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Dozens of bikes parked outside of a large garage-type building.

LOTS OF BIKES ON THESE ROADS

You’ll see bikes everywhere in LaGrange County. Both Amish children and adults alike frequently utilize them as their daily transportation, and the traffic on all the country roads is sparse enough to make recreational biking a common hobby here as well. When you add to that the new sidewalks and walkways around the town, AND the fact that the Pumpkinvine Trailhead in Shipshewana is the most traveled, it’s easy to understand why bikes are so prevalent.

A woman rides an adult trike in Shipshewana while wearing a safety vest.

 

Something you may not see as much of in other areas, are the various types of bikes that are popular in Shipshewana. Three-wheeled “trikes” are common because their stability makes them safer and easier to pedal and park. It’s possible that you will also see tandem bikes with two or more seats, so couples or family members can ride together. Many bikes will have open or covered trailer-type attachments on the back to accommodate groceries, supplies, and sometimes small children. All of these types of bikes may also be electric.

 

An electric bike is parked on a sidewalk.

ELECTRIC AMISH

Many people are taken aback when they learn that the Amish here use electric bicycles, due to the very common misconception that the Amish shun all modern technology, which is just not true. That’s not what they do. They stay off the public grid, and energy that they use, they usually produce themselves. That is why you will see Amish homes all over Elkhart and LaGrange counties with solar panels, propane tanks, and battery-run electronics. This is not new, and it is also NOT consistent.

There are 21 Amish districts in Shipshewana alone, and every one of them has their own set of guidelines, chosen by themselves and their Bishop. New technologies are not discarded out of hand, they are considered based on how much they think this technology might have a negative effect on their homelife, families, and community.

The electric bicycle allows the Amish to get a little further, a little bit faster, without as much work for themselves or their horse, less mess and room taken up on the road, and without driving a car. The electric bikes are also powered by batteries that are themselves powered by solar energy. It’s a win/win for everyone involved, and an example often cited when people are considering ways to shrink their carbon footprint. They’ve also adopted the wearing of neon safety vests to make themselves more visible to drivers.

A man rides a regular bicycle while wearing a safety vest. NOW BACK TO THE BIKING

Bikes are a big deal here, and local bike shops sell and service all of the types of bikes mentioned above. Visitors can rent bikes if they don’t want to transport their own, and it’s even possible to book your bike rental online before you get here! The Pumpkinvine Trail is a wonderful local bike bath, and a trailhead is located right next to downtown Shipshewana (next to a bike shop, and now a bike mural!)

It’s a solid surface biking/walking trail connecting Shipshewana to Middlebury, and to Goshen, and then all the way back again. This well-maintained 17 mile trail weaves through the beautiful Northern Indiana countryside and offers stops along the way to sit in the shade, grab some lunch or ice cream, watch Amish farms, and check out attractions.

Finally, if you like your biking a bit more extreme, feel free to visit the newly opened Mountain Bike Trail at Duff Memorial Park in Howe.

 

Two children ride bikes on the Pumpkinvine Trail.

BIKING EVENTS

During the summer months, you may be able to find local biking events to participate in. Here are some scheduled for Summer 2024.

BIKE INFO

Shipshewana Bike Rental – Bike rentals are made online and can be picked up at the Farmstead Inn at 370 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana.

Otto’s Bike Shop – Amish Owned bike rental and repairs are made at 8275 W 450 N, Shipshewana. For more information on renting or bike repair please call (260) 768-7223.

Trail Riders Shipshewana – Bike rental and repairs are made at 305 N Morton Street Shipshewana. Cash and personal checks only.

Pumpkinvine Cyclery – Reserve bikes online and pick up at Pumpkinvine Cyclery at 413 N. Main St, Middlebury.

Essenhaus Bike Rental – Reserve bikes at Das Dutchman Essenhaus at 240 US-20, Middlebury.

Planning a Trip?
Stop by the Visitor's Center for local tips, referrals, FREE coupon books and visitor's guides. We are located at 350 S Van Buren St.
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