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Riding a bike in shabbat


Rabbi David Sperling

Nisan 16, 5777
​I know that some forms of exercise is prohibited. But I ask is it permissible to go for a leisurely bike ride? There is this Lake I like to ride my bike around. It is a beautiful scenery. Animals, Birds, wonderful trees everywhere and I just feel in touch with nature and our heavenly father. It always feels like a spiritual experience. ​
Shalom, Thank you for your question. It's wonderful that you want to use Shabat as a time to get in touch with the holiness of nature – and taking strolls in parks is certainly permissible (and praiseworthy) on Shabbat. As to the use of a bicycle – the consensus of Rabbinic opinion rules out the use of a bicycle on Shabbat (- except perhaps a bicycle that is obviously a child's toy, such as a three wheeler). There are several reasons for this prohibition. 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 (the Shabbat boundary) 2. One might come to repair or fix if broken 3. It's a daily activity not in the spirit of Shabbat" So, with this in mind, you would do better to stick to walking through nature – which is itself (apart from keeping to the laws of Shabbat) more natural, and slower. Leaving the man made machine and transportation for the weekdays, and focus on slowing down and becoming more in tune with the holiness of the world. Many blessings.
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