Moving around Amsterdam on a bicycle is one of my top three reasons for calling this beautiful, vibrant, creative, entrepreneurial city my home. 10-20 minute bike rides to get anywhere are the norm in this city, and biking is like a rite of passage in to ‘local-hood’. Cycle for 30-40 minutes and you can be out amongst beautiful green fields and villages.
So, assuming you’ve managed to rent a bike, or bought a bike yourself, here are some favourite fun tips, facts and riding spots for you to enjoy...
Fun Bicycle Facts in Amsterdam
There’s more bicycles than people in Amsterdam. For a population of 851,000 there’s around a million bicycles!
About 200 bicycles are stolen every DAY and over half of those from out the front of someone’s home, in the daylight. Bicycles are now even being ‘stolen to order’! (So forget strong locks and pimping your bike, why not try a more creative solution below under My Fun Tips).
Between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of the canals every year, many of which were thrown in o the canals by hooligans. Check out this YouTube video
There’s 400 km of dedicated bicycle paths in Amsterdam (the same distance would take you to Luxembourg).
A third of all journeys in the city are made on a bicycle, and that figure is still increasing as car ownership goes down.
This morning, if you are reading this on a weekday, 72,000 people were cycling during rush hour.
Copenhagen knocked us off our ‘Most Bicycle Friendly City’ perch in 2017, citing a lack of progress in our cycling infrastructure.
TOP TEN LOCAL TIPS FOR HAPPY BICYCLING IN AMSTERDAM
Make friends with your local bike shop.
It took a few shop visits before I found my bike shop. They went out of their way to find the right pre-loved bike for me, and for years now, they welcome me enthusiastically when I walk in (and even give me a hug!). If you’re not in to fixing your bike yourself, they will take good care of your flat tyres, busted bike lights or desired accessories, and generally just keep your bike running smoothly and happily. They love you even more when you refer your friends.
Create inner-peace by skipping the centre of Amsterdam
Some people find it stressful riding in the high traffic and high-touristed areas in and around Dam Square for example. Amsterdam is so small, just a small detour on a lovely side route along a leafy canal may only add five minutes to your ride, but it will add mountains to your sense of peace and wellbeing.
Make it a mission to never take the same route
There are so many beautiful neighbourhoods, streets, canals, and bridges. Just by varying your route a little every day, you will discover new spots and get to know your city like an old-timer.
Avoid the rain and download the Buienradar app
Yes, this took me a year before I clued in. I’m guessing you didn’t move to Amsterdam because of their awesome weather! This app will tell you when the rain is coming! In addition to that, good rain pants are useful, as are ditching the high heels.
Keep your bike forever with the support of your own personal bike fairy
Yes you read correctly. It really works. I had a car parking fairy in Australia who would find me a car park in our busy inner city streets every time without fail. Now, I have a bike fairy. She keeps my beloved bike ‘Audrey’ safe and sound and she’s always there when I need her. The trick is to always say thank you and be grateful!
And for when you have visitors coming over…
Rent a bike in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has lots of bike rental stores, so which one to pick? MyHotelBike teamed up with exclusively selected bike stores in Amsterdam and with 94 5-star reviews, as of today, you are pretty sure of a good service at these shops. The prices vary from 10 to 15 eu a day, when you add more days to your rental time, you lower your amount per day. Kind staff will help you hop on your bike, so you can start sightseeing this beautiful city!
Favourite Cycle Spots of a Local
Travel the tunnel right under Rijksmuseum and visit Museum Market
This never loses its attraction. The only Museum with a cycle path right underneath. Admire the beautiful arched tunnel, and enjoy the music often played by classical musicians there. You will be treated to the ‘Iamsterdam’ sign and the many and varied activities on offer at Museumplein, most notably the Museum Market every third Sunday of the month. A special bonus at Christmas time, check out the stunning and unique holographic Christmas Tree in the atrium of the museum as you cycle past, then visit the Christmas Market or go ice skating!
Visit the Amsterdamse Bos (or one of our many beautiful parks)
Enjoy a relaxed and refreshing ride through one of our beautiful parks. Of course there are the beautiful city parks of Vondelpark, Westerpark and Oosterpark, yet just a little further, South-West of the city, is the Amsterdamse Bos. A stunningly beautiful forest, with beautiful waterways, swimming spots, cycle and walking paths and various activities.
Go for a swim in Amsterdam Zuid
Just past Olympic Stadium, at Jan Wilsbrug Brug, cross two cycle bridges and find yourself on a little island, full of grass and shady trees, and a jetty from which you can jump in for a swim on a hot day. Just sitting on the banks you can enjoy watching the boats of all shapes and sizes cruise by.
Take the passenger ferry to Noord
Another favourite, from behind Central Station, hop on the passenger ferry (it’s free!), and cycle across to Noord. There you will find the Amsterdam Lookout, The ‘Eye’ Film Museum, or some beautiful green lands and waterways. If you want to discover an innovative and funky cafe by the water, visit Cuevel Cafe with a mission to recycle, upcycle and demonstrate sustainable living and eating. You can chill out in some of the reconstructed boats, swing in a hammock or take a swim after your coffee.
Cycle the Amstel River to Oude Kerk
The Amstel River is our city’s namesake. Stretching from Central Station, cycling its banks takes you through the beautiful inner-city architecture and busy waterway, complete with many cafes and bars, and within 45 minutes will slowly open out in to beautiful green fields, ending at the ‘Oude Kerk’ church. Even if you don’t make it all the way, you will enjoy the ride as far as your legs will take you!
Janine Beck is a wild at heart Tasmanian who found herself in Amsterdam with her (now) ex, a few years ago. Feeling very at home in this creative, vibrant and entrepreneurial city, Janine works with bright and talented people from all over the world on video, to transform anxiety and insecurity, so they can feel loved, safe, secure and confident. She has grown her business with a lot of love. You will often find her having a laugh and a good chat with anyone and everyone, over her laptop and a good (oat milk) flat white. Find her over at janinebeck.com.