The Amish Scooter
The horse and buggy is the obvious transportation icon of the Amish but the scooter must be the runner up. Though not all Amish use them they are the classic horseless vehicle among the Amish in Lancaster County (where bikes are not really seen) and a number of other communities.
Scooters were big a few years back when a scootering craze seemed to hit English society. Those of course weren’t the easily recognizable metal frame Amish style but a lightweight small wheeled version. I finally learned to ride an Amish scooter last summer and though if you give me the choice I’ll take a bike, I can see why they’re popular (of course they’re most popular going downhill).
Scooters are made by at least two Amish sources in Lancaster County, They come in different sizes and a limited range of colors. Here’s more on a Lancaster County maker of Amish scooters.
Purchase an Amish-made Scooter
Want to buy an Amish-made scooter?
Scooters made by Lancaster County Amish company Groffdale Machine are available online.
Here you’ll find the 16″ wheel child’s scooter, and the 24″ wheel adult version.
These are described as the same model ridden by the Amish of Lancaster County.
They come in a variety of classic colors, including navy blue, maroon, black, and dark green.
The kid’s scooters also come in more unusual shades like pink and neon green, or the orange you see above.
Amish scooter photo: Richard of Amish Stories
I always remember my suprise when we were visiting Lancaster county a few years back and saw an elderly gentleman zipping by on a scooter. Here in the midwest bikes seem to be more the norm, and scooters are for generally for kids. But where bikes arent allowed, they do make sense. And that Amish fellow handled that scooter like a pro!
Hey, that’s pretty cool! It gets them where they want to go, and not motorized, and pretty healthy, too! And “economical”.
No car in the USA
When I first came back to the USA, we had no car for about four months, and I did not live in a city. We had bikes and a trolly for my daughter. I was in better shape then.
A scooter to me seems fun if you are going downhill or close distances.
My most popular blog post is on Amish scooters. I intend to get one when we move back to the flat lands.
I loved seeing the scooters. I had one when I was young (60 yrs ago) and spent many hours on it. It only had 9-10″ tires. I could have really rolled on the ones in these pictures!
My understanding behind the scooter vs. bicycle is that the latter are considered “prideful” … I’d love to have one. Are they hard to ride? I’m thinking one would be easier on my arthritic knees.
Robin, thanks for explaining the theory of scooter vs bicycle. That was my first question as I read Erik’s blog.
scooters easy to ride
We are plain-catholics from Ashland county Ohio who have and use Amish-made scooters (with 20 inch wheels).They are probably easier on your knees then a bike,but not easy.They rise great on level ground,should really walk uphill if your not looking to die.Would be good in town,college,etc.They are good to ride,fun;but ya get a workout.
I have a genuine Lancaster County Amish scooter, a gift from some Amish friends. I have used it in four states and is great for flat-land travel. I can do a mile on the flat in about seven minutes. I am hoping to do a scooter road trip in Lancaster County to visit many, if not all, of the families who have hosted my Messiah College students over the years. My friends are amused, if not highly interested. Robin M, contact me if you want more info on where you can buy one. They are manufactured on Groffdale Road, I think, Lancaster County, and cost something less than $200. Rich Stevick firstname.lastname@example.org
I had fun!
Mr. Stevick, thank you for letting me try out your scooter in Pinecraft a couple of weeks ago. It was a lot of fun! I have a picture on my Facebook page and have gotten a lot of comments about it.
Its just nice to see something with 2 wheels that’s still made in America like these Amish scooters, and I’m with Erik in preferring to ride a bike. Here in Lebanon county scooters are very popular as well, and I’ve yet to see anyone try and sneak a little motor on one yet,lol. Richard
It is a stupid question but do you right foot or left foot push a scooter into gear? Does a person always use the same foot?
My Little Person friend Lizzie Fisher brought her scooter to Pinecraft some years ago and scootered all the way to Siesta Keys, which was ten miles.
Katie, I don’t think it matters which foot you use, I guess it depends on which you feel more comfortable with.
