Updated: August 2018
Amsterdam is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Known for its artistic heritage, wonderful canal system and friendly culture there are multiple reasons why people keep coming back to visit Amsterdam.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest ways to see the city of Amsterdam is by cycling around. This is a very popular form of seeing the city which means there’s plenty of choices when it comes to cycling routes around the city, rental companies and cycling tour guides.
- Amsterdams Cycling History & Culture
- Bike Hire Amsterdam – Cycling Rules / Safety
- Bike Hire Amsterdam – The Best Rental Companies
- Alternative Bike Hire Amsterdam
- Bike Hire Amsterdam – Cycling Tours
Amsterdams Cycling History & Culture
There are more than 800,000 bikes registered in Amsterdam, more than half of which are over 12 years old – which really should tell you something about Amsterdam’s fantastic mend, reuse and repair culture.
With almost 30 rental shops in Amsterdam along with 140 bike shops, cycling is a huge part of city culture here.
Being mostly flat and having a moderate climate has all aided the growth of cycling in Amsterdam which began prior to World War II but saw a huge boom during the 1970’s when the government began funding and promoting the cycling infrastructure.
Bike Hire Amsterdam – Cycling Rules / Safety
The sheer number of bikes in Amsterdam can be intimidating, to say the least. However, we hope that with a couple of hints and tips you’ll be all set to cycle your way around the beautiful city of canals.
Most of the older bicycles in Amsterdam feature the old fashioned breaks. They require you to back-pedal to break and don’t have levers on the handlebars.
As we mentioned, cycling in Amsterdam for the first time can be intimidating. So don’t make things worse for yourself, instead, stick to the traffic rules. Stop for red lights, ride on the road rather than the path and avoid any distractions.
If you fail to do any of the following then you may find yourself being pulled over by the police.
Trams have the right of way in Amsterdam. Just be careful when cycling over tram lines. They are on the road and the gap in them is often the perfect size for a bicycle wheel to get stuck. Try to ride over them at an angle to avoid this happening.
Use your hand to signal whether your turning left or right or stopping. With a high density of cyclists, it’s important to warn others what you plan to do before doing it so they can allow you space to move and avoid a collision.
Your hand signals don’t have to be anything special or fancy, just something to let people know what you plan to do.
Lock Your Bike
Whether you plan to leave your bike for a couple of seconds or a couple of hours, always, always, always lock it. Lock it to something solid such as a tree, traffic sign or one of the many bike racks scattered around central Amsterdam.
Theft and vandalism is a common problem when it comes to bicycles in Amsterdam so it’s important to protect yourself and your bike wherever and whenever you can.
Bike Hire Amsterdam – The Best Rental Companies
If you’re over in the De Pijp area of Amsterdam then your most local bike rental shop is going to be Ajaxbike. It’s located at Albert Cuyp market and the Heineken Experience. The prices are very competitive and it’s just 5 minutes bike ride from downtown Amsterdam making it a perfect starting point for a city cycling route.
MacBike is the longest-serving bicycle hire shop in Amsterdam having served the tourists and locals of Amsterdam for more than 25 years. There are five MacBike shops scattered across Amsterdam each offering a wide range of high-end bikes including electric bikes and bikes for children.
Rent A Bike Haarlem
If you’re going slightly outside of the centre of Amsterdam and looking to explore Haarlem then you’re best renting your bike from Rent A Bike Haarlem. It’s just a five-minute walk from the train station. Once you hop on your bike it should take you as little as two minutes to reach the centre of Haarlem.
Yellow Bike has been providing bike hire Amsterdam since 1990. The staff are amazingly friendly and super knowledgeable and will assist you in pointing out ‘the must-visit sights’ of Amsterdam. Yellow Bike has two rental locations within the centre of Amsterdam (one of which is currently closed for refurbishment).
Established in 2005 and with more than 13 rental locations across Amsterdam is Black Bikes. Known for their excellent service, a wide variety of bicycle options and affordable pricing. The stores are open until 8 pm on weekdays and 7 pm on weekends which makes them the perfect Amsterdam bike rental company if you’re planning on staying out a little late. They also provide insurance from just €3 that protects you against both damage and theft.
Alternative Bike Hire Amsterdam
Tandem Bike Hire Amsterdam
If you’re looking to hire a tandem bike in Amsterdam then I’d recommend checking out the online independent bike hire website BimBimBikes. Alternatively, if you don’t have access to the internet or the limited selection of Tandem bikes aren’t available on BimBimBikes I’d suggest visiting MacBike.
MacBike is one of the largest bike rental companies in Amsterdam with more than 2,500 bikes to choose from.
Hybrid Bike Rental Amsterdam
If you’re looking to rent a hybrid bike in Amsterdam then I recommend checking out Weil Rent. Where you can expect to pay around €45 for the day or €120 for the week. Alternatively, check out BikeCity who have designed a Hybrid bike specifically for the specifications of cycling in Amsterdam and beyond.
Hybrid Bikes at Bike City include 28″ wheels with 8 speeds as well as Ortlieb waterproof pannier bags. Making this the perfect choice for longer journeys.
Road Bike Rental Amsterdam
If you’re looking to rent a road bike in Amsterdam then be sure to visit Black Bikes. There are 14 Black Bike locations around the city of Amsterdam making it a convenient choice. Bikes can be booked online in advance to ensure stock is available.
Electric Bike Rental Amsterdam
Finally, if you’re looking for an electric bike rental while visiting Amsterdam then visit A-Bike where electric bikes are available for €22.95 a day. Helmets and panniers can also be rented for €2.95 each per 24 hours.
Renting an electric bike is the perfect choice for someone who isn’t wanting to physically exerting themselves or for those looking to go on an extended cycling trip around Amsterdam.
Bike Hire Amsterdam – Cycling Tours
Guided Cycling Tours In Amsterdam
If you don’t fancy cycling around Amsterdam on your own, consider joining one of the many tours available. Some of the bike rental shops listed above offer tours, alternatively, there’s a range of tours offered by locals listed below.
The benefit of going on a cycling tour of Amsterdam is the extra information you’re likely to pick up on the way that you otherwise may have never heard about. Off the beaten track spots that tourists don’t know about.
Cycling tours of Amsterdam can last anything from 1 to 5 hours, so there’s bound to be something to suit your cycling and fitness ability.
Cycling Routes In Amsterdam
If you fancy going out into Amsterdam on your own on a bike, then consider going on one of these pre-determined cycling routes which will take you past some of the best sights in the city.
Parks & Van Gough Museum
You’ll begin your trip in the neighbourhood of Oud-West. Visiting De-Hallen where you’ll be able to park your bike underground for free and enjoy some of the culinary delights before heading off to one of Amsterdams largest parks; Vondelpark.
From there you’ll head towards the city centre, calling at the Van Gough Museum while snapping a photo at the famous I Amsterdam sign.
You’ll begin your bicycle journey around