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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ride-the-lightning_freakazoid2_6862.png]]]]

->''"Why don't you make someone else ride ''your'' lightning, for a change?"''
-->-- '''[[Music/OzzyOsbourne The Guardian of Metal]]''', ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend''

Using lightning or electricity as a form of travel. It can vary from turning into electricity yourself to traveling along it, using it as some sort of conduit, or even just surfing on a bolt of lightning.

A SisterTrope to ElectricSlide. For riding lava, see LavaSurfing.

Compare ShockAndAwe, SkySurfing, ElementalShapeshifter.

Not related to ElectricTorture or the Music/{{Metallica}} album (although the trope was named for the latter). Also not related to when a bipolar person decides NoMedicationForMe while in a manic phase, occasionally termed "riding the white lightning". Nor does this refer to execution via electrocution, although the trope title is a slang phrase for such an execution.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* [[PsychoElectro Enel]] in ''Manga/OnePiece'', who has the power to transform his body into lightning.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'': When Negi masters [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Magia Erebea]], a technique which allows him to fuse himself with offensive spells, his affinity for [[ShockAndAwe lightning]], [[BlowYouAway wind]] and [[LightEmUp light]] magic lends itself to this.
** ''Jovis Tempestas Fulguriens'' ("Jovian Windstorm of Lightning") [[TornadoMove blasts a vortex of wind and lightning energy at opponents]]. When equipped, it creates the form ''Agilitas Fulminis'' ("With Lightning Speed"), which electrifies Negi's body and grants him great agility.
** The FantasticNuke spell ''Khilipl Astrape'' ("Thousand Thunderbolts") can be absorbed to enter the state ''He Astrape Huper Ouranou Mega Dunamene'', better known as ''Raiten Taisou'' ("Might of the Great Thunderclap"). Apart from [[StatusBuff fortifying Negi's body]], this drastically improves his FlashStep skills, allowing him to transform into a bolt of lightning in short bursts. However, the technique has blind spots due to his human reaction time and his need to send out streamers of charged particles before the main bolt strikes. This leads to...
** ''Tastrapa Huper Ouranou Mega Dunamena'', or ''Raiten Taisou II'' ("Might of the Twin Thunderclaps"), activated by absorbing two ''Khilipl Astrape'' spells at the same time, which transforms Negi into [[ElementalEmbodiment a being of pure "heavenly fire"]], similar to a lightning [[OurGeniesAreDifferent genie]]. Not only does this allow him to maintain constant lightning-speed while retaining full awareness of his surroundings, it also makes him an ElementalShapeshifter who can disperse parts of his body into lightning to avoid attacks.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex[=/=]Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'': The titular Railgun, Mikoto, is capable of surfing along steel-framed concrete walls, Spiderman-style, thanks to her [[ShockAndAwe abilities to control electricity]]. When she does that, there is a visible lightning "leash" extending from her body. Taken to a more literal extreme in the [[OriginalVideoAnimation OVA]], where, in an alley with steel-framed concrete walls on both sides, she uses her abilities to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin fly through the air]]. [[spoiler: The point of which was to ride the lightning fast enough to fit through a small section at the end and circle back around through the next alley to get behind whoever was following her the whole episode, who, in their inability to ride the lightning, would be forced to turn around to leave.]] Riding the Lightning, indeed. Then taken UpToEleven in the SS novels where it shows that she can use her ability over large bodies of water to induce hydrolysis in water molecules to ride the lightning as well. And later taken to an even higher extreme when she is forcibly subjected to a [[spoiler:[[OneWingedAngel Level 6 Shift]]]], gaining the ability to effectively teleport to where a beam of electricity she created had struck in the process, apparently by travelling '''through''' the electric beam itself.
* Laxus from ''Manga/FairyTail'' can turn himself into lightning for a short time in order to dodge an attack.
* Rotom in one of the Decolora Islands ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episodes does this to get into appliances and eat electricity.
* Killua from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' uses his electrified aura to move at high speed.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/SpiderMan foe Electro is sometimes shown traveling by surfing a lightning bolt.
* ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' [[DorkAge Blue]] could travel as a lightning bolt.
* [[ComicBook/TheAuthority Jenny Sparks]] does the "transform-into-electricity-via-power-lines" variant for cross-country travel.
* Comicbook/DoctorStrange learned how to teleport via lightning when the Ancient One's nemesis Kaluu was his mentor, but he considered it a form of [[TheDarkArts dark sorcery]].
* [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] in ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' exploits his transformation method (yelling "Shazam!" and getting struck by a bolt of lightning,) and then rides the bolt of lightning down to a rampaging Black Adam (who gets his power via the same method) to strike him with it instead to force him to transform back to normal.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* The Pronghorns use this to travel in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic, ''[[FanFic/ItsADangerousBusinessGoingOutYourDoor It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door]]''. They use it to relay messages between rulers. [[spoiler: They teach Rainbow Dash to do it as well.]]
* The ''FanFic/PoniesOfOlympus'' series has the Jupiter Lance technique, which allows pegasi to do this as a fighting technique.