I used to use my sisters’ old scooter (from the 1940’s, I’d guess) when I was a kid, and loved it. I remember using my right foot—maybe because I’m right-handed? (Does anyone else have any comment on “handedness” and “footedness”?):) It helped me learn to balance and came in handy when I finally learned to ride a bike in the late 1950’s. I loved that little red scooter, and even used it after I had a bike. I could get it going pretty well back then, and like others have commented, I’ll bet you can go even faster & farther with those BIG wheels (mine were maybe 10″ tops).
I’ve never seen any of those big, Amish-type scooters around these parts. I’d like to hear from anyone who uses one now…especially anyone over 50, like me!
What fun!! I have an Amish scooter (green). Everyday I go little farther and farther. I push with my right foot first (cause I’m right handed I suppose), then on the way back I push with my left. At first It seems a little strange but not long and I’m zipping down the road. You can really get going on them. Especially down hill. You make the most of it. hehe. Great fun and great exercise too! Lissa
Just another thing I love about the Lancaster area ….. seeing the Amish go by on their scooters.
Scooters look not only fun but practical as well. However, I am feeling a bit too old and out of balance to learn how to use one now. But I would be happy to watch the younger generations use one or the older folks who were raised up on using one, LOL.
On the nature of right hand/left hand…
I grew up skateboarding and believe it or not, there is no connection between hand-ed-ness and whether you ride goofy foot (right foot forward) or regular foot (left foot forward). Same with pushing over long distances. You just switch your pushing foot when your leg gets tired (It’s not the one pushing that gets tired, it’s the one your standing on, flexing up and down gets to your thigh muscles.
Some people prefer a certain pushing foot for greater control when setting up to go jumping down those stairs, though.
I’ve been wanting one of those scooters for a while now.
That’s it. Once I put away my horse and buggy I’d be interested in purchasing an Amish scooter. Trouble is I’ll be over 70 years old by then. Maybe a scooter with smaller wheels so that when I fall I’ll be closer to the ground. Less damage; to the scooter of course.
Bikes are OK’d in Holmes Co. Ohio but you see scooters in the Geauga Co. area and the Carroll Co. Ohio area. I recently saw a line of scooters for sale at a fabric/battery store near Middlefield, Geauga Co. including one HOT PINK one that my granddaughter would love. Another mode I see kidsin Geauga Co. using is a wagon on which they kneel with the right leg while pushing with the left leg.
You know, growing up when I did, I don’t recall having many scooters around. I didn’t have one. I had a lot of other “things that went”, lets see, I had a bicycle, I had a skateboard, I had a pogo stick for a while, I had one of those pogo ball things, that might not be the right name, but there was a rubber ball surrounded by a plastic platform which you stood on and jumped, it was pretty cool between 1988 and 1994, when I was a little kid we had Big Wheels too. My street was on a bit of hill too, and the neighbor kids tried to use our toboggans and all assorted snow sliding variations, along with the then trendy “G-T Snow Racers” which actually stood up to pretty good wear and tare even for high school kids. But I never had a scooter.
I remember when I turned about 6, getting a brand new red scooter for my birthday. It had the smaller wheels, about 10″ or so, but could really get it going, even on a flat surface. I learned how to ride a bike a year or two later, but never quite got the hang of it. To this day, decades later, it’s inevitable: if I get on a bicycle, I will fall over at some point *smiles*. It amazes me that I can stay on horseback, even if that horse is bucking hard, or rearing, but I can’t master a simple bicycle! My vote goes to the scooter *grin*. I’d love to see what riding an Amish-style scooter felt like!
Harder than they look
I have a scooter very similar to the one in the picture. I got it at Kauffman’s Store in Loganton PA, and it was about $200 with the sales tax.
I was immediately surprised at how tired my legs became when I scootered. It wasn’t the pushing leg, though, it was the standing leg! In order for the pushing leg to touch the ground, the standing leg has to be slightly bent at the knee. The muscle on the top of my thigh was burning in no time.
As for Katie Troyer’s question, I found that I was wearing down the pushing shoe faster than the standing shoe, so I started alternating pushing legs.
And I second Rich Stevick’s opinion–you have to be younger than we are to operate one of these uphill. Flatlands are much easier. This takes more fitness than a bicycle, in my estimation.
Can you customize the scooters a bit?
I need a scooter that has 6.5” Ground Clearance and an overall length (fully assembled) of 69″ or longer.
Ground to handlebar height: 44” Maximum (adjustable also)