Amsterdam’s relationship with bicycles goes back decades. Even when car ownership became the norm, Holland refused to follow suit, mostly thanks to the country’s flat terrain and a definitive choice to create the ideal cycling infrastructure. These days you can’t step a foot outside Central Station without seeing a continuous flurry of cyclists of all ages and backgrounds – from suited-up businesspeople to parents transporting their young children. And it’s safe to say that Amsterdam is by far the most cycling-friendly city in the world. That’s why the simplest and most cost-effective way to get around the city and fit right in with the locals is to hire a bike.
- There are countless bike hire specialists all over Amsterdam.
- With its 400 kilometres of cycle paths, the city is well-equipped for you to cycle your way to every nook, cranny and hidden gem.
- Cycling is for everyone – young and old. If you’re feeling a little nervous about taking to the road, start off slowly in the Vondelpark.
Amsterdam, a city built for bikes
Hire a bike in Amsterdam to make the most of the city. Not only is cycling in Amsterdam cheap and accessible, it’s safe too. The city is equipped with a whopping 400 kilometres of cycle paths – that’s farther than the distance from Amsterdam to London. Needless to say, it’s a breeze to hop on a bike to traverse the city’s symbolic cobbled streets, attractions and canals. There’s simply so much to do and see on a bike in Amsterdam, but you have to get your hands on one first. Luckily, Amsterdam has you covered with its impressive selection of bike hire shops and locations.
Where to hire bicycles in Amsterdam
Many of the must-see spots in Amsterdam can be seen on a one-day bike tour, which is ideal as you can typically hire a bike for between €11 and €15 for a 24-hour period. Some of the city’s major bike rental shops include:
• Yellow Bike Amsterdam: this shop is easy to find, just a three-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station. You can’t miss the company’s trademark bright yellow bikes either, making renting from Yellow Bike great for beginners, as it lets the locals know you’re probably a visitor.
• MacBike Amsterdam: with six ideally located branches in the city centre, this is one of the largest and oldest bike rental chains in the city. Some 150,000 customers per year have explored the capital on MacBike’s 2,000+ bicycles, plus the company offers a number of cool bike tours to boot.
• Discount Bike Rental Amsterdam: offering durable bikes of all shapes and sizes at a reasonable price, this shop does exactly what it says on the tin. With daytime prices that start at €7.50 for pedal-brake (coaster brake) bikes, this one’s perfect for anyone exploring the Dutch capital on a budget.
• Black Bikes Amsterdam: with 13 locations in Amsterdam – including the city centre, Leidseplein and the Red Light District – you’re never too far away from a Black Bikes rental spot. The company strive to justify their slightly higher asking price by offering more choice to customers.
Many hotels and hostels offer discounted bike rentals for guests, so make sure you have a chat with your hosts before renting. And keep in mind that Amsterdam is an accessible destination, so a number of bike hire companies also offer bicycles, tricycles, tandems and other frames for special needs users.
Get a taste of Amsterdam by bike
Cycling in Amsterdam is a fun and unforgettable experience. But it’s important to remember that it’s also a very busy city. For this reason, you should follow any advice given to you by your chosen bike hire company. It’s also vital to adjust your seat to accommodate your body type, learn the basics of cycling and find a route that is ideal for you. For example, if it’s your first time cycling in public, it may be worth starting things off slowly in the Vondelpark. Guided tours are a great way to learn the ropes – and the gears – too; there’s always an expert on hand during these tours, and they’re happy to answer any of your cycling-related questions. Try to avoid picking up any cycling habits from the locals – particularly at the busier times. Most Dutch people have been cycling their entire lives, so it’s quite common to see someone casually riding through a red light.
In the neighbourhood
Many of Amsterdam’s bike hire shops are located around the Canal Ring, where there’s no shortage of things to do and see. It’s easy to make a day of your bike rental by visiting Amsterdam’s many world-renowned museums, such as the Rijksmuseum or Stedelijk Museum, or popping down to Leidseplein’s Melkweg to catch a live band. A canal cruise is also an unmissable experience, although if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, perhaps explore the canals and the sights on a pedal boat.