* Being and electric ghost, the villain of ''Film/{{Shocker}}'' has this power, which allows him to travel between television set and electric sockets.
* The 2005 remake of ''Film/WarOfTheWorlds'' had the aliens using lightning to travel to their buried pods.
* One of the gremlins in ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' gains this ability and starts traveling through the Clamp building's phone lines.
* In ''Film/AndYouThoughtYourParentsWereWeird'', ghosts can manifest as electricity to [[HauntedTechnology possess technology]].
* At the climax of the 2003 ''Film/{{Hulk}}'', David Banner absorbs enough electricity to become a monster made of lightning. He grabs the Hulkified Bruce and they travel miles inland on his coattails, fighting in the clouds.
* In ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', Electro is able to do this traveling as a bolt of lightning.

* ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic'': This is what Twoflower thinks Rincewind is talking about when he expresses a desire to "harness the lightning".
* Literature/LightningDust does the turn into lightning version, once winding up inside a streetlight on his first flight.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': When Kallen receives a blessing from Ligol, the lightning goddess, one of the abilities this grants her is teleporting via this method. Her body, and that of anyone touching her, transforms into lightning and then strikes where she wants to land. This means she can't use it to go anywhere lightning wouldn't be able to reach, such as a room deep underground.
* In ''The Dreamers'' series by Creator/DavidEddings, the Elder God Veltan has a pet lightning bolt that he rides for quick long-range transport. Disadvantages include having to avoid collateral damage, because gods are [[ThouShaltNotKill absolutely forbidden from taking life]], and showing up with static-frizzed hair.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* It's been...''[[EpilepticTrees theorized]]''...that all the supernatural entities in ''Series/TwinPeaks'' travel this way. A few odd incidents (particularly in TheMovie) are accompanied by shots of buzzing power lines. The same thing happens in ''Film/MulhollandDrive'' at one point, [[WildMassGuessing possibly for the same reason.]] Uhh, [[MindScrew maybe.]]
* The Psycho Rangers from ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' all seem to have this ability, as well as mechanical possession. One of them even uses it to take over a Megazord.
* In the first episode of ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', Cole, in his natural energy form, travels through a power line to get to the ground.

* The eponymous Tiger Rider from "Tiger Rider vs. the Time Sprinkler!" by Music/TheAquabats is implied to have this power.
-->''Grab a hold of the lightning bolt\\
And you pull down the lightning\\
(Ride the lightning!)''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The Simbul of ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'', after lots of experiments with polymorphing into inanimate objects (which sane mages avoid) and self-enspelling, acquired an ability she uses when even the most powerful magic-user in her world (and not quite in her right mind) must leave in haste: she turns herself into chain lightning, thunders through the area, ''then'' the last bolt turns into a meteor and flies away.
* The Nightbane from ''TabletopGame/{{Nightbane}}'' can purchase a [[MagicAndPowers Talent]] called "Lightning Rider", which [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin lets them turn into living electricity]].
* Ofanim of Lightning in ''TabletopGame/InNomine'' can become electricity in order to travel along wires between two electric devices. It's rather hard on the devices used though.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons 3.5'' has the spell ''Lightning Leap'', which inflicts electricity damage in a straight line and transports the caster to the end of the line. There's also a [[PlayingWithFire fire-based version]] in the form of ''Firestride Exhalation'', where the caster [[BreathWeapon breathes a cone-shaped stream of fire]] and can transport themselves to any space within the cone.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has a supplement called ''Ultimate Magic'', which features a spell called Ride the Lightning, where the user turns into a lightning bolt that blasts through enemies, ignites flammable objects and melts metal.
** Non-casters can achieve the same effect with the magical Boots of Lightning Leaping.
** Air kineticists from ''Occult Adventures'' can do this at 12th level. One can also ride the earth, aether, water, air or fire if lightning is not in their element.
* An entire [[CharacterClassSystem character focus]] of ''TabletopGame/{{Numenera}}'' revolves around combining this trope in special as well as ShockAndAwe in general. It is, appropriately, called "Rides the Lightning".

