Amsterdam is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. As soon as you step foot in Amsterdam, you will notice the massive amounts of bikes on every street and around every corner. They're absolutely everywhere.
For locals, biking is the preferred mode of transportation. It's offers faster speeds than walking, and more flexibility than the tram.
Biking is so engrained in the culture in Amsterdam, that even extreme or harsh weather doesn't stop people from hopping on their bikes!
Moreover, what other city has turned boats into bike parking lots?
Surprisingly, it was on my third trip to Amsterdam that I biked for the first time in this city! It really is a walkable city, and public transportation is so good that I just never bothered with renting a bike for the day. But on my most recent trip to the city this summer, I was staying with friends and they graciously let me use their spare bike.
While in Amsterdam, biking around the city can be a really fun and quick way of seeing the city. But make sure to abide by the following rules so that you can fit in with the Amsterdammers, and not piss them off! They don't exactly have much patience for tourists on bikes!
Tips for Biking in Amsterdam
1. Stay off the bike for at least a few hours and try to be a good pedestrian. Amsterdammers don’t appreciate bad cyclists so if you haven’t been on a bike in a while, might not be best to try it here.
2. If you are insecure of your skills riding a bike, consider doing a bike tour guide rather than biking as mean of transport. It's easier to locals to spot and avoid bad (or inexperienced cyclists) if they're in a designated group.
3. Avoid rush hours of 08:00 to 09:15 and 17:00 to 18:30. When people are going to work, everyone is in a hurry and this is when you will face the most angry Dutch bikers. This especially applies in the parks; Vondelpark is like the highway of people going to work.
4. Stay close to the right hand side of the bike lane to let people pass you. The bike lane is marked by white lines and bike symbols.
5. Don't bike side by side with someone, even if you know them. You have to give room to let people pass you.
6. Avoid staring at the canals, flowers, shops, etc. If you're on a bike, bike. If you go slow, you will surely attract unwanted attention.
7. Don't use your bell to let people know your coming. Your bell is for immediate danger.
8. Stick to smaller streets, so you can avoid as many people as possible.
9. Don't bike under the influence. Really. You most likely can't do it, so you will swerve, and they will hit you.
10. Check your breaks before you take off. Most bikes in Amsterdam have bike pedal breaks instead of hand brakes, so test them before you start riding.
11. Don’t stop for no reason, you have priority almost at all time (except the Tram has priority and pedestrian on zebras but only on zebras!)
12. Cross tram lines at a sharp diagonal, it's easy to get your bike wheels stuck in them. And if a tram comes, it won't be a fun experience.
13. Lock your bike! If you're bike isn't attached to the Earth, then expect it to be gone when you get back.
14. Don't stress out! Simply pay attention to what you're doing and abide by the rules above, and you should be just fine!
Bike rentals cost about 10€ per day. Here's a list of bike rental locations in Amsterdam.
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