....
I read your instructions are really good, actually they clearly described what all I had done when I had done it for the first time.
I would like to suggest you to add a problem faced while ghost riding that occur when there comes a bump. I is really a shaky condition which occur because there is no weight over the other bike

Luziviech (author)2012-11-12

This a howto for upcoming road-kissers? Anyways, i would start all over with step four and no bike beneath you, say while walking aside the bike to get a feeling for equilibrium.

Ludwig Von Mech (author)2011-05-19

I have found that ghostriding is very risky, so I developed a technique for towing, and built a small fixture to do it with.

You should make an Instructable of your towing rig then ;)

rikardom (author)2012-05-06

This is very easy to do.
Harder thing will be to actually do it without both hands.

tobune (author)2012-05-03

Like in Ghost Rider!

torina2 (author)2011-08-20

This is very hard. I have tried and fell badly.

mattle (author)torina22012-04-06

I agree. Hard to do it.

tokin (author)2011-10-16

I tried today, but could'nt do it. I'll keep practicing.

OttawaRider (author)2011-10-05

I find it easier to hold the second bike by the seat. Once both bikes are moving, shift your hand from the stem to the seat. Steer it gently by leaning it slightly as required.

lepar (author)2011-10-01

This is a challenge for me now.

merkuri2 (author)2011-09-21

Not that hard to learn.

kokina2 (author)2011-09-01

This is very easy to do.

finnster (author)2011-07-13

Erm, last time I checked ghost riding was when you jump off a bike while its moving and it keeps going, like there's a ghost riding it :P

Advar (author)2011-07-07


Been doing things like that for years, Ghost Riding. But my head never turned into a flamming skull. Haha.

Really though, it's a nice, useful skill. Recommended.

TheMadTinker (author)2011-06-16

Props, dude. I had to get a friend's bike to the park most of a mile from my house, but didn't want to walk back, so I tried your method. When I got to the park, everyone was asking how I rode both bikes there, to which I replied, "Ghost riding." They were suitably impressed.

Alecw35 (author)2011-05-19

Ive done this a couple of times recently. to get bikes home from town, about 10 miles on a tarmac bike path. I called it quad biking. I found I could stop still. then start pedaling again.
I have also tried taking off the second bikes front wheel. then putting washers on the left side of my 3 speed folder bikes rear axle. so the fork would sit away from the frame. rear bike was off to the side. but tracked ok. was an older bike with thin fork legs. I tried it with suspension forked bike. couldnt attach it. me a sturdy bit of metal to bolt on to both the rear axle and the second bikes forks.

pauli2 (author)2011-05-18

This is great. I think I can do it.

antonio23 (author)2011-05-15

It is hard for me! I have tried and fell.

frenzy (author)2011-03-01

For those unfamiliar with the ghost riding phenomena:

snotty (author)frenzy2011-05-06


dan (author)frenzy2011-03-01

the term 'ghostriding' means something very different for cars and for bikes.

ghostriding a car: hopping out of the driver seat while its rolling and walking next to it.

ghostriding a bike: taking a 2nd bike with you while you ride the 1st bike (like my article above).

because of the two meanings, you see a video like this where the car-use of the term is applied to bikes. but it is not the general meaning for bikes.

finnrambo (author)dan2011-03-18

life's too short to argue about ghostriding...... stick to methods of cleaning white handlebar tape :D

vincent7520 (author)dan2011-03-03

then what about ghost riding a sail boat ?… ;))

frenzy (author)dan2011-03-02

If my bicycle is my "Whip" can i consider this more conservative and functional style as "Ghostriding My Whip"?

melisa2 (author)2011-04-15

This is not very hard to do.

tonyta2 (author)2011-04-09

I did not know it is called ghostriding the riding with one hand. Anyway, I can do it without both hands.

bobbyderf123 (author)2011-03-27

where i come from, ghostriding a bike is when someone peddles a bike(usually a really crappy/slightly broken bmx bike) up to speed and jumps off and lets the bike keep going; usually off curbs, off ramps, into walls, or just to see how far they'll go. just for laughs

dwesely (author)2011-03-04

Be careful doing this! I did this about 20 years ago to get my 2nd bike home from the bike repair shop. On the way, I picked up a bit of speed going down a slope, the front wheel of the ghost bike twitched, and WHAM! All of a sudden the ghost bike was down with the front tire rim potato chipped (folded over sideways). Fortunately the bike frame was OK, but the rim was totaled.

VagsmaCutter (author)dwesely2011-03-26

Holy taco! < that's what we used to call it when you did that to a rim. That was years ago and I can see how it could look more like a potato chip. But, that would be a sign that you didn't wipe out hard enough to do it properly. Aribba!

sabladask (author)2011-03-16

lol, i used the same technique goustriding a bike 20 mils this summer. :):)

eshneto (author)2011-03-10

I would like to see an instructable on how to carry a ton of bread in your head while riding. Take a look at the guy in the last picture!

Hallmar (author)eshneto2011-03-11

Damn now that's awesome, the dude have a head balance, lol

Hallmar (author)2011-03-11

Riding with one hand in any bicycle is awesome, but when you have a heavy bag on your hadlebar now thats a hard way to drive in your bicycle:]

rorme (author)2011-03-10

Try ghost-riding with two bikes, one on each side. I've done that before (years ago I went out mountain-biking with two friends, neither of which owned a bike, but I had 3 - I was into it....)
I'd advise you practice that away from other moving vehicles, but it can be done.

sbates-1 (author)2011-03-08

im not sure the point of this ible but in light of the be nice policy well done on co-foundering an awsome website,
but with i find it easiier to ghost ride your bike while in your car, the cops and enviroment love it :P

vincent7520 (author)2011-03-03

Does "ghostriding" a bike (in more simple words bringing back a friend's bike while riding your own) needs an instructable ???…
Really its like making an instructable for how to walk.
Once a child hast master a bicycle, riding two bikes comes as naturally as walking or swimming !!!…
On flat ground with little curves you can ride 3 bikes easily : it's not a stunt.
You just stand straight on your own bike with a good steady speed and you sort of "track" one bike on each side by holding them at the center of the handle bar …
I you stop very slowly you will not collapse but you will be able to gently stop and "brake" with your foot on the pavement so that when you get to a full stop you will be able to keep the three bicycle upwards ! …
It's all done by instinct.
We did that all the time with my friends when each of us rode over and went home in our parents' cars leaving our bike behind…
Didn't need any instructable at this age ! …

dan (author)vincent75202011-03-07

yes, this is far from obvious if you have not seen it done. i have seen people try to carry fully assembled bikes on their back and over their shoulder while they ride, both of which are much more difficult and dangerous than ghostriding.

vincent7520 (author)dan2011-03-07

OK then.

By now I already excused myself quite a few times here that I would feel a total moron to do it again !

But the spirit is here !…

Thanks for this site anyway !…

About This Instructable




Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
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