A character hitches a ride by clinging to the underside of a vehicle. This can be done as a means of tailing someone who has their own vehicle when you do not and you cannot risk losing them, or as a means of infiltrating (or exfiltrating) an enemy compound, dropping off the vehicle once you are through the gates.
Do Not Try This at Home
. There are a lot of moving parts underneath a vehicle that can chew up a human body real good. And if you fall off - and you will - not only will you hit the road at high speed, you stand a good chance of being run over by the very vehicle you were riding on.
Compare Outside Ride
Anime and Manga
- In Baccano!, Rachel temporarily travels underneath the Flying Pussyfoot train after escaping from the captive diner car.
Film - Animated
- Lucky Luke: When a train is derailed, it's revealed a tramp was travelling on the axles.
- The Punisher does this at least once to follow a gang.
- In an 80s era Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner clings to the axle of a van as it rolls away. His suit and back get torn up as a result.
- In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #181, Darklon escapes from his cell in the Pit. He then gets out of the Pit by clinging to the underside of the Hammer when it is sent out to search for him.
- In #72 of the Marvel Comics series, the Star Viper sneaks onto the Joe's Utah base by holding onto the underside of Skidmark's Desert Fox vehicle.
- Jonah Hex clings to the underside of a wagon to get inside a Union fort in All-Star Western #0. Too bad it turns out to be an ambush.
Film - Live Action
- The Rescuers Down Under. Bernard, Miss Bianca and Joey get under McLeach's truck to follow him when he goes after Cody.
- Pinocchio. Jiminy Cricket hitches a ride on the coach that takes children to Pleasure Island.
- This is how the title character in Banjo the Woodpile Cat goes to the city.
- In Bolt, this is the means by which Penny and Bolt infiltrate the lair of their show's Big Bad. It is reprised a few times throughout the film in different contexts.
- At the very beginning of Cars 2, Finn McMissile actually clings to the underside of Tony Trihull with his magnetic tires in order to sneak into the Lemons' oil rig.
- In The Great Mouse Detective, Dr. Dawson rides in a mouse-sized compartment beneath a stagecoach.
- In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, there's a train car for mice beneath the real train cars.
- In the 1992 version of Cape Fear, Max Cady ties himself to the bottom Sam Bowden's car, causing the Bowden family to take him directly to the houseboat. This is the element of Cape Fear that appears in almost every parody.
- Fatal Instinct. This comedy parodies Cape Fear (among others) and at one point Max Shady hangs onto the underside of a vehicle while it drives along. When he gets out, it's revealed that friction with the roadway wore through his clothing, exposing his buttocks.
- The Art of War: Happens near the end, when Shaw (Wesley Snipes) escapes from a group of assassins by lying flat in the road, seemingly to avoid being hit by an oncoming truck. When it passes, he's nowhere to be seen, until it's revealed he escaped by grabbing on to the undercarriage.
- The ending to Big Trouble in Little China shows the hero happily driving away, only for a last minute Jump Scare revealing a monster hiding under his semi trailer.
- Jim West in the Wild Wild West movie does this, using a cart designed to let him move between the train they were on, and a chase train. Unfortunately, the rope connecting him breaks.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do this in their third movie, using a wagon to sneak into the daimyo's palace. Of course, they were already Dressing as the Enemy, but wanted to stay out of contact with the daimyo to avoid a case of Spot the Imposter.
- Chucky does this with a school bus in Child's Play 2.
- Joaquin trails the McGiven's gang by clinging to the underside of their wagon in The Legend of Zorro.
- Tonto clings to the underside of Cole's train (and passes a silver bullet to Danny in exchange for a grape) in The Lone Ranger.
- In We're the Millers, the Millers find a bunch of illegal immigrants hiding under their RV. They run away when they are discovered.
- In The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew are trapped within a cave by Polyphemus, a man-eating shepherd cyclops. Odysseus and his crew escape by clinging to the underside of Polyphemus' sheep.
- Similarly, in The Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson uses the same method to get into Polyphemus's cave to rescue Grover and Clarisse, at Annabeth's suggestion.
- In the first Splinter Cell novel, Sam uses this trick to get around in Iran.
- In the Halo prequel novel Halo: First Strike, John and his squad of saboteurs infiltrates an enemy base using this method. The gate guards were Genre Savvy enough to scan the underside of their vehicles with a mirror-on-a-stick. Having none of that, they brought their own mirrors to reflect an unoccupied portion of the underside back at the guards. The kicker was that this was a training exercise, and the Spartans did this when they were fifteen.
- In Terror Valley by J.T. Edson, Calamity Jane sneaks out of the mission by hiding in a 'possum-belly'; a sheet of rawhide attached to the bottom of a wagon for carrying firewood.
- Belle Starr pulls the same trick in Troubled Range.
- Bartimaeus does this in the second book, having just escaped imprisonment and needing to flee in a hurry. Made somewhat easier for him in that he can transform into a small and very spiny impling who has no trouble sticking to the car.
- British secret agent Quiller is advised not to do this when escaping from The Gulag, as the last person who tried froze to death. In an earlier book, he tries to follow someone by ducking into the wheel well of their passenger aircraft, passes out from lack of oxygen and wakes up just in time to stop himself falling to his death as the undercarriage is lowered.
- MacGyver: Mac clings underneath a truck to escape the cops in the episode "Jerico Games".
- In the Burn Notice episode "Besieged", Fiona attaches herself underneath a fuel tanker in an attempt to infiltrate a Right Wing Militia Fanatic compound. She has a harness spefically designed for this purpose.
- In one CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode, a woman tries to escape from a prison in this way and suffers Ludicrous Gibs from getting caught in the moving parts. Subverted when we find out that she was already dead - the killer was getting rid of the body.
- The escapee in the pilot episode of Breakout Kings escapes this way. He even saves up rejected license plates that the prison manufactured to provide a something to cover himself when the guards check the underside with a mirror.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "The Hub", Ward and Fitz use a magnetic pouch to attach themselves to the bottom of a truck in order to gain access to the separatist compound.
- Leverage: In "The (Very) Big Bird Job", Parker clings to the underside of the car of the guy who has just stolen a teddy bear (It Makes Sense in Context) so she doesn't lose him.
- Spider-Man: Spider-Man and Tarantula cling the underside of an army truck bringing reinforcements in order to sneak into a prison.
- In The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare", Sideshow Bob tries this in a parody of the Cape Fear scene. While he does get to his destination, it doesn't quite work out as the family drove through a lot of cacti and over a fair few speed bumps on the way there, not to mention Homer throwing his hot coffee under the car.
- The magician does this in Frosty the Snowman on the underside of a train, in an attempt to get his hat back.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Blue Spirit" episode, the titular ninja Zuko in disguise sneaks into Zhao's compound by hidding beneath a layer of dirt, in the road, then latching onto the undercarriage of a passing supply wagon.
- The episode of Sonic Sat Am "Spy Hog" has the Freedom Fighters sneak into Robotropolis by way of riding beneath a hover vehicle with magnets strapped to their hips.
- Sonic also occasionally uses an antigravity function of his sneakers to do this.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show on their way to Canada, the two hitch a ride on a train, at first we see two figures in a train cart that would be Ren and Stimpy, but it was actually two random guys shaped like them, and the real two are under the cart with their heads bumping on the tracks.
- Generator Rex: In "Back in Black", Rex clings to the underside of a Providence transport to learn where Black Knight is having the captured EVOs shipped.
- One Darwin Award winner tried this while attempting to diagnose a truck's engine, apparently to watch the engine while it worked. It seemed a fine idea until the moving parts caught his sleeve... Link
- Jeffery Manchester became the only person to escape from the Brown Creek Correctional Institution by holding on to the bottom of a delivery truck.
- African and Asian migrants trying to sneak into Great Britain from France via the Chunnel have often been advised by smugglers as to how to do so by secreting themselves in the undercarriage of the trains. It is apparently possible to do this for some people, as long as you stay stock still through the entire ride, during which your head may be inches away from the wheel of a train car traveling at high speed, and you don't mind temperatures getting almost wintry cold around you due to the effects of traveling through the Chunnel's controlled climate (about 60 degrees or so) at those high speeds.