* In an old hilarious DOS game ''Space Dude'' one of the environmental stages ''literally'' made you ride the lightning - that is, the SurferDude had to keep shocking himself, otherwise he would fall.
* One of Ky Kiske's Overdrives in the ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'' is named this because it, too, was named after the song "Ride the Lightning."
** His son Sin uses the version called "R.T.L".
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', there is an Air Magic spell called Ride the Lightning that warps you next to a targeted enemy, dealing lightning damage to the enemy.
* Cole of ''VideoGame/{{inFAMOUS}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{inFAMOUS 2}}'' can travel extremely quickly by sliding along electrified wires - and they do have to be electrified. Amusingly, this works of something similar to the principle of a railgun. The sequel introduces the Lightning Tether, which is essentially a grappling hook made of lightning.
** He can do this across any normal platform in his playable appearance in ''VideoGame/PlayStationAllStarsBattleRoyale''.
* VideoGame/{{Pulseman}}'s array of [[ShockAndAwe electricity-based powers]] includes the Volteccer, which turns him into a flying ball of electricity. This also allows Pulseman to travel along power lines. In addition, he can transform himself into an electrical signal to travel through {{Cyberspace}}.
** In the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' series of games, Pikachu inherits this ability as its Final Smash.
* The Electrical Melee powerset in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' has "Lightning Rod" as its final power. It works very similarly to the ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' "Ride the Lightning" already mentioned. The user teleports to a targeted location, damaging any enemies near the landing point.
* Raiden's '''[[{{Mondegreen}} I NEED MY MONEY]]''' [[TeleportSpam teleport attack]] in ''MortalKombat''.
* Ghosts in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' can travel through phone lines.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Skylanders}}'', Zap the water dragon says this as his CatchPhrase. He doesn't ride lightning per se, but he spits it from his mouth. He rides sea slime.
* The protagonist of ''VideoGame/{{Teslagrad}}'' finds a pair of boots that allow him to do this over short distances early on.
* The MechanicalLifeforms of [[EternalEngine Wiral]] from ''VideoGame/{{Meteos}}'' can turn their bodies into electricity to travel across their planet via it's vast network of wires.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': [[ShockAndAwe Soya]] can skate across the ground at high speeds by channeling lightning through the soles of his feet.

* Powerful electricity mage "the Maestro" does this in ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan''. As a side-effect, he's constantly undergoing mild electrocution, which leaves him stuttering.
* George of ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', among his other lightning-based powers, has this ability. He seems to be turning ''himself'' to lightning to do it.
** In an earlier example, Elec Man the robot master as well. This is actually what [[spoiler: [[IdiotHero Megaman]] takes advantage of to beat both Bomb Man and Elec Man]]. [[WordofGod David Anez]] in previous commentary stated that [[PhysicsGoof the idea of becoming "fast" lightning is absurd]] and that as we all should know electrons only move as fast as the medium they're in conducts them. He's a physics professor, but he essentially admits he's not above [[RuleofCool putting in something cool for the purposes of the plot]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' sometimes travels as a head on a zig-zag bolt of electricity/lightning.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10 Ultimate Alien}}'' gives Ben a new alien form, Ampfibian, an ElectricJellyfish that can, [[ComboPlatterPowers among many other things]], transform into pure energy and travel through power lines and circuitry.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}''' pesky Kremzeek.
* ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' villain Livewire used this trick.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'', Static can rail-slide on power lines, but his typical mode of travel is surfing on a collapsible metal disc.
* Juice, the member of the Ultimen, in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' can do this.
* WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck's foe [[PsychoElectro Megavolt]] can "skate" along power lines.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' had the Shard of Lightning, a Shen Gong Wu that let its user travel at the speed of light for the brief seconds in which the lightning struck, as well as the Denshi Bunny, another Wu that turns the user into electricity so that they can travel through wires and other electrical circuitry.
* ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'' villain Hard Drive can travel through phone lines and electrical and computer systems and steal data from the latter while wearing his Surge Coat. The Kats actually take advantage of this by using a specially designed missile that cuts off the cable segment he was in, and forcibly sticks him in a containment unit.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is approximately how a railgun works - although it does require a metallic rail (or two) as a medium, it's the closest thing to this trope that exists in reality.