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File:Just Cause planesurfing 7453.jpg

It's the only way to travel.

And when they're boarding, they always say get on the plane, get on the plane. I say fuck that, let Evel Knievel get on the plane. I'm getting in the plane!

Just because the car's locked doesn't mean you can't go along for the ride. Just hop on top of the car, and hold on.

This is popular in many cop shows; Our Hero can be counted on to leap to the roof of a speeding getaway car at least once per season. Alternatively, he can jump onto the hood and glare at the driver while said driver tries to shake him off. Larger vehicles can also be used (particularly popular version is jumping onto a tall vehicle from an overhead bridge) - if it's a truck, for example, our Hero will often need to climb forward to the cab somehow. (You can also climb about on trains, but they're a bit different, since they don't swerve about.)

Busted by the Myth Busters, who found it much less safe in reality than on the screen.

For example, in Real Life, it is incredibly difficult to hold onto a car even at low speeds, and at high speeds, it is impossible to do so. It may be slightly easier to hold onto a train, but all of your effort has to be spent in just holding on and you have to be on top of a car that isn't rounded or containing hot liquids - plus, tunnels can cut too close to the roof for a standing person to survive passing through one. Aircraft - at least when we're talking jets, spacecraft, or anything that is flying at a sufficiently high speed and altitude - are literally impossible to stand on the outside of and doing so is certain death.

Two variant forms have become outdated with modern car designs, but may be seen in older media. For a stealth Outside Ride, jump onto the back bumper and hold on tight. This is often a convenient way for the hero to get to the villain's hideout. A more obvious method would be to stand on the running board, though if the driver's not paying attention you might be able to crouch underneath the window before he sees you.

See also: Hood Hopping, Underside Ride.

Examples of Outside Ride include:

Comic Book

  • Sin City has a couple of examples:
    • Marv hopped onto the back of a getaway car in Just Another Saturday Night and found himself on the hood of a cop car a few seconds later.
    • In Family Values Miho rollerbladed after a car, hitched onto the bumper, then climbed into the trunk without the mobsters knowing it.
    • Dwight attempted this in A Dame To Kill For, but failed.
    • In the first Sin City tale, Marv subverted this by actually hurling himself through the windhield of a cop car as opposed to just hanging on.
  • Spider-Man has had his fair share due to his abilities:
    • Way back in Amazing Spider-Man #1, Spidey hopped onto the Chameleon's helicopter and ripped the door off in order to get to him.
    • He pulled a similar move at the climax of the first Hobgoblin storyarc when he jumped onto the side of an armored van in order to get to the villain.
    • In Venom's first miniseries, Spidey hopped onto the hood of a gang's car while it was moving and webbed up the windshield.
    • This has also been used as a gag multiple times when he is running late or is out of web-fluid, so he decides to hop onto any moving vehicle he sees.
    • When Spidey first joined The Avengers (as a reserve) back in the eighties, it involved him sticking to the bottom of their quinjet and following them to a mission.
  • After the first arc of Joss Whedon's X-Men run, the newly alive-after-all Colossus is shown riding on the top of the team's jet on their way to a monster fight. After spending...uh, x number of years locked up in a lab, he wanted to feel the wind.
  • After Scott Pilgrim gets his He's Back moment, he rides the bus this way back to Toronto.
  • Captain America punctuates his escape from SHIELD at the start of Civil War by leaping on top of a fighter jet and eventually buying the pilot a burger later on.

Fan Fiction


  • In GI Joe: the Rise of Cobra, Snake Eyes does this on the approach to the Eiffel Tower.
  • In both Green Hornet movie serials, the Hornet catches a ride on the back bumper of a villain's car.
  • Happens with the titular train in The Polar Express.
  • Teen Wolf's favorite game was to surf the top of a bus.
  • In Batman (1989), reporter Alexander Knox does this on the hood of Vicki Vale's car.
  • In Dick Tracy (1990), Tracy's Sidekick "The Kid" hitches a ride on the back of police cars.
  • The Matrix Reloaded. An upgraded Agent jumps onto the hood of a car from another car, and just stands there while the car swerves back and forth.
    • There is also a full-scale kung fu battle on the top of a semi truck, brought to an abrupt end when it slams into another truck head-on.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddie Valiant is seen hitching a ride on the back of the electric streetcar, along with some other poor, Oliver Twist-esque boys.
  • In the first Back to The Future, Marty gets to school quickly by holding onto the rear bumpers of cars while standing on his skateboard. This turns out to be something of a Chekhov's Skill when he uses the same technique to keep from being run down by Biff in 1955.
  • The Deathproof half of Grindhouse shows clearly that even trained stunt professionals have a hard time hanging on to the hood of a car when there's a maniac slamming his car into yours at high speed.
  • James Bond runs into this a bit, as one might expect:
    • At the end of Live and Let Die, Baron Samedhi is seen riding on the front end of a train locomotive after he was killed by poisonous snakes earlier in the movie. Badass indeed.
    • In Octopussy, Bond actually tries it with a plane, if that counts.
    • In Licence to Kill, Bond takes a ride on a moving tanker truck.
  • Spider Man pulls it off in the first movie.
    • Justified, since he "does whatever a spider can", being sticking to surfaces, like a car roof.
    • A hold-over from the comic book; Spidey frequently hitched unwitting vehicles when traveling through places with low overhead or few to no skyscrapers.
  • Help - George Harrison jumps on the mad scientist's car as it's getting away with Ringo in the trunk.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Vampire Amilyn (Paul Reubens) hangs onto the top of Pike's van as he's fleeing and even punches a hole in the roof to grab him. Too bad about that low tree limb...
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy finds himself clambering all over a truck which he's trying to hijack, a process made difficult by the Nazi soldiers who are riding in the back.
    • There's also the submarine incident of questionable plausability.
  • The Invisible Man has the eponymous character follow his target this way. Made easier by the fact that, well, he's invisible. Ignore the fact that he's also naked in the middle of winter hanging onto the side of a speeding car...
  • Buster Keaton often grabbed onto moving cars in his films; see Cops, The Goat, ~Sherlock Jr.~
  • Constantly in The Gods Must Be Crazy. In an early scene you can just about see one of the actors playing a rebel soldier go flying off the hood of the car because of it, he continues with the scene as it nothing happened. Not too surprising as it's set in Africa where riding on top of a car is not uncommon.
  • Clint Eastwood as cop Harry Callahan does this a few times. In the first movie Dirty Harry, Harry jumps from an overpass onto the roof of a schoolbus taken hostage by the Scorpio Killer. In the sequel Magnum Force a mobster trying to escape a police raid speeds out in a getaway car and Harry clings to the hood of it.
  • Done with an airplane in The Mummy 1999, though it probably wasn't moving when they got on it; two people ride on the wings of a two-seater plane.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — What doesn't Cap take an Outside Ride on? Taxicab, personal submarine, speeding train, drone aircraft ....
    • Shows up a couple of times in The Avengers. Thor makes his entrance by landing on the team Quinjet so he can grab Loki from them and take him back to Asgard.


