Can the Amish Ride Bikes?
The Amish have many rules and restrictions, so you may wonder “Can the Amish ride bikes”? The answer is different in different communities, and we’ll explain why.
Riding bikes isn’t forbidden in the same way that more modern amenities are, but certain Amish communities frown upon it.
Despite this, many others have embraced the use of bikes and even e-bikes.
What this article covers:
Do the Amish Ride Bikes?
The simple answer is that yes, Amish people do ride bikes. However, not all communities use bikes as a mode of transport.
Amish culture isn’t monolithic and there are a lot of different opinions about the use of bikes. Some communities rely on bikes for transportation, while others prefer more simple push scooters.
It’s important to remember that the Amish are not the only group who dress plainly and avoid modern tradition. Bikes are very widespread amongst Mennonite communities, and you might mistake an Old Order Mennonite for an Amish person.
Why Don't All Amish Communities Ride Bikes?
While the Amish all form part of the same religious group, it’s essential to remember that they aren’t a single unit. Each community has its own rules and traditions.
However, you will often find communities with similar customs near each other, as a sign of the connection between communities.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has very low bike usage, while places like Holmes County, Ohio, have a large population of Amish bike riders. The usage of bikes can sometimes be linked to general levels of progressiveness, but not always.
For example, parts of Lancaster Country are more progressive in some ways but still don’t use bikes. The question of bikes is a great example of diversity amongst the Amish.
Amish Bicycles Without Pedals
Because only some Amish communities use bikes, certain misconceptions have come about. One of these is that the Amish are only allowed to ride bikes with no pedals.
However, this isn’t true. There’s no rule against the use of bikes with pedals. In fact, avoiding bikes is more a matter of tradition than scripture.
One reason that people may believe this is because of the prevalence of push scooters amongst the Amish, particularly in Lancaster County. However, this has nothing to do with pedals.
Why Do the Amish Ride Scooters?
So why do some Amish communities prefer scooters over bikes? Well, one reason is that scooters require more labor to use and are technologically simpler than a bike.
Some Amish communities prefer this and feel that bikes allow one to move too fast in an unnatural way, like a car. If you were wondering “Do the Amish drive cars?”, the answer is no.
However, they’re allowed to be driven by non-Amish people. They aren’t prohibited from being in a car, and it’s one of the ways Amish people travel long distances.
The initial expensive price of bikes were part of the reason they weren’t adopted by the Amish at the time and never became part of Amish culture in the way that basket weaving has.
Can the Amish Ride E-Bikes?
There have also been some significant changes in the Amish way of life among more progressive communities. This includes the adoption of solar power by some households.
While Amish people generally avoid electricity, the major prohibition is that they may not be connected to the electricity grid. This is because of the role that self-sufficiency plays in their lives and culture.
One modern convenience that’s becoming more common amongst the Amish is e-bikes, particularly in Holmes County, Ohio.
While they try not to be involved in the modern world, Amish people do still live in it. Another example is that Amish people can ride trains for long journeys.
This is useful as the Amish cannot fly on planes except in special situations.
The increased use of e-bikes has allowed Amish people to travel further independently and for much cheaper, which allows for more independence.
So, at the end of the day, some Amish people do ride bikes, while others prefer simpler forms of transportation. It’s easy to forget that there are many differences of opinion amongst the Amish.
While they have a lot of common ground, you cannot assume that all Amish people think the same. To learn more about the Amish, you need to look at individual communities and their customs.
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