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Bicycles on Shabbat

I am in a new city and last Shabbat I decided to go to synagogue for services. After looking one up and calling to get the address, I found that it was far from where I was staying. I have no car and depend solely on walking or riding my bike.

Well, I decided to try my bike anyway because it was far, and I thought that a flat tire could never happen... Yeah, right! I got stuck half-way there with a flat tire that I had no idea what to do in the middle of a town I did not know. When finally some people helped me fix it, it was too late for services... Next week I will try to go to services again, but this time with no bike.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Actually, bicycles should not be ridden on Shabbat. There are three reasons why:

1) Perhaps one will repair the bicycle, such as a flat tire, or the chain might fall off. There is a concern that the chain might fall off, or the tire might get flat, and one would come to repair the bike on Shabbat. This is would be considered "making the bike anew" on Shabbat, which is one of the creative activities we refrain from on Shabbat. ("Tzitz Eliezer" 7:30)

2) Because of "Uvdin D'Chol," i.e - a weekday activity. (Code of Jewish Law - OC 327, with Mishnah Berurah 7)

3) On a bicycle, it is common to travel a distance further than the "Techum," 2000 cubits outside the city. This is forbidden on Shabbat.

In order to guard against these possibilities, we don't ride bikes on Shabbat.

A child's tricycle, which does not have a chain or air-filled tires, and which is not ridden great distances, is permitted on Shabbat.

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