We all know Amish travel by horse-and-buggy. Most ride as passengers in cars, and pretty much all Amish will take the bus or train when need be.
But how about shorter trips? Here are 5 more ways Amish get from point A to point B:
- Bicycle. The bicycle is a standard, especially in larger Midwestern Amish communities. Amish bicycles can be pretty fancy. In places like northern Indiana, Amish ride them to work and on errands along busy roads. So comfort and safety features such as rear-view mirrors are valued. Recumbent bicycles (the kind that looks like you are leaning back in an easy chair) are sometimes seen as well.
- Scooter. Like the buggy, the Amish scooter is something of an icon. They are typically made from welded steel, with a foot brake and basket, and come in primary colors red, green, and blue (though pink frames have been spotted). There are at least a couple of scooter manufacturers in Lancaster County, including Groffdale Machine Co. Scooters are seen in some other communities, for instance, among the Swiss Amish of Allen County, Indiana.
- Two feet. Foot power never goes out of style. And the type of shoes Amish wear reflects the amount of time they spend on their feet. Some might think Amish prefer only the plainest shoes, but as in other things Amish are practical. Keds and Skechers are popular brands known for their comfort. Good’s Stores, among others, sell shoes to a Plain clientele in Lancaster County.
- Rollerblades. Donald Kraybill’s Riddle of Amish Culture features a pair of rollerblading Amish girls on the cover. It’s one of those striking images, like photos of Amish strolling on the beach or talking on a cell phone, that seems to somehow show a contradiction of Amish life. However rollerblades are considered a useful and mostly harmless form of transport in some communities. Rollerblades are more often used by youth, and are probably most popular in Lancaster County.
- Horseback. It’s true you’re more likely to see an Amish person galloping down the road on horseback than bouncing along on a pogo-stick. But not much more. I include it here because occasionally Amish do ride horseback, both with and without a saddle. I’ve seen adolescent Amish girls riding recreationally in both Holmes and Lancaster Counties, for example. People wonder why horseback riding isn’t more common. Donald Kraybill has this to say: “Although farmers will occasionally ride horseback to and from fields, horseback riding is generally discouraged because it borders on a worldly form of sport” (The Riddle of Amish Culture, p. 70).
Read more on Amish transportation.
Photo credit: Rollerblades-M. Jeremy Goldman