I just spent a few days driving around visiting relatives in the bucolic agricultural areas around Mifflinburg, PA. Most of the farms in this area are operated by Amish and / or Mennonite families, and so I had a lot of opportunities to observe the way they set up their bicycles.
The typical Amish person seems to ride a mid to low-end mountain bike, but I did see a few riding around with drop bars and I even saw one riding a high-zoot bike with a carbon fork and STI controls. It was somewhat bizarre seeing such a bike operated by a man in blue jeans wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
I didn’t see any suspension forks at all.
All the bikes (even the racy road bikes) have what appears to be a Pletscher rear rack, with a cardboard box attached by the spring-loaded arm.
I’m not sure about this, but it seems to me that if you’re Amish, you only ride a bicycle until you get married and have a family, and after that, you use a horse-drawn buggy for transport. I saw several buggies with what appeared to be parents and infant children inside, with the older children following the buggy on bicycles. Buggies seem to have a top speed of around 12mph, which the bicycles can easily match.
I also got the chance to drive my car on unlit farm roads at night, and I was able to check out how they equip their bikes for night-time travel.
All they do is put a red LED blinker on @the back, and what appeared to be a cateye EL-530 on the handlebars.
Brightly colored clothing is taboo or whatever, and so they are damned hard to see at night, especially from behind.
I was also amazed at how much of a difference pedal reflectors make. I came up on bikes both with an without pedal reflectors, and I will never ride without them again. Pedal reflectors make a HUGE difference to a driver coming up from behind. Without them, a cyclist is a single point of red light; blinking away in the darkness. With them, it is obvious that the thing in front of you is a bicycle, and you get an immediate idea of how wide it is, how fast it’s moving, etc.
Pedal Reflectors. Get some.
Also kind of interesting is how groups of cyclists clump together. They ride two-abreast in a kind of peloton. People with headlights in the front, people with taillights in the back, and masses of unlit bikes in between.
Even though it is winter, nobody wore exotic, cold-weather bicycle clothing. The men were wearing the same Carhart-style jackets they probably wear to milk the cows in the morning, and the ladies wore sweatpants under their skirts (I make an effort to see what’s going on under Amish ladies’ skirts every chance I get.).
I got the distinct impression, that these are not the sort of people who spend endless hours debating the finer points of pneumatic trail, lugs versus TIG welds, “planing,” or any of the other endless sources of bullshit that bicycle people on the internet waste their time discussing. Noneless, they probably log more miles than any of us, and do so with significantly lower cash outlays.
They are “transportation cyclists” every bit as much as the fetishized residents of Copenhagen.
If it weren’t for their objections to being photographed (thou shalt not make graven images), I think an amishize.com or something similar would be a nice counterweight to the fashionista bakfiets brigade.