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Courtesy: Steve Yencho, Water of Life

The original reverse riding bicycle was created by engineer Destin Sandlin as a way to explore how the brain works and make unconscious decisions. You can watch the original video here. We were introduced to the backwards bike by Steve Yencho, our mentor and founder of Water of Life.

Backwards Riding Bike

Backwards Riding Bike


While you can buy your own here, it's very expensive and less fun than building your own. We took these build directions directly from the internet. It is important to note that you are not making a bicycle from scratch, you are simply changing the gears. 


The whole point of the backwards riding bike is simply the fact that the bike goes in opposite directions than what you're used to. The instructional we found makes the gears out of Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) plastic. Print out a picture of the gears—or draw them yourself—glue it on to the plastic and cut it out with a bandsaw. Matthias Wandel has a fantastic gear template you can find here


The gear mounts are simply two handlebars holding them in place. Take one of the handlebars and cut off the clamping tube, make sure to file it off when done. Remove the bolt and cut a few inches off of the tube. Next, create 3 equal tubes at the bottom, the depth should be the same thickness of the plastic. These slots will then create various "teeth", align these teeth with the other tube and mark—it is imperative that these connect perfectly. 


After you finished fitting the metal pieces together, center the end of the tube on the gears and mark where the teeth will land. Drill this area out with a Dremel tool, be sure to take your time as this can be tedious. Repeat the process with the handlebars, each should have a gear mounted to it. 


On the bike, cut the fork from the bottom of the stem, but leave the bottom bearing. Cut the head tube from the frame and install the stem, bearings, and handlebars with gears. Trim the extra tube so it fits in the bike frame; make sure the gears don't touch. Et voilà! You have backwards bike!

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