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Bicycles on shabbat


Rabbi David Sperling

Elul 28, 5773
I grew up told that you can’t ride a bicycle on Shabbos because it used a chain. Today there are chaineless bicycles on the market. I live far away from a shul but that certainly wouldn’t be a rationale to use a bike. I have seen rabbis who permit foot propelled scooters(not electric) for use on Shabbos. Can those principles be applied to chaineless bikes?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct that the consensus of rabbinic opinion forbids riding a bicycle on Shabbat (- except perhaps a bicycle that is obviously a child's toy, such as a three wheeler). Though the reason for this prohibition is not necessarily only because of the chain. In an answer on this site Rabbi Lewis writes :- "Rav Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 7; 30) brings three reasons to prohibit bicycle riding on Shabbat: 1. One might ride out of the Eruv 2. One might come to repair or fix if broken 3. It's a daily activity not in the spirit of Shabbat" Even with a chainless bicycle these problems exist, as I assume the problem of a puncture still exists, as well as the other issues. So, even with a chainless bicycle one should refrain from riding on Shabbat. May you be blessed with Shabbats of rest and holiness.
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