One of the best features of Amsterdam is its well known bicycle-friendliness, which makes it the world capital of bikes. It’s so easy to get around on two wheels that hardly any other transportation is needed here. Cycling is so important in the Dutch culture that more than half of Amsterdam city center traffic movement is by bicycle. Traffic education, cycle traffic lights, special routes, numerous bike lanes and free bike parking (versus extremely expensive car parking) encourage Amsterdammers and guests of the city to use bikes more. Let’s have a closer look at this interesting typical Amsterdam thing to do!
It’s a fact that there is more bikes in Amsterdam than people with the proof of a full four story bicycle parking next to Central Station, lots of underground parking and always packed bike racks everywhere around the city. There are about 881,000 bikes for 800,000 people in Amsterdam, therefore almost everybody cycles. To be precise, 83% of people living here use their bikes at least once per week. Then how is it possible with countless cyclists that there is enough space for everybody? The answer lies within the highly developed infrastructure with around 500 kilometers of cycle paths in Amsterdam alone. But we all know that the life of a bike is not eternal, so guess where many of the old ones end up? In the canals of Amsterdam! Every year the municipality fishes from 12,000 to 15,000 bicycles, which is actually quite a view to observe. Next time you might think twice when having a thought of swimming in the canal.
Outstanding bike types
The most common bike type in Amsterdam is a simple omafiets (grandma style one) with pedal-back brakes, no gears, often with a wicker basket in front or panniers for groceries in the back. That’s a convenient, nothing fancy model that decreases the chances of your bike being stolen by a junkie (who will sell it to new coming students later on). However, when you look around the city, it is far from the only type out there. Some of the cooler bike representatives in Amsterdam are bakfiets, tandem bikes, fixies and of course legendary beer bikes.
Modish and posh, bakfiets is the privilege of the richer Amsterdammers, who can afford spending couple of thousands Euros on a bicycle. It makes the life of modern mothers way easier though, as a typical bakfiets can fit in a few children. It’s a common scene to see one full of toddlers and a happy mum cycling hard.
Amsterdam tandem bikes come in all shapes and variations: it can be for 2 adults or 1 adult and 1 kid, or 1 adult and 2 kids, or 3 adults… the list is endless, as you can find a bike fitting any needs in this city. Actually a tandem bike can be a brilliant solution for a couple, when one doesn’t feel too comfortable with cycling in the city. Only one person has to steer, and another can peacefully pedal and have his hands free for picture taking on the way.
Fixies or fixed-gear bikes have become very popular in Amsterdam, as it’s full of hipsters who tend to love this type. Fixies are known for their smooth minimalistic designs, extremely low weight, less human energy needed for riding it withz great speed. Although some people prefer to have brakeless fixed-gear bikes, it’s required to have a proper brake system in the Netherlands.
Have you ever dreamed about having a beer and cycling at the same time without putting your life in danger? It’s absolutely possible in Amsterdam with crazy beer bikes when pedaling and drinking come together. What a great idea for a bachelor party! But no worries, you will always have a sober driver provided by the rental company, who will guarantee fun and safe journey.
As you can see cycling is a must-have experience in Amsterdam, so don’t hesitate to hop on one of our bikes and explore the numerous parks, fairytale-like downtown area or peaceful Jordaan. And even better, join us for one of our free alternative bike tours around the city and enjoy a true adventure. Welcome to Amsterdam on two wheels!
This post is also available in: Dutch