On February 5, 1930, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to his son Eduard that included a remark that has been translated into English in various ways, including the version we include today: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” Walter Isaacson’s 2007 biography titled Einstein: His Life and Universe included an excerpt in German from the original text of the letter together with a translation by the Information Officer of the Einstein Archives.

German: “Beim Menschen ist es wie beim Velo. Nur wenn er faehrt, kann er bequem die Balance halten.”

Literal English: “It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving can one comfortably maintain one’s balance.”

Einstein, like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and other historic figures, is constantly quoted for things they never said. In this case, Einstein definitely said it, however, there are plenty of examples of others who made similar observations, reaching back into the early 1800s.

VIA | Quote Investigator