Upon arriving in Amsterdam you can’t help noticing that the Dutch like bikes. In fact, the 750,000 people who live in Amsterdam own over 600,000 bicycles. In a city built for pedestrians - sporting such car-unfriendly features as narrow streets and canals, far too few parking spots (at premium fees), and single-lane one-way only traffic mazes - a bicycle is the most logical form of transportation.
In Amsterdam, just about everyone bikes. It is not unusual to see mothers, grandmothers, business people, police officers, hippies, and so on happily bike along. Some people walk their dogs by bike. Others use it to bring home groceries, flowers, furniture, children, girlfriends or anything else one can think of.
Bikes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. A group of alternative artists in Amsterdam North custom-welds two or more bike frames into fantastic creations that have its riders tower high above the road.
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.
Up til now this was a part of Amsterdam that I had not visited before. So it is always a nice surprise to turn a corner and find yourself in yet another surrounding.
But before we did that, I looked at one of the houses and saw a familiar sign painted daintily on the wall: Bicycles will be removed.
So it's a good idea not to park your bicycle anywhere near a sign Fietsen worden verwijderd. Even if the sign is obviously put there by the owner of the building.
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.
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.
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!
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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There are plenty of places to rent bikes in the city. It's a great way to see around and there are even trips you can take by barge to locations in the country and then they drop you off with your bike and pick you up at another location at a predetermined time or date. With bike paths everywhere literally, there is no worry about car and truck traffic.
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!
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