How to Ghostride a Bike

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

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

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

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

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

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.

tips:
  • 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!!


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    89 Discussions

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    VagsmaCutter

    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    lovethebackwoodsVagsmaCutter

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    mamad3pitch

    2 years ago

    Great Instruction,

    Thanks!

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    Yonatan24

    3 years ago on Introduction

    This should be called:

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

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    BenjaminP7begunia

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    ethantank15sandra-1

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

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

    or did you just do it allot?

    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

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    sjain60

    4 years ago on Step 6

    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

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    Luziviech

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    Ludwig Von Mech

    7 years ago on Step 6

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

    1 reply
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    rikardom

    6 years ago on Introduction

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

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    tokin

    7 years ago on Introduction

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