  • YT in Snow Crash - she has a device that lets her attach to cars and catch a ride, and this is how she gets around.
  • Doc Savage's favorite way to get around NYC is to let one of his buddies drive while he stands on the running board.
  • The hero does this at one point in Slan and even gets a chance to read the villains' minds.
  • Mike, at the beginning of Ghost, does this on the van that's being used to kidnap coeds.

Live Action Television

  • In Arrested Development the Bluths always get "hop-ons" when they drive their van because it was made to load airplanes and has a set of stairs on it.
  • Doctor Who: Jack Harkness does this with the freaking TARDIS. While it's travelling through time. This temporarily kills him.
  • EAGLE!!
  • In a season 3 episode of Primeval, Danny does this in an attempt to escape some hungry terror birds.
  • Once an Episode in Der Clown: Hero jumps on the enemy's getaway car/truck on the highway from a helicopter. Even in the self-parodic time travel episode.
  • Harrison ends up clinging to the windscreen of a car during a chase in one episode of Crazy Like a Fox. The scene is used in the opening credits.
  • All the time on Knight Rider. Just try and count how often Michael tells KITT to take control and open the sunroof so he can climb out and jump onto the bad guy's car, truck, helicopter, airplane, what have you.

Real Life

  • At least one 1920's bank robber favored involuntary Outside Rides — he would put a solid row of hostages on his getaway car's running boards until he got out of town.
  • Unfortunately, teenagers + booze + cars can equal Truth in Television for this trope. It normally ends with a trip to the hospital (or morgue), since they never add in safety harnesses.
  • Real Life: The remora, a fish that uses a suction cup on its head to hitch rides with sharks.
  • In some towns around the globe, some people (especially pre-teen boys) routinely used (or use) this kind of transport on tram buffers to avoid paying the fare.
  • Firefighters used to do this, but stopped because it was too dangerous. Secret Service still do in an emergency. Note that those vehicles are probably designed to be ridden (especially old fire trucks).
  • The extremely dangerous activity called "Subway Surfing" (or a variation thereof), where a person rides on the roof of a subway car, high-speed train etc. "just for fun". In Germany alone, 40 teenagers have so far been killed while train surfing.
  • When a cop in Hanoi, Vietnam tried to get a driver to stop, this happened.

Video Games

  • Another train example would be the intro and ending of Mega Man 4.
  • Some more train examples happen in Wario Land 2 and Wario Land: Shake.
  • Doable in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
  • ~Tony Hawk's Underground~ gives your skater the ability to skitch off car bumpers Marty McFly style.
  • After the first boss battle in Final Fantasy VII, and the homage sequence in Crisis Core.
  • It's easier to do by accident than on purpose in Saints Row 2, as most impacts, even minor bumps, send the target flying. But climbing on the roof of a stopped vehicle activates a car surfing minigame.
  • Skitchin' was a Genesis game where you would hitch rides on the bumpers of cars while on your inline skates.
  • Just Cause lets you do this; in its improved sequel, you can even hop around on top of a moving car, leaning around to avoid being shot at. You can also deploy your parachute to take to the air.
  • Battlefield 1942 lets you do this ON AN AIRPLANE.

Western Animation

  • In the Generation 1 Transformers episode "A Plague of Insecticons" where the episode-namer Insecticons used lightning to down the Autobots, they found the lightning-based attacks are nulled with the rubber on the tires of their vehicle mode. Optimus Prime and Wheeljack (team's tech-head) both rode a pair of team mates in vehicle form whilst firing their weapons. It's probably simpler to coordinate this stunt when everyone involved is a robot.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman grabs onto the roof of a car rendered invisible by Applied Phlebotinum to prevent the driver (likewise) from kidnapping his (the driver's) estranged daughter. The whole thing comes crashing past through an alley, leading a witness (who only sees Batman zooming along about four feet off the ground) to remark, "I didn't know he could fly..."
  • In one episode of Yogis Space Race, the prize for winning the race was a trip on a space plan. As usual for this show, there was a twist to the prize that made it not worth winning: In this case, the trip was on the space plane, rather than in the space plane.
  • Once on The Flintstones, Fred and Barney had to take the cheapest seats available on a plane, which meant sitting on the wing.
  • In the Mister Magoo cartoon "When Magoo Flew", Magoo mistakens a plane for a movie theater. At one point he steps outside and walks along the wing, complaining that the air conditioner is on too high.

Web Comics

Web Original