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Free Online Games : Canvas Rider

Updated on August 27, 2011

Free Online Games : Canvas Rider

Not many free online games survive without flashy graphics and engaging sound, but Canvas Rider finds a way.

This addicting game uses monochromatic line drawings, basic keyboard commands, and an unlimited supply of bicycles to create an amazing time-killer. You can jump into the race on a random track created by anonymous riders in cyberspace, or you can create your own custom terrain and contribute it to the Canvas Rider database.

When it's too cold (or hot) to go outside and actually ride a physical bicycle, try this game. If your boss actually expects you to remain at your desk throughout the workday, this game offers a nifty substitute for punishing your real body.

An amazing free online game.
An amazing free online game. | Source

Getting Started

Canvas Rider is a user-supported gaming system. You have thousands of tracks from which to choose. You can choose to have a random route chosen for you, or you can click on the Track menu option and browse through a short menu of selections. Twenty seven tracks at a time appear in the menu: more are available in subsequent screens.

You can drill down into the track database by the following categories:

  • All
  • Featured
  • Popular
  • Biggest
  • Most played
  • Most thumbs up
  • Contest winners

Assuming that you have some familiarity with other folks who are involved in the web site, you can also search for a track by designer/author. Many designers have submitted multiple tracks.

Little Big Planet by marckisawesome
Little Big Planet by marckisawesome

One Interesting Track

A very interesting track is "Little Big Planet" by a designer named marckisawesome. You and your bike are placed in a furnished living room. Your challenge is to ride the edges of all the furniture, the bookshelves, the hanging pictures, and the area rugs.

You get to jump from item to item in the room. If you land off-balance or (heaven forbid) upside down, you end up in a crumpled heap and the game ends. Don't worry too much: you always get a new bike, for free, and a new body to pedal it around the room.

A (relatively) gruesome crash.
A (relatively) gruesome crash.

How to Lose

The game ends when you crash or ride off the track into oblivion. Crashes are not gory in the modern style of a graphic video game, but your little stick figure flips and flops in an uncomfortable manner. Your bike gets mangled beyond virtual repair. Should you crash on an incline, your body and ride may slide downward until reaching equilibrium.

Crashing is probably no big deal to battle-hardened online gamers who have grown accustomed to blood and guts. Witnessing a little stick figure get twisted and mangled probably won't scar anyone to any great extent. However, if you've ever crashed a real bike on a real trail, watching your helpless avatar suffer a similar fate just might send a virtual chill up your spine.

How to Win

We don't know.

We were never able to defeat a track. Perhaps there's a beginner track that's easy to ride, but we didn't find it.


Staying upright and balanced is the overarching goal of every track we encountered. Should you pop a wheelie, you may find yourself over-rotating, landing on your head, and crushed by your ride. It's not a pretty sight.

Always look ahead and be prepared to pedal harder (press the up arrow on the keyboard) should you encounter an uphill climb. If you find yourself flying through the air, use the left and right arrow keys to bring yourself back into balance, with wheels down. It's imperative to try to land with your wheels roughly parallel to the landing surface.

3D Skatepark Run by Spyder
3D Skatepark Run by Spyder

Visual Effects

Visual effects are slightly more modern than 1980's Pong games. Simple and elegant line drawings can be surprisingly engaging, but don't expect 3 dimensional scrolling multi-player first-person shooter real-time experiences. All this game needs is a slightly undulating black line on a white background. You and your bicycle challenge those lines.

Audio Effects

This game has no sound that we we able to identify. Given that the courses are user-contributed, the only reasonable background noise that the web site could provide might be a tedious repetitive back-beat or the sound of a chain running through a derailleur. Most track designers are not audio engineers, so it's probably unreasonable to expect them to provide sound effects along with their courses.

Educational Value

There are some nifty physics built into this game. A physical bike isn't going to change its rotational direction in midair, but using the keyboard to balance the machine and rider in mid-flight is a mini-lesson in momentum.

Perhaps young riders will learn that they truly do not want to crash. Certainly experienced riders who have lived through violent crashes (including this author) will be reminded of how much it actually hurts.

The Secret Valley by lolz666
The Secret Valley by lolz666

Is this game safe to play?

This game is written in JavaScript, a programming language that executes entirely within your web browser software. The program code downloads to your computer when you browse to the site. JavaScript is designed to be harmless to your computer hardware and software. There are no JavaScript commands that would permit a programmer to 'attack' or 'infect' your system.

This game should be completely safe to play on any computer with a browser program that supports JavaScript. Most modern browsers such as Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, and Safari support this language. Some browsers may have JavaScript support disabled: ask your IT support person for assistance.

Advertising appears on both sides of the gaming window. We noticed no offensive images or products. The game appears to be child-safe. Ads can be removed entirely by maximizing the game window to the size of the browser window.


Rating Scale:

  • 1 = poor
  • 10 = superior

We rate this game in relation to other free online games.

Game Concept:: 7. Controlling a bicycle in 2 dimensions is a unique concept

Strategy: 1. Grasping the game strategy is simple. Mastering the game is still challenging.

Playing Experience: 8. The game remains challenging because a virtually infinite number of tracks are available. Every track has nuances and artistic values as a function of the designer. Visual effects can be stultifying if you're not simpatico with the track designer.

Multimedia: 2. Black lines on a white background are not engaging, relative to modern online games. The visual effects are absolutely sufficient to communicate the look and feel of the game, but most players will expect more.

No sound can be better than bad sound. Open or in another browser window.


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    Post Comment

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Admin 70 minutes ago

      well i guess this game is ok but check out (redacted)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wow nice you used my track as an example :)

      also to win you must collect all the stars that authors place throughout the game.

      The game is made using HTML script.

      Check out this guys tracks ;)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wicked game, click on one of the top ten, and you then race against the shadow player.

    • Psycho Gamer profile image

      Psycho Gamer 

      7 years ago from Earth

      How to Win

      We don't know.

      We were never able to defeat a track. Perhaps there's a beginner track that's easy to ride, but we didn't find it.

      ----> i laughed so much with this part...i mean so much

      it looks like a nice game...imight give it a try..beautiful hub...very nicely done

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Boredperson111117778 : Pedal backwards?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      how do you change direction? O.O :(

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Matt Wrote:

      Very interesting game and addicting as well. Got stuck on some level and cannot progress now.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Deutschland

      absolutely nice

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Games have evolved... I like the "whole body" activated games...


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