Hiring bikes in Amsterdam is the perfect way to see the sights through the eyes of the locals – cycling is an important aspect of the capital’s culture, and in a city where the number of bicycles outnumber the population, there is no greater way to make the most of the city than hiring bikes in Amsterdam and putting some power to those peddles!
However, in a bid to avoid grazed knees, expensive fines or, worst of all, the sheer contempt of locals, here are our top 5 tips for hiring bikes in Amsterdam!
1) Practice in the park
Cycling on the cycle paths (particularly in rush hour – see below) can be pretty intense. As thousands of Amsterdammers head to and from work, the last thing that they want is someone slowly zig-zagging in front of them. If you’re not so confident on a bike (after all, many tourists haven’t been on one for a long time before they get to Amsterdam), head to one of the city’s many parks and open spaces where you can get into the flow and have a bit of practice before hitting the bustling cycle paths of the city centre! Hiring bikes in Amsterdam is supposed to be a fun and relaxing experience so don’t feel the pressure to hit the streets too early – take the time to enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of the city’s beautiful parks first!
2) Obey the rules of the road… even if no one else does!
Amsterdammers are notoriously bad for breaking the rules. You will see many of your fellow cyclists zooming through red lights, without bicycle lights (illegal at night) and well over the drink drive limit, with the impunity that only locals can get away with! However, if you want to avoid a hefty fine or a nasty accident which is sure to ruin your holiday, the best advice is to stick to the rules of the road and apply some common sense.
3) Chain your bike up to something
Bike theft is a real problem in Amsterdam. If you want to keep your deposit (which can be quite high depending on the Amsterdam bike rentals company that you decide to use), make sure that your bike is securely locked up to something solid (parking in the view of a CCTV camera which are widespread in the city is always a good idea too).
4) Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re not yet too confident cycling or simply fancy peddling along at a more relaxed pace, avoid rush hour at all costs! As thousands of locals speed along in a rush to get home (or to the pub), people have little patience for someone who isn’t keeping up the pace! If you find yourself in the centre of town, why not park up and check out a local brown café and enjoy an after-work drink with the crowds of locals who go into these places for a quick beer after a long day at work. For more info, take a look at our blog on why visiting one of the city’s brown cafés is a must-do Amsterdam experience!
5) Go easy on the booze/weed
Although as clubs and bars empty out, you’ll see plenty of Amsterdammers jumping on their bikes (often two at a time!) and heading home looking a little worse for wear, cycling whilst drunk is illegal and carries a hefty 100 euro fine. Equally, although Amsterdam is seen as the world’s cannabis capital, don’t be stupid enough to cycle stoned. Save it for when your bike is safely parked up and you’re free to enjoy partaking!
Been inspired to get on your bike? We know just the place…
Now you’re prepared to enjoy a safe and fun cycle through the streets of the city, check out out this Amsterdam bike rental for more info and get ready to hit the city in true Amsterdam style! For more ways to see Amsterdam from a local perspective, read our blog, and if you want to board a boat on the water to ‘cruise like a local’, take a look at our partner’s website Starboard Boats.