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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-03-06, 02:03 AM   #1
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How about those Amish?

I know they are carfree. Are they bikefree too? That would be one drawback....
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Old 01-03-06, 04:18 AM   #2
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I'm curious too. How do Amish define what is acceptable technology and what is not? Somehow I doubt I will be able to find loads of information on this by googling...

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Old 01-03-06, 06:18 AM   #3
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I used to tour in Amish country all the time - beautiful people, and I loved buying foodstuffs from them because they made them so delicious.

Some Amish use bikes, but they don't let their kids use them. Most others are patently against them, apparently (I wasn't aware of this at the time of writing this post. I just looked it up in one of my Amish history books, and bicycles were banned by the Amish in the 1890s. There are different orders though, with different rules). The Southern NY Amish loved that I was travelling with full camping and touring gear on my bike. I got words and nods of approval from them all the time, which was frankly heartwarming.

Little by little though, the world is forcing them to comply with modernity in ways they couldn't have predicted. Hospital bills in particular tend to eat up what little money they have. Careful of confusing the Amish with similarly austere-looking Mennonites though: I've seen Mennonites in Letchworth State Park roll up in a gigantor RV and proceed to eat Frosted Flakes by my favorite overlook there, and then drive the gas chuffer right back out again.

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Old 01-03-06, 07:24 AM   #4
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Maybe not. Floyd Landis is Amish.

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Old 01-03-06, 07:53 AM   #5
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I've seen Amish riding bikes around eastern Lancaster County PA.
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Old 01-03-06, 09:45 AM   #6
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The Amish do not ride bikes, people that are dressed in the plain style of the Amish that are on bicycles are most likely Mennonites. The amish do allow their children to ride scooters and use roller blades, but bicycles are banned by the Ordnung (the rules that govern Amish society). Also, Floyd Landis was a Mennonite, but he no longer is.
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Old 01-03-06, 11:17 AM   #7
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Lo and behold, there is loads of info on the net about the Amish. Maybe cycling/non-cycling issue varies, there seems to be several groups with different Ordnungs.

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Old 01-03-06, 11:32 AM   #8
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I see lots of Amish on Greyhound busses. They tell me they are visiting family in other areas. Also they were bussing down to New Orleans to help out with Katrina relief.

I used to go to a farm auction in Hillsdale, MI. The Amish came in large numbers. They rode in with their neighbors, who happened to be Mexican farmers and farm workers. I thought this was an interesting example of cultural symbiosis. If they think it's OK to ride in a car with neighbors, why do some of us think it's wrong?

I have never seen an Amish person on a bicycle. I think the young adults sometimes spend a year or two outside the community. Maybe they ride bikes then? If so, it must be hard to stop when they go back....
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Old 01-03-06, 11:36 AM   #9
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There are several groups like the Beachy Amish that are more progressive, but they are not really considered to be Amish by the Old Order Amish that people generally think of when they here the term Amish. Each district can make its own Ordnung, but the Lancaster County Amish do not use bicycles. Those that do would be in the minority like those that use tractors (with steel wheels). Tractors with rubber tires could be used as transportation without the obvious distance limits that horses bring into the mix. It's the same reason that they generally do not allow bicycles. Too much freedom of movement would splinter the community.

The Amish are much less ascetic than most people realize. They have blenders and irons and all kinds of conveniences. They can ride in cars (except on the sabbath, but not own them. They can have electricity and phone lines to their barns, but not to their homes. Some have cell phones as they are not explicitly prohibited in many districts. Each district is run individually so there's a great deal of variation.
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Old 01-03-06, 12:05 PM   #10
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I was on an invitational bike ride near a Dunkard community around 40 or so miles southeast of Cincinnati. They use horses and buggies for transportation but have some modern conveniences that I saw them using such as a weedeater on the front lawn, a forklift at one of thier businesses, for example.

What was interesting was the Dunkard women and children were very friendly and outgoing, waving and saying hi, whereas the men are shy and do not smile. They would turn the other way or look at me suspiciously when I would ride by them. I'm not sure but I think it was because of what we cyclists were wearing (lycra shorts and loud colorful jerseys).
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Old 01-03-06, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfy
[...] What was interesting was the Dunkard women and children were very friendly and outgoing, waving and saying hi, whereas the men are shy and do not smile. They would turn the other way or look at me suspiciously when I would ride by them. I'm not sure but I think it was because of what we cyclists were wearing (lycra shorts and loud colorful jerseys).
Yeah...the kids liked the bright colors and the women LOVED the shorts!
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Old 01-03-06, 02:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
I know they are carfree. Are they bikefree too?
Yeah, sorta. They have 2-wheeled vehicles but, because it would be considered a machine... they don't have pedals that turn cranks and gears and all that. The have scooters, prettty much, but on a larger bike wheelbase.

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Old 01-03-06, 02:38 PM   #13
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Years ago I got caught in a downpour while on a bike ride. I was in an Amish area and was invited to take refuge under a canvas awning where an blacksmith was working. It was fascinating watching him work iron without benefit of modern tools.

I noted that no water was making its way through the canvas and asked him how he had waterproofed it. I expected him to tell me of some arcane mixture of beeswax and turpentine or some such. "Scotchguard" he replied, grinning at me from under the brim of his hat. "We're simple, not stupid."
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Old 01-03-06, 05:26 PM   #14
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The Mennonite communities of southern Ontario use bikes extensively. Like the Amish they have different interpretations of their rules, some even with cars and modern farm equipment. Still the visible majority still use horses, buggies, and bicycles for transportation. Watching them maintain fields with teams of clydesdales is too cool.
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Old 01-03-06, 05:57 PM   #15
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When I was a kid there were lots of Mennonites (and Amish) near my grandma's house. They had cars, but they took all the chrome off. Maybe I'm Mennonite--I don't have any bling on my bike!
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Old 01-03-06, 07:03 PM   #16
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Are there any Amish on the forum we could ask?
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Old 01-03-06, 07:15 PM   #17
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When I lived in PA I lived in Amish country.
A lot of hillbillies where openly hostile to them because they
dont pay taxes or thier buggies held them (hillbillies) up on thier
way to Wal-Mart to pick up a NASCAR T-Shirt. I really respect
them. Thier views on earth and land are very much like mine.
Some people would make money from them by taxi-ing them to and
from doctor appointments in cars and they have thier own sort of
'mating season'....a specific time when they get all the marriages
out of the way. If you are a neighbor they bring you HUGE plates of food
and fruit in celebration. Some Amish sects allow bicycles, some dont....
I consider myself a strong rider but there is NO WAY I could ever carry
the HUGE boxes and chickens and stuff on old, stovepipe, one speed balloon
tired bikes and in a long black dress like Amish women did routinely on Rt. 322
If you could get some of those women in Lycra and even
on an old 10 speed they would scorch the Discovery Team !!
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Old 01-03-06, 08:16 PM   #18
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Lots of Amish on bikes in northern Indiana.
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Old 01-04-06, 04:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olebiker
I noted that no water was making its way through the canvas and asked him how he had waterproofed it. I expected him to tell me of some arcane mixture of beeswax and turpentine or some such. "Scotchguard" he replied, grinning at me from under the brim of his hat. "We're simple, not stupid."


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Old 01-04-06, 09:49 AM   #20
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When I was growing up in Ohio Amish country, my parents would tell me that Amish people did not believe in cars. I took this to mean they could not see cars. I was a confused child.

Now, I live near the Amish settlement in Kalona, Iowa, which has the largest Amish population west of the Mississippi River and is also considered one of the most liberal of Amish orders. They cater to tourists and use many modern conveniences. While many complain about their hypocritcal ways, I see it as people who want to live simply and without excessive outside influences. The Kalona Amish use internal combustion equipment (chainsaws, lawnmowers, tractors), but certainly would not use a car. Each Amish order decides for themselves what is acceptable and what is not.

But, I can't say I have seen any bikes.
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Old 01-04-06, 01:41 PM   #21
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I've heard a lot of good things and a lot of bad things about the Amish. Some of the bad things, namely being incest/sexual abuse and puppy mills, remind me that every culture has its bad people.
On some level I admire them for sticking to their beliefs, but is it more a result of religious fundamentalism then just keeping their lives simple? I dunno, there's still a lot about them that I need to learn.
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Old 01-04-06, 03:06 PM   #22
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i seem to recall a story on some other forum about a road biker out for a ride through the country on his carbon bike when he was passed be another biker... this other biker was an Amish guy on a single speed bike that must've weighed 35lbs... the road biker caught up and had a conversation with the Amish guy... seems he was on his way back home from a trip into town to pick up some supplies... a 60 mile round trip supply run... the road biker in full racing kit noticed himself laboring a bit to keep up and glanced down at his cyclo-computer and noticed they were cruising in the near mid 20's... he also noticed that the Amish guy on the heavy single speed cruiser was not laboring at all... eventually they ended their chat and the Amish guy rode on, dropping the roadie...

don't know if it's true or not but it put a smile on my face
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Old 01-04-06, 07:05 PM   #23
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I sometimes shop at an Amish store just north of Statesville in the small community of Windsor Crossroads. I've seen several of the young Amish (late teens-mid 20s) on bikes, simple, rigid steel-framed MTBs. I saw one Amish woman pulling a bike trailer, loaded with groceries, with hers.

The store is on a popular road for rec cycling, and I often see spandexed roadies taking a break there. So far no Amish/roadie showdowns, though....
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Old 01-04-06, 08:35 PM   #24
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What I've always really liked about the Amish is the fact that they take "Thou shalt not kill" literally. Most Christians who claim they take the Bible literally have lots of clever ways of circumventing this commandment, but the Amish don't.
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Old 01-04-06, 08:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
When I lived in PA I lived in Amish country.
A lot of hillbillies where openly hostile to them because they
dont pay taxes or thier buggies held them (hillbillies) up on thier
way to Wal-Mart to pick up a NASCAR T-Shirt. I really respect
them. Thier views on earth and land are very much like mine.
Some people would make money from them by taxi-ing them to and
from doctor appointments in cars and they have thier own sort of
'mating season'....a specific time when they get all the marriages
out of the way. If you are a neighbor they bring you HUGE plates of food
and fruit in celebration. Some Amish sects allow bicycles, some dont....
I consider myself a strong rider but there is NO WAY I could ever carry
the HUGE boxes and chickens and stuff on old, stovepipe, one speed balloon
tired bikes and in a long black dress like Amish women did routinely on Rt. 322
If you could get some of those women in Lycra and even
on an old 10 speed they would scorch the Discovery Team !!
Yeah, this is about right. I grew up just east of lancaster co. pa and thats what I saw too. Amish people are cool. I do remember a story in the paper one day though, that two Amish guys, Abner Stoltzfus, and Abner King Stoltzfus (no relation, seriously) were busted for selling cocaine.
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