Before we begin, we would like to let you know that on August 27-30 we are hosting Intro Days. More information & sign up can be found HERE
When you think of symbols of the Netherlands, some of the first things that come to mind are canals, tulips, windmills, and of course – bicycles. There are an estimated 23 million bicycles in the country, meaning that there are 1.3 bikes per person.
As a student living in Amsterdam, having a bike certainly comes in handy, as you will need a way to get around the city and public transportation can be relatively expensive. However, for many people new to Amsterdam, finding a bike that is both affordable and high quality can be a difficult task. So before you start searching for bikes on your own, we suggest you take a look at some of these helpful tips!
1. What are the prices of new and second-hand bikes?
For most students, the price is one of the most important factors when choosing their bicycle. New bikes are rather expensive, with prices starting at about €200. Additionally, it is not uncommon to have your bike stolen, so buying a new one might not be the best idea. That is why we suggest you opt for a second-hand bike. These can cost anywhere between €50 and €200 euros, depending on where you find them and what condition they are in. You may be able to find bicycles even cheaper than this – sometimes you will even see people selling them for extremely low prices in the city center. However, keep in mind that those bikes are most certainly stolen, and both selling and buying them is a criminal offence.
2. Where can I find a second-hand bike?
So, where can you find affordable second-hand bikes? The first option we would recommend is the bike rental service Swapfiets. They are a partner of ESN The Netherlands, and they offer high quality bikes (both new and second-hand) for a small monthly fee. You can also get free services such as repairs, and as a student you can get a special discount. This makes it one of the most affordable and secure options for students in Amsterdam.
However, if you would prefer to buy a bike rather than renting, Facebook is always a good place to start looking. You can check out Facebook Marketplace, or many of the Facebook groups specifically dedicated to selling bikes. Additionally, you will often see posts by other students selling their old bikes in Facebook groups of different student accommodations.
Finally, if you want to try out different bicycles before committing to buying one, we suggest you check out the marketplace at Waterlooplein. You can find a variety of different bikes here for an affordable price, and the vendors are usually very helpful and will let you test out a couple of bikes before buying them. They also often sell bike locks, lights, and bells here, which you should also definitely always have when cycling in Amsterdam.
3. What are the rules for cycling in Amsterdam?
Once you have bought or rented your bike, you should still remember a few basic rules about cycling in Amsterdam. Firstly, it is very important to be safe when riding a bike. That is why you should make sure to follow all the basic rules of the road: only bike in designated bike lanes and indicate with your hand before turning left or right. You should also always have a functioning bell and lights. You can find these for a couple of euros in markets and stores all around Amsterdam. Some places we recommend checking are HEMA or Action. Lights are especially important to have, as you can receive a €60 fine if you are caught cycling without both front and back lights at nighttime!
In order to prevent your bike from being stolen, we also recommend buying a good quality bike lock. Many second-hand bikes come with an attached locking mechanism already, but it is certainly worth investing in another more secure outside lock, especially if you are living in an area where bicycles are frequently stolen, such as the city center. Additionally, always make sure to park your bike in a designated parking area or bike rack.
If you park your bicycle illegally, it may get removed and delivered to the Fietsdepot. If that happens, you can contact them at 14020 and pay a fee of €22.50 to reclaim the bike. You can only do so if you still have the key to the bike lock.
Most importantly, we recommend that you never cycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as this can be extremely dangerous. Again, if you are caught with a blood alcohol count of 0,05% you can receive a fine – and this one is €100!
We hope that these tips have been helpful, and that you will be able choose the best bike for you! We wish you a fun and safe time cycling around Amsterdam!