How to ride a rear wheel on a bicycle: ways to ride

A bicycle is not just a means of transportation. It is also a tool with which you can learn to perform various tricks. Jumping on stairs and curbs, willy-nilly, bunny hop, riding without hands, drop – brave and daring guys love to do these not required, but warming the soul, elements. If you are tired of leisurely riding, it’s time to learn how to ride on the back wheel of a bicycle. The stunt is quite spectacular and impressive, so it is ideal for those who want to draw attention. Willie, surf or manual (these are all existing variants of riding on the back wheel) refer to basic tricks, so they are the best option for beginners who are just discovering the world of extreme cycling.

Rear-wheel riding options

rear-wheel riding options

Essentially, there are two ways to ride on one wheel: pedaling and inertia. Based on this, the following types of riding can be distinguished:

  • willy;
  • Surf or manual.

Accordingly, villi is riding on the back wheel with the handlebars up and the pedals spinning. Manual or surf is performed without pedal rotation, that is, the cyclist first accelerates hard, raises the front wheel and releases the pedals, moving at the expense of gained speed, by inertia.

Choosing the right place to learn

a place to learn how to willy-nilly ride a bicycle

The result of your training to perform a trick depends largely on the right place. The road or playground should be perfectly flat, without kerbs, potholes, bumps and other irregularities. Pay attention to the fact that there were no people or those present do not interfere with you. In order to stand on the back wheel, it is preferable to choose a platform or road with a slight slope: this will help to accelerate the bike well to the desired speed.


bicycle helmet

As life practice shows, it is unlikely you will be able to perform a trick without falling down the first time. Therefore adjust yourself to the fact that you will have to meet repeatedly face, hands, back and other parts of the body with hard surfaces and asphalt. From this follows the first mandatory point of preparation and the following:

  1. Equipment. Even if you have never worn a helmet and elbow/knee protection, now is the best time to put it on. At least you’ll keep yourself safe from abrasions and serious injuries. Experienced stuntmen in one voice say that learning to ride on the back wheel of a bicycle without a fall is unreal. Moreover, even professional riders sometimes fall, so helmet, elbow pads and kneepads – our everything.
  2. Get on the back wheel can be on any bike, but it is better to perform the trick on the mountain bike with wide wheels measuring 26 inches or BMX. Durability of mountain bike frames is noticeably higher than in other models. In addition, this bike has a greater resistance to mechanical damage, equipped with a reliable fork, derailleur and handlebar.
  3. It is most convenient to stand on the rear wheel at low speed. It is recommended to raise the saddle to the maximum height at which you can comfortably pedal. The point is that the pelvis in the saddle is of great importance when performing the trick: you will as if to hold the seat of the bicycle with your hips.
  4. It is also important that the braking system is working properly. Ideal, but not obligatory – hydraulic. Also any other brakes will do. The main thing is their serviceability and flawless work.

There is another point worth paying attention to in preparation for the trick – the choice of gear. Too small will not allow to accelerate the bike well, and too high will not allow to keep the balance. Experienced tricksters prefer to stand on the rear wheel at speed 2 – 6. However, beginners who find it difficult to keep their balance, it is more convenient to get up on the rear wheel on the gear 1 – 3.

Riding technique

mastering the willy

Mastering the trick “villi” should begin with the skill of raising the front wheel. To do this you need to accelerate to a speed of 15 km / h and hold the wheel with straight arms, as close as possible leaning on it. At the moment when the pushing leg of the cyclist takes the highest position, you need to quickly shift the center of gravity back and simultaneously with the effort to press the pedal, sharply lifting the handlebar on itself. The laws of physics will not fail: at this point, the front wheel will rise above the road, and roll the bike will only on the back.

Read also Trailriding – what it is, features

Do not jump to conclusions: you have not yet learned how to ride on the back wheel. Experienced riders advise to work on the skill of detaching the front wheel from the road to perfection. Only after that you can move on to the next stage. On polishing skills will take more than one day. Only after standing on the rear wheel you can on the first try, you can begin to learn to keep the balance on the bike. Do not do without mistakes and falls: experience should find a point at which the bike will not fall in different directions when trying to make a willy. If you fall backwards, you can level the bike with the rear brake, if you fall forward, start pedaling faster. If you tilt the bike sideways, the following manipulations will help correct the situation:

  1. Left – bring your left knee as close to the frame as possible, and move your right knee as far away from it as possible.
  2. To the right – bring the right knee as close to the frame as possible and move the left knee as far back as possible.

As you learn to stand on the rear wheel and ride on it, at the same time learn how to jump off the pedals. This skill will save your back if you fall backwards. To jump off, you have to lift your body over the saddle and move your legs backwards. By inertia, the bike, held by the handlebars, will still move forward for some time.


Having learned to take the front wheel off the ground and ride a few meters on the back, proceed to mastering the next skill – maneuvering. There are two possible ways to keep your balance:

  • standard – using the steering wheel;
  • counterbalanced – with your knees.

When riding on the rear wheel, you can change the direction of motion in the usual way – by turning the steering wheel in the right direction. But all actions should be performed in a mirror manner. That is, to turn the bike to the right, you need to turn the handlebars to the left and vice versa. Not every cyclist can quickly change from normal to mirror mode, so be prepared that it will take you a decent amount of time to practice the skill. An alternative way to change the direction of the bike is to shift the center of gravity. This can be done by using your knees to be used as a counterweight.

Read also Uphill – how to learn, tips

Stock up on patience and green – falls are inevitable. Most cyclists train for at least a week to freely ride 20 meters on the back wheel.

What mistakes can arise

Do not panic when riding a bicycle

To master the willie and surprise others with a flawless ride on the back wheel, you will have to work hard and fall down more than once. But the result is worth it: you can shoot spectacular videos and draw the attention of the opposite sex. In the process of learning can be difficult. If you have a good mountain bike in good condition, have the necessary protection, a baggage of patience and an irresistible desire to learn to ride on the back wheel, then you only need to learn the most common mistakes of beginners:

  1. Fear. It is inherent in everyone, and often it is this feeling does not work out the skills. Therefore equipment and the ability to jump off the bike at the right moment will be very helpful here. This will help get rid of the fear of falling.
  2. Mastering the skill of riding on the back wheel, do not become on the pedals. At least do not do this until you learn how to perform the villi perfectly.
  3. Under no circumstances should you panic or make any sudden movements. Learn to control your fear so that if you fall, you won’t hurt yourself. Perform all elements of the villa smoothly, without jerks.

And the most important advice to beginner stuntmen: keep in shape. Without some practice, raising the handlebars with the front wheel in motion is not as easy as it seems at first glance.


Looking at how professional riders deftly jump on stairs and curbs, ride on the back wheel of the bike and perform a variety of acrobatic tricks, you want to try to do something similar. Good preparation, patience and persistence will help you to achieve the desired result. In just a few days you will be able to surprise others with a flawless performance of the willy.

Read also How to learn to ride a bike without hands: tips

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Comments: 1
  1. Paul Soto

    Great article! I’m an experienced cyclist and this is a great tutorial for learning how to ride a rear wheel on a bicycle. I’ve been riding bikes for years, but it’s always helpful to have new tips and techniques. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

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