Bicycle Tours, Amsterdam
The Yellow Bike shop was right next to our hotel (Hotel Inntel Amsterdam Center) so it was a no-brainer for us to just rent from there, and we did not regret it! This outfit is run by a bunch of really cool, easy-going and friendly people, who made sure that we were satisfied customers. Our trip to Amsterdam was definitely memorable due to the fact that we rented our yellow bikes!
We started with a quick, easy tour of the city (totally recommended), with a charming tour guide named Scotty (totally wrong spelling). Her English was flawless and she kept it fun but informative. Our group had English & German speakers, so when she did the German bits, us English-speakers took the opportunity to pose for pics. Worked out really well! We noticed that the tours were divided up by age groups, which we didn't mind - I have a feeling the young ones were going to rush through the sights :) But if you like it fast, no harm asking to join the younger group.
Then, after the tour, we just kept the bikes, locking them up overnight to a tree outside the hotel, among the gazillion other bikes. They became our only mode of transportation the whole time we were in Amsterdam.
The city is definitely bicycle-friendly, with clearly marked bike-lanes and only the slightest inclines over the canal bridges. And having our yellow bikes really let us do everything at our own pace. Didn't have to wait around for trams and we could park anywhere. Maybe watch out for scooters. For some reason, these high-speed vehicles are allowed on the bike lanes in Amsterdam but then again everyone seemed so civilized & considerate that I didn't notice any dangerous NYC-type encounters.
I want to mention a particularly memorable visit to Rijk Museum, where you're actually allowed to cycle through the building!
On our last day, we took the bikes on a 20 minute train ride to Zaanse Schans, for a glorious day of cycling among the windmills! Perfectly okay'd by the Yellow Bike people. At the Amsterdam Central Station, we just went to a ticket counter and bought a permit for about six euros per bike, then just hopped on one of the train cars that were clearly marked for bicycles. We took the non-express stop train (direction Alkmaar) to the Koog-Zaandijk station. At Koog-Zaandijk, we discovered that you can take your bike down the stairs by wheeling it down a tiny drain built into the side of the wall. From the station, we simply followed the signs for a leisurely ride over quiet streets and a draw bridge to Zaanse Schans.
A tiny note to those who don't want to stand out as tourists because these bikes are yellow: think about it... who wants to steal a bright yellow bike? And I found that people were smiling at us and being super friendly , I think because we stood out as tourists. A few times, when we stopped at corners to get our bearings, locals would actually walk up to us un-asked and help with directions!
Definitely check out the Yellow Bike company.
We had seen the taxi bikes around but did not know how we could arrange a ride. Then on our walk to pick up our tour bus we noticed a number of taxi bikes waiting near Dam Square the home of the White National Monument.
So we decided a taxi bike was to be our ride home after our outing into the country.
So we actually arranged a mini tour of the city with our return to our hotel...We included the red light district! The few photos will show you some of the other sights we saw.
And notice that the cheese shop not far from Anne Franks house is 'Cheese for the Dutch' not the tourist variety.
What fun it was and I had to admire the strength of our 'driver' though we are both small 'girls'...not too hard to pull.
Nice to be on the same side of those 'killer bikes' for a change as while we were out walking we really had to mind ourselves.
Most standard city bikes feature a pedal brake and 1 speed (you don't need more, since the city is flat like a pancake). All the following bike companies accept credit cards as well.
If you want to avoid looking like a tourist, head to Bike City in the neighbourhood of Jordaan
Tel +31 (0)20 6263721
Bloemgracht 68-70 (Trams 13, 14 & 17: Westermarkt or 10: Bloemgracht)
Daily rate: See more on the website
Deposit: ID & €25
Also for rent: Bikes with hand brakes/gears, children's helmets and seats, free baskets & pump/repair kits for longer journeys.
Reservations are desirable. City maps available for purchase. Staff-suggested routes available.
Damstraat Rent-a-Bike offers the most comprehensive collection of rental bikes, including the "Granny" bike, the most popular and traditional bike in the city. They also rent by the hour.
Tel: +31 (0)20 6255029
Damstraat 20-22 (Dam Square)
Daily rate: From €9.50
Deposit: either a credit card imprint for 3 bikes. (more than 3 bikes, one extra European Union ID or passport); 1 ID and €25 per bike (more than 3 bikes, one extra European Union ID or passport) or €200 per bike. Please note: valid ID includes a passport, European ID-card or European driving license.
Also for rent: 21-speed touring bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, tandem bikes, foot scooters, children's bikes and accessories.
Reservations online. City and surrounding area maps for purchase. Staff will suggest themed routes (cafés, churches, markets etc.)
It's obvious you're not from Amsterdam if you rent from MacBike . All their bikes are bright red and have a big MacBike sign screaming 'tourist'. However, on the plus side, the local bikers will know to be more careful when they see you.
Tel: +31 (0)20 6200985
-Centraal Station Eastpoint, Stationsplein 12
-Mr. Visserplein, Mr. Visserplein 2 (Trams 9 & 14: Waterlooplein)
-Leidseplein, Weteringschans 2 (Trams 1, 2, 5, 7 & 10: Leidseplein)
Daily rate: From €8.50
Deposit: ID & €50 or credit card
Also for rent: Bikes with hand brakes/gears, hybrid bikes, children's bikes & accessories.
Reservations are not necessary. Free city map with rental. Several tour maps (e.g. architectural, gay & neighbourhood) available for purchase. Also several guided bike tours.
Open 7 days a week from 9am until 5.45pm.
You power yourself pedaling while sitting at the bar in the middle of a huge bicycle-----a 2 hour tour of A'Dam from 10-22 people runs 475 euros---I assume that is full free bar at these prices---looks like fun, but.....
I was standing in my hotel looking at a load of stuff to do in the lobby and this guy, who I later found out was Sean, was waiting to give his flyers to the person at the desk. He saw me looking and handed me his map. It has the coolest 75 things to do on it and he said it was a lot of his favorite stuff. We started talking and then he invited me to come out and meet his wife. They gave me all of this info about Amsterdam like what to do and what not to do. Then he invited me to come on his bike tour on Thursday for free. He is just opening on that day and they are doing some crazy thing where you say "April Fools" and come the first day for free. I am going to check it out and report back. I am travelling alone and it was cool to have someone be nice like that. I am going on the city tour.
So I went on the tour and it was worth it. There was so much info on Amsterdam that I did not know, and I have been here twice before. There were only 7 people and we went all over the city stopping at different locations along the way. Sean was a really good guide and spent time with everyone when the tour was over. He told us the places that he goes in Amsterdam that aren't so well known. My bike was good, but it was really hard to ride through the streets with all the other bikes and cars. I had to go slow! Sean's wife Allison was in the back with me and we talked a lot. I can say this was a worthwhile thing to do, and we had sun most of the day.
Most bicycle rentals in Amsterdam have these bright colored bicycles on which you obviously look like a tourist! There is this place that has typical Dutch black bicycles which are really cool, you look like a local!
They also have these cargo bicycles for kids!
You can indeed rent a bike at almost any railway station in Holland for very little money (see list on www.ov-fiets.nl , in Dutch, click "where" = "waar"), but you do need to show an ID and deposit a caution for the bike (generally 50 Euro in cash).
For cycling day trips around Amsterdam, you have an accommodation in the city, and start cycling there. Amsterdam is not that big; within half an hour or so from the centre you're more or less in the countryside.
On the other hand, hotels (and B&B) outside Amsterdam are generally cheaper. Within less than 1/2 hour by train from Amsterdam (and many trains per hour until late) there are plenty of nice old towns around, like Haarlem and fortified Weesp.
For cycling around Amsterdam.
Just north of Amsterdam there's "Waterland". The traditional Dutch flat landscape. Canals, windmills & small villages.
Just southeast some more variation. Like the above, but also more woods and even (very low) modest hills in "het Gooi". Plus castles & mansions, and old fortified towns.
Look on Google-maps (sat-view) or a good map of the region, and you'll see the difference.
Due south there's first the hughe park "Amsterdamse Bos" (Amsterdam woods), and some nice Dutch countryside, but you'll be rather close to Amsterdam Airport.
West of Amsterdam there's a lot of port & industry.
For guided or self guided cycling day trips in and around Amsterdam :
On the other hand, renting a bike and just taking off on your own or with friends, nothing wrong with that. Holland is great for cycling. On the internet there's plenty of information on routes and things to see, and you can focus on just the things you're interested in. Looking around and preparing a trip, that's also part of the fun.
Many visitors find the bike scene in Amsterdam a bit overwelming even if they are experienced with such back home. Amsterdam has more bikes per capita then almost anywhere else and it really is a way of life here. We use them for transportation everyday in every kind of weather. Amsterdam has so many unmarked and hidden bike paths that no map could ever lead you correctly thru the ins and outs that is Amsterdam biking. So, spend a day following a local around to all kinds of great places. www.ganjatours.net offers some great bike tours for example.
This was a great way to see the surrounding area of Amsterdam. Before heading off we were given a short history of the city and very interesting it was too.
Don't worry if you're not an experienced bike rider or are not as fit as Lance Armstrong as the terrain is very flat and the bikes are easy to steer. Fortunately you don't have to take on the Amsterdam traffic too much, just watch out for the trams. We took a short ride around town and then took a route out into the countryside.
We stopped off at a great looking windmill and took in a cheese farm and clog shop where we saw how the wooden shoes were made.
The bike tour takes about 4 hours in total. Great fun!
Everyone rides bikes there, so you have to join in... just make sure that you keep to the left!!! HAHA
We did a bike/boat tour with MIKES BIKE TOURS! highly recommended... you even get free beer on the boat & the tour guide is great!!!
you start near the Van Gough Meusem, cycle all through the city (including the red light district) & then you cruise down the river where you can buy sandwhiches and drink FREE beer with the tour guide explaining the history of the city!
Mikes bikes was awsome. At the time i was 21, and found it very interesting. It would be my opinion that anyone 18+ would really enjoy this tour.
Let me set the feel of the tour;
Welcome to Amsterdam - one of the liveliest cities in the world. With canals, crazy leaning buildings, lashings of drugs, prostitution, street entertainers and, of course, archaic Dutch bikes everywhere, this city achieves a wonderful eclectic mix of crazy urban thrift-soup only the ever-accepting and incredibly friendly Dutch could achieve.
This information is proudly brought to you by Mike's Bike Tours to help make your stay in Amsterdam much easier and more enjoyable. We hope you'll find it helpful and valuable. It reflects the relative value and quality of our services in general and, like our tour, strives to be the best. We offer the BEST tours of this fantastic city. We'll show you numerous points of interest, offer lots of advice and insider tips and help you develop a great sense of orientation.
Mike's Bike Tous Amsterdam offers two seperate tours throughout the year. Our Daily Bike Tour, meeting every day from March 1st through November 30th goes through the city and countryside visiting sites like a windmill and a cheese farm/clog factory. Our Bike and Boat tour is new in 2004. This tour meets three times a week June through August. Check out the sites, both old and new, go for a ride on a boat and relax in the park, all on one tour.
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An excellent one-day escape to Volendam.
Distance: less then 20 km each way
Things to see: two windmills, rural canals, houseboats, villages, Volendam, dams.
See pictures for the route map.
Start from the Central Station in Amsterdam (find bike rental there), pass underneath the station, and take ferry across the bay (each 10-15 mins). Here the ride begins. Continue along the left bank of the canal. Go through the park and cross bridge to the right. Immediately take left and continue along the right bank. Mind a windmill on the left bank. Approach N235/247 crossing and continue left without crossing. Cross N235 under the bridge ride along the Landsmeer-Broek road to approach N247 again. Take left and go along the highway till the Volendam traffic lights. Take right to Volendam (mind another windmill museum). Volendam is the end of the route with that a tourist village can offer.
Return path is mostly the same way (well, nobody is perfect) but you can leave Volendam along the dam. One can even climb the dam and take look down the valley – easy to figure out that it is below the sea level.
Vondelpark is a great place to start out when renting a bicycle for the first time in Amsterdam. The park dates from the 1800's and it's paved trails wind through meadows and around ponds without the added distraction of street traffic. Dutch residents and families come here to enjoy outdoor activities if the weather permits - roller skating, jogging, dog walking, biking, picnics, sunbathing or just sitting on a bench reading or people watching. There are numerous entrances and exits but you can't get lost. You can also rent skates at Snoephuisje (near the Amstelveenseweg entrance) preceded by a pancake breakfast.
I discovered that hiring a push bike is the best way to see a lot of Amsterdam quickly and with ease. There are many designated paths for cyclists, even with their very own traffic signals. It's safe and riding around the city is a breeze due to being flat.
You are also provided a lock with your bike so it may not get stolen.
There are many places to hire one. Best to find one closest to your hotel. Concierge may assist you with the closest locations.
Note that I found it very comfortable riding in the cold winter days. Remember to wear some gloves and a beanie (hat) to keep you warm from the cold air.
Both times I've been to Amsterdam I've taken this bike tour which is a lot of fun. It takes you to the outskirts of the city where you can see windmills and a cheese and clog factory. The tour takes about 4 hours and at the end they take you to drink beer at the local pubs. We had a great time, I recommend it.