A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
An illustration of the famous quote: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle

Variations of this quote have been around almost as long as the bicycle itself. The origin seems to be a derivative of an earlier form:

God needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

Unknown

This is perhaps the earliest version of the “fish needs a bicycle” quote.

The place [Aragon, Spain] didn’t need an American consul any more than a cow needs a bicycle; for it had no trade with America, and no American tourist ever dreamed of stopping there.

The Hartford Courant, A Connecticut newspaper, 1898. Credit.

Try making a fun quote yourself.

Here’s the formula:
A needs B like C needs a bicycle.

Send us your quote inspired by “a fish needs a bicycle” and we’ll post it here. Or leave a comment below.

More variations from earlier times

A man without faith is like a fish without a bicycle. ~ , 1958.

Man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle ~ .

In recent times, the Quote Investigator did a much better job deconstructing this quote than I did. See the full breakdown of “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Spoiler alert, the quote investigator attributes this to graffiti on a wall as reported by a newspaper.

We found this anonymous contribution to International Women’s Year on a wall at Forest Lodge: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, January, 1975.

And, perhaps, my favorite of them all.

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I really hate this expression. I bet fish would totally want bicycles.

Meg Cabot, Princess on the Brink.

Modern twists

It seems people like their freedom from needing anything as evident in these variations.

A man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle. ~ .

People need government like a mouse needs a cat. ~

In pop culture

Nothin’ much to say I guess
You’re just the same as all the rest
Been tryin’ to throw your arms around the world
And a woman needs a man
Like a fish needs a bicycle
When you’re tryin’ to throw your arms around the world
I’m gonna run to you, run to you, run to you.

More deconstructed bicycle quotes

A wood engraving of a penny farthing from the 1870's.

Taming the Bicycle by Mark Twain

This humorous essay by one of America’s greatest authors gave birth to many famous quotes about riding a bicycle. And it was written in 1884 shortly before women suffragists.

Bicycle pop quiz. A bicycle minus wheel equals what?

Bicycle Quotation Mashup Quiz

Test yourself with this bicycle quotation mashup quiz. We’ve replaced one word with one of the following: bike, bicycle, bicyclist, road or ride. Can you guess the original quote and author?

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  • Avatar Anonymous says:

    A man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle.

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