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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 when you fall off - not if, when - 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, or the one coming behind.

Compare Outside Ride. When a vehicle isn't involved, you may have a case of Container Cling.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Baccano!, Rachel temporarily travels underneath the Flying Pussyfoot train after escaping from the captive diner car.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Heero rides underneath an ambulance before hijacking it.
  • Pokémon: This was a favored method by Ash and whoever was with him at the time to sneak on board Hunter J's base via her ground vehicles.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the early Action Comics issues, back in the days when it wasn't entirely Superman stories, had a short story of a criminal who tried this to break out of prison. A pendant he was wearing got caught in a moving part and strangled him.
  • In Chassis, Twist's personal droid clings to the underside of Chassis's aerocar to sabotage it during a race.
  • In DK III: The Master Race #2, Carrie clings to the underside of her escape vehicle - a tank - leading the police to believe that is empty.
  • In the original ElfQuest story arc, when the Wolfriders are surrounded by hostile trolls they attempt to escape by riding their wolves underbelly. The wolves then attempt to leap over the trolls, which seems slightly implausible with the elves lowering their centers of gravity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lucky Luke: After a train is derailed, a tramp is revealed who says it's the last time he's travelling on the axles.
  • Nightwing does this in Batman: Black and White #5. When he is knocked off the armoured car Two-Face is trying to hijack, he manages to cling to the underside of the truck and climb under it to come up on the other side.
  • The Punisher does this at least once to follow a gang.

    Film — Animated 
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, there's a train car for mice beneath the real train cars.
  • 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.
  • Pinocchio. Jiminy Cricket hitches a ride on the coach that takes children to Pleasure Island.
  • The Rescuers Down Under. Bernard, Miss Bianca and Joey get under McLeach's truck to follow him when he goes after Cody.
  • In Toy Story 3, during Woody's first escape from the Sunnyside daycare center, he crosses floors by riding underneath the janitor's trolley.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Art of War (2000). 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.
  • In the 1991 version of Cape Fear, Max Cady ties himself to the bottom of 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.
  • Chucky does this with a school bus in Child's Play 2.
  • In Eastern Condors, two of the team cling to the underside of the army truck, dropping off as it reaches the bridge to take out the machine gun nest.
  • In Emperor of the North the hobos spend some time riding in the train's undercarriage. Evil train conductor Shack's response is to extend a heavy pin on a cord to beneath where they're hiding and let it repeatedly bounce off the track and smack into their bodies.
  • In Evil Roy Slade, Roy and Betsy travel from the West to Boston on the underside of trains.
    Betsy: We've seen the bottom half of America!
  • 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.
  • 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 Mad Max: Fury Road, both Furiosa and Nux have scenes where they climb underneath the speeding truck to make some on-road repairs.
  • After witnessing the midnight delivery of sealed containers to Darius Sayle's lair in Stormbreaker, Alex hides under a lorry to get close enough to sneak in himself.
  • 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.
  • In Terminator Genisys, John Connor hitches a ride underneath the school bus Sarah is driving, and takes advantage of the position to tear a lot of things up - including the brakes.
  • In We're the Millers, the Millers find a bunch of illegal immigrants hiding under their RV. They run away when they are discovered.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy: 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.
  • The Constipation of O'Brien. The normally incompetent Private McAuslan slips past the guards during a night infiltration exercise by grabbing onto the underside of the truck bringing in 'captured' soldiers. Desperate to take a leak after the truck reaches its destination, he then blunders into the red lamp that's the objective, accidentally winning the exercise.
  • In a flashback chapter in Halo: First Strike, John (the Master Chief) and his squad of saboteurs infiltrated 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, the infiltrators 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 twelve!
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In The Sea of Monsters, in a direct reference to The Odyssey, Percy Jackson uses the same method of hanging under a sheep to get into Polyphemus's cave to rescue Grover and Clarisse, at Annabeth's suggestion.
  • 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.
  • In the first Splinter Cell novel, Sam uses this trick to get around in Iran.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In A New Dawn, during the incident at the Imperial spaceport, Skelly winds up stealing Okadiah Garson's ancient hoverbus, which Count Vidian and Captain Sloane had earlier commandeered in order to take them back to the spaceport after Skelly bombed their first shuttle. In the chaos, Kanan and Hera take the opportunity to escape by grabbing on to the underside of the bus. The ensuing ride is both dangerous and muddy because the hoverbus is so old that it can't properly fly anymore and can only hover a few metres above the ground before it starts wobbling wildly, and since Skelly doesn't know that, he keeps trying to take the bus higher than is safe. Eventually, Hera (who got a better handhold) gets on and takes over, sending Skelly to the back to help Kanan in through the broken back window.
  • In A Tale of Two Cities, Gaspard, whose son has been killed after being run over by the Marquis St. Evremonde's carriage, hitches a ride underneath the carriage (this is ominously hinted at when the narrator describes the carriage as being heavier than usual) in order to follow the Marquis to his chateau and kill him.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Father Brown: Inspector Sullivan does this to escape in "The Owl of Minerva"; clinging to the underside of the van that is supposed to be transporting him to prison.
  • 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.
  • MacGyver (1985): Mac clings underneath a truck to escape the cops in the episode "Jerico Games".
  • On Renegade, this is how Reno Raines escaped from prison following his conviction.
  • Mission: Impossible: In "War Games", Max clings to the underside of the military truck accompanying Shannon to her execution.

    Mythology 
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew are trapped within a cave by Polyphemus, a man-eating shepherd cyclops. They escape by clinging to the underside of Polyphemus' sheep, after blinding him.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Spider-Man: Spider-Man and Tarantula cling the underside of an army truck bringing reinforcements in order to sneak into a prison.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Blue Spirit" episode, the titular ninja Zuko in disguise sneaks into Zhao's compound by hiding beneath a layer of dirt, in the road, then latching onto the undercarriage of a passing supply wagon.
  • The magician does this in Frosty the Snowman on the underside of a train, in an attempt to get his hat back.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Rick and Morty episode "Ricksy Business", Jerry's attempted rapist Rosa clings to the underside of the family's car cackling:
    Rosa: "I'm doing Cape Fear!
  • In The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare", Sideshow Bob tries this in a parody of the 1991 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 spilling his hot coffee under the car.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Soviet boxcars had blades underside to discourage any underside rides and to guide any riders directly under the wheels. This was because the boxcars were used to haul not only cargo but also imprisoned people and it was to prevent any escape attempts.
  • Some illegal immigrants or thrill seekers sometimes hide in airliner landing gear wells. Given to the fact that the landing gear wells are usually very confined and unpressurized, and there is awfully cold in-flight altitudes, these rides tend to end up badly. Those who aren't crushed by the retracting landing gear often are either frozen to death or suffocated by the thin air.


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