Bicycles are a rarity in the Amish community though they are not entirely prohibited. Let us dive deeper and know why can’t the Amish ride bikes with pedals.
We are living in an ever-changing world. With modern amenities and technological advancements, our life has also changed manyfold. However, there are still communities that shun these advancements.
The Amish community is an exciting blend of the dystopian future clubbed with the 18th and 19th-century traditions. No, they are not the Sentinelese or Amazonian tribes.
These communities live amidst the urban and rural settings of the modern era but prefer practicing a lifestyle that is away from modern gadgets and thingamajigs.
The History of the Forgotten Christian Fellowship – The Amish Community
This traditional Christian community follows the principles of the Mennonite Church. Their faith relies on the principles of Ordnung and Meidnung. While Ordnung is the german translation of Order, Meidnung refers to shunning away.
Their preaching believes in following the Order and shunning away anything that opposes. The doctrine of simplistic lifestyle is heavily inducted into the faith and belief of the Amish community.
Their lifestyle is slower-paced than the rigor of modern societies. Primarily concentrated in areas in and around the state of Ohio, the Amish community is also prevalent in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wisconsin.
Walking through the community often makes one feel as though they have traveled to a very different era. Believing in the motto of a simplistic lifestyle, no car, mobiles, or laptops are prevalent in this community.
Ardent followers of hard manual labor are the driving force of the community. So in most cases, they are seen to be heavily involved in farming and other such manual work.
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Though the Amish church originated in the Swiss valleys, it later diversified into two separate sects, known as Old Order Amish and the Amish Mennonites.
Post the 1st half of the 18th century, a considerable population of the Amish Church migrated to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania and nearby. That’s how the present-day Amish Community of the country came into existence.
Interesting Life Choices of the Amish Community, You Did Not Know About
The Amish community is a fascinating study. Despite living in the middle of a fast-growing modern civilization, the Amish community is a laid-back yet very hardworking group that solely relies on themselves for sustenance.
Their minimalist lifestyle and shunning of technology are often marveled at by research experts worldwide.
What makes them unique is the sense of obedience this community abides by. In addition to the generalized orders the Amish community abides by, some of the rare and unique orders include
- Modest dress code devoid of any ornamentations or bright colors. Neutral and bland color is the only option.
- The absence of buttons and zippers in clothing is compensated with drawstrings.
- Children attend school until the age of 14. After that, they either go for vocational training or get involved in working with family.
- Dolls used by Amish kids to play do not have faces drawn in them, which again is to preach the idea of modesty and neutral belief.
- Musical instruments are prohibited.
- Communicating with children of other communities is prohibited until they reach adulthood.
- Though dating is allowed among Amish teens, they are mostly sent into arranged marriage settings within the same community.
Amish people have a very different thinking process that generally does not reverberate with modern American culture. As believers in the “will of Jesus,” they shun away individualistic identity and labor-saving technologies.
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The simplistic lifestyle and dressing sense includes hand-stitched clothing items and coveralls devoid of any designs and fancy add ons. Electricity, telephone lines are a complete no within the Amish community.
Their cuisines are also very simple and often include homegrown products and meats. Today, numerous Amish restaurants across the United States serve Amish loaves of bread, pickles, and desserts.
The absence of insurance and social security may seem like a daunting risk for most Americans today, but it is a way of life for the Amish community. Home churches and a designated schooling system for the kids are also a very usual scenario here.
Family time is extremely crucial and never compromised on. This means they are deeply bonded with extended families living elsewhere too. However, rather than traveling by modern means of transport, the Amish community prefers ponies, hitchhiking, or special pedal-less bikes.
Yes, you read it right. They do not even ride pedal bicycles in the majority of the cases.
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So, Why Can’t The Amish Ride Bikes With Pedals?
Though using a bicycle is hard labor in itself, why do Amish people forbid using pedaled cycles is a widespread query the majority of the people wonder about.
Here lies a multi-faceted answer that requires a deep dive into the traditional world of the Amish community from the 19th century.
Pedal Bicycles and Their History With the Amish People
During the late 18th century and mid 19th century, bicycles were an expensive commodity. The beautiful and sleek vehicle was quite a rage among the people.
Speeding through the rough gravel surface and reaching destinations within hours was a boon in the world where horse carriages were bothersome and more time-consuming.
However, even bicycles had their issues.
- They were costly and way beyond the reach of an ordinary man. Priced at approximately anywhere between 100$ to 135$ during the late 1800s, it was obnoxiously overpriced. That is equivalent to about 3500$ today. It was not an option they liked for a community that lived a simplistic life with bare minimal earnings.
- Those days roads were not just gravel and pothole-ridden but hardly ever paved. They were prone to accidents on uneven road surfaces because we all know the buttery-smooth roads of today are the marvels of modern-day engineering. That meant more accidents and less safety.
- Thirdly, bicycles were synonymous with the sense of an invisible authority that Amish belief did not like to abide by.
This is how the scooter came into existence, a practical and cheaper alternative that resonated with the Amish beliefs and ethics.
Scooters – The Alternative to Bicycles With Pedals
If you land amidst an Amish community, the first thing you will notice is people of all ages zooming through the undulating terrains in these tiny scooters with large bulbous wheels on them.
Commuting through all kinds of landscapes, these scooters will make you feel inferior despite the brand-name car you are driving in.
The design of an Amish Scooter
What the Amish community refers to as Amish Scooter is known worldwide as Kickbikes. A flagbearer for the world of eco-friendly transportation, a kick bike is just a simple metal frame attached with a handlebar, footrest, and two large wheels on the front and rear end.
The kick bike is a straightforward yet effective automotive design, solely driven by a manual effort of the feet.
The gearing mechanism generally seen in any wheel-based vehicle is missing in an Amish Scooter. The main reason is that gear is seen as a complex technology that promotes vanity and pride. SO instead of gear, the foot is used to control the speed of the vehicle manually.
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The usability of an Amish scooter
Scooters are a pretty standard mode of transport among the Amish community. They are simple in design, easy to use, cheap, and fit into their life motto of manual labor. Many manufacturers specially make Amish Scooters due to the heavy usability of foot-driven scooters among the Amish community.
Yes, it does happen. For instance, Groffdale machine is one of the biggest manufacturers of these Amish scooters. The lightweight aluminum framed scooters designed today are not much different from the basic steel framework scooters first made in 1976.
Answers to Some More Questions You Might Have About the Amish
Why don’t the Amish have pedals on their bikes?
The absence of pedals in Amish bikes is more to do with their belief than practicality. Nowhere in the biblical reference is pedal vehicle shunned.
It is said that since bicycles were expensive and unsafe during the initial years of the launch, Amish people preferred not to use them. Additionally, pedal bicycles were regarded as a complex technology that made life easier. So, they chose not to be enticed by it.
This preference continued for centuries into the modern Amish practices. However, these days many Amish communities across the United States have begun to use bicycles. There are numerous communities where the newer generations even operate geared bikes.
Can Mennonites ride bicycles?
Among the Mennonites, there is no restriction on riding a bicycle. There may have been a period during the 19th century when pedal bicycles were looked down upon as luxurious and against the belief of the faith, but not anymore.
Moreover, today bicycles are far more convenient and safer transportation than hitchhiking and car rentals.
Why do the Amish not drive cars?
The Amish Community of the Christian faith believes in simpler living devoid of any technological advancements. They have stayed away from electricity for over 200 years now where we cannot imagine surviving even a few hrs without it.
Leave smartphones; Amish people do not even use standard landlines. This is the reason they do not drive cars or any other motorized vehicles. Cars are motorized vehicles which is a technological advancement for sure.
However, they do rent cars and hitchhike rides from travelers if the need arises. After all, driving may be forbidden but taking a ride-along is not.
What can’t the Amish use?
The beliefs of the Amish community have changed a lot in the past few decades. But there are a few core essential rules that are still strictly abided by. These includes
- Prohibition to drive motorized vehicles or use electricity
- Computers and phones or farming machinery are not allowed
- They do not wear fancy items of clothing or any accessorization or makeups
- They cannot initiate divorce proceedings or join the military.
Some specific sects of the Amish community even prohibit using zippers and buttons and refrain from wearing any other color except Black.
A Diversion From the Fast-Paced World – The Amish Community
Recently, the community was in the news for the kidnapping of two young American Amish girls. Though the girls were returned to the family unharmed, this episode opened up a long-lost channel that many did not speak about.
The fascination with this odd community of people who are rapidly growing in size has always been there. The minimalist approach adapted within the Amish community has been marveled by the GenZ that solely relies on technology to survive.
After all, it is rare to see a live scenario where the debate is if one should choose a pedal bicycle or a food scooter when the world around is battling which car or iPhone to buy.