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Old 10-12-08, 04:17 PM   #1
Daytrip
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Amish and Bicycles?

Maybe members from Pennsylvania like Grasschopper and RoadtoNowhere can answer this question, but I don't understand why the Amish don't ride bikes. At least I've never seen them do it. Somebody told me that it has something to do with rubber tires. Given the technology of bicycles, you'd think they'd be all over it.

OK, I understand there would have to be compromises. Maybe only black, steel bikes with reflectors or something. Obviously, no CF. I'm kidding. I know that trying to make sense of what the Amish will and won't do--and more importantly--why, is an exercise in futility, at least at my intelligence level.

On a recent vacation in Wisconsin, I encountered many Amish along the road as I rode my bike. I always waved and they always waved back, but I found myself thinking--why don't you guys get one of these?
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Old 10-12-08, 04:33 PM   #2
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I don't know if they ride bikes or not but I really enjoy running a buggy down and passing it. Its just something about passing something putting out 800 or 1600 watts.
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Old 10-12-08, 04:48 PM   #3
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Floyd Landis was raised Mennonite, which depending on how conservative the sect can resemble the Amish.
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Old 10-12-08, 04:52 PM   #4
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They DO ride bikes. There is a large (2,000 or so riders) ride in N. IN/So Michigan around Howe IN called Amishland and Lakes. It's beautiful and two days or riding around Amish country. You'll see lots of Amish folks - mostly young boys, girls, and women - riding their bikes from farm to farm or in to town. These are true Amish, too, that are completely off the grid. They're not Mennonites.
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Old 10-12-08, 04:57 PM   #5
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I don't know if they ride bikes or not but I really enjoy running a buggy down and passing it. Its just something about passing something putting out 800 or 1600 watts.
It seems to me that most buggies would be putting out 746 watts.

Honestly, I've seen some amish on bikes, but it always seems to be the younger end. It always seems to be older bikes though. Perhaps the overdone graphics ad bright on many newer bikes are a turnoff?
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Old 10-12-08, 04:59 PM   #6
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Wanye and Holmes county Amish (as weel as any others I have seen) do indeed ride. Most of the time they buy the biggest frame they can fit on, put the handlebars as high as they can go so they have a very straight up right position. I think it is the law around here that you have to have a rack with a plastic milk crate attached to it.

The local cargo trailers they use are kind of cool. a aluminum box that kinds of looks like an old cooler that hooks to the seat post.

My daily commute is though amish country and I often pass 2 0r 3 in the morning and at least 5 coming home. Never use helmets, seldom use lights or blinkies dressing traditional clothes they make good bike ninjas.
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Old 10-12-08, 05:00 PM   #7
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They do.. most of the ones I've seen in PA have these pseudo bikes though.


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Old 10-12-08, 05:09 PM   #8
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Up in Northern Indiana, the Amish definitely ride bikes. They are plain and black, just like their buggies, and generally either a three speed, SS or a recumbent of all things.
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Old 10-12-08, 05:13 PM   #9
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a recumbent? That's cool.

I love that this country has people like the Amish that are able to live as they feel they need to. What a great country
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Old 10-12-08, 05:32 PM   #10
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Well, then I stand corrected. Thanks.
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Old 10-12-08, 05:36 PM   #11
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The Amish and Mennonites are all over on their bikes here in Central PA. All kinds of bikes. Including a lot of very nice recumbents.

My favorite LBS is an Amish place. Absolutely fantastic.

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Old 10-12-08, 05:38 PM   #12
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Does anyone read Yehuda Moon and The Kickstand Cyclery? I think the frames they sell in that cartoon are Amish made.
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Old 10-12-08, 06:15 PM   #13
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It depends...

In strict sects Amish don't ride bikes. But many sects are more lenient. So it really does depend. Some even have telephones in the barn (so I hear).

One of the coolest sights I have seen cycling was a young Amish (or menonnite) boy in a wagon pulled by a miniature pony. Bearing down on him from behind was a large tractor pulling a device that required a full two lanes of road. I wish I had a camera for that one...

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Old 10-12-08, 06:19 PM   #14
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Depending on which "Amish" church... you have to use solid rubber, as you are not allowed to trap air.
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Old 10-12-08, 06:31 PM   #15
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I saw many Amish young men at the swapmeet at the Lehigh Valley velodrome on saturday.
I'm sure they have some other name for bike porn though.
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Old 10-12-08, 06:50 PM   #16
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I saw many Amish young men at the swapmeet at the Lehigh Valley velodrome on saturday.
I'm sure they have some other name for bike porn though.
fiets pornografisch
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Old 10-12-08, 07:54 PM   #17
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There is a nice Amish community around us and I've never seen them ride bikes. I love riding past the school, all the kids wave, in general they are very friendly toward bikers. You just need to avoid horse dropping on roads heavily traveled by Amish buggies.
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Old 10-12-08, 08:16 PM   #18
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My father, who was a welder among other things, made me one like that when I was about 9 or 10, used wheel barrow wheels on it and called it my off-road scooter, I spent a couple years doing my damnedest to try and damage it and all I ever did was knock a lot of paint off it.

Dad built 'em sturdy, blasted thing must have weighed thirty pounds... wish I still had it.
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Old 10-12-08, 08:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Daytrip View Post
Maybe members from Pennsylvania like Grasschopper and RoadtoNowhere can answer this question, but I don't understand why the Amish don't ride bikes. At least I've never seen them do it. Somebody told me that it has something to do with rubber tires. Given the technology of bicycles, you'd think they'd be all over it.

OK, I understand there would have to be compromises. Maybe only black, steel bikes with reflectors or something. Obviously, no CF. I'm kidding. I know that trying to make sense of what the Amish will and won't do--and more importantly--why, is an exercise in futility, at least at my intelligence level.

On a recent vacation in Wisconsin, I encountered many Amish along the road as I rode my bike. I always waved and they always waved back, but I found myself thinking--why don't you guys get one of these?
Around here, there are plenty of Amish who ride bicycles. Mennonites, even more prevalently. In fact, one of the higher volume LBS's in the area is a Mennonite-run shop that's out in the sticks.
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Old 10-13-08, 06:36 AM   #20
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I saw many Amish young men at the swapmeet at the Lehigh Valley velodrome on saturday.
I'm sure they have some other name for bike porn though.
Man am I nuts or was the swapmeet more crowded than usual? I still only sold 40 shirts, but at least it was enough to pay for the trip up there
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Old 10-13-08, 06:41 AM   #21
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It seems to me that most buggies would be putting out 746 watts.

Honestly, I've seen some amish on bikes, but it always seems to be the younger end. It always seems to be older bikes though. Perhaps the overdone graphics ad bright on many newer bikes are a turnoff?

perhaps they simply cant afford new bikes so they pass them down...
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Old 10-13-08, 08:11 AM   #22
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Old 10-13-08, 11:00 AM   #23
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First, you guys have to realize that you are looking at several groups that would all look "amish" to your eyes.

The Amish love to ride bikes, but THEY CAN'T OWN THEM.

the have to rent or borrow bikes so that they are not owning them themselves.

The Mennonites also ride, but there are different sects. Some can drive cars, for instance, others can't.

For the Mennonites, there is a sect that cannot use the pnuematic tire. you'll see tractors around here with cast iron wheels. It isn't the internal combustion engine they can't use, it's the pnuematic tire. Either way, they can't drive cars, but that's why you have a tractor with iron wheels sitting out in a field.

Around here, both groups ride bikes. They do tend to have old bikes. you will never see them riding with a high cadence. They are very much like the Dutch in that regard. Maybe that's why they are called the Pennsylvania Dutch, who knows?

but the basic idea is that alot of Amish and Mennonites do ride, and ride as their main transportation, too. I see it all the time around here. But while they may look the same to us, there are alot of internal differences within the varied communities, so you need to learn about each of the different sects to really understand what is going on.

hope this helps
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Old 10-13-08, 11:07 AM   #24
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Around here, there are plenty of Amish who ride bicycles. Mennonites, even more prevalently. In fact, one of the higher volume LBS's in the area is a Mennonite-run shop that's out in the sticks.

That wouldn't be Merv's bikes out there on Fire House Road out toward Shippensburg would it?
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Old 10-13-08, 11:27 AM   #25
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That wouldn't be Merv's bikes out there on Fire House Road out toward Shippensburg would it?
Yes it would. Was the destination of my 71 mile meander last Wednesday. jgedwa goes there also - and more frequently than I do.
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