To mark the 100th anniversary of Einstein's special theory of relativity, the Science Museum in London hosted the performance of the “Einstein Flip”, the first ever bicycle trick designed by a physicist. Ben Wallace, an 18-year-old BMX rider, succeeded on his first try.
It is widely believed that Albert Einstein was riding a bicycle when he had his inspiration for the famous theory that rewrote the laws of physics and led to the development of nuclear energy.
To perform the trick, Wallace started off a 1.80m ramp and completed a 360-degree backward flip in midair. He also inserted a move called the “tabletop” into the flip, which involves tilting the bike to one side and pushing against it in order to cause a spin in the opposite direction.
Physicist Helen Czerski, who invented the trick, explained that it owes more to Newton than to Einstein. She used a computer to plot Wallace's motion, and was surprised to find that “Yes, it could work. Having said that, I wouldn't want to try this myself — however much I trust my physics calculations!” For his part, Wallace said knowing the trick was actually possible helped his confidence. New tricks are usually developed through painful experimentation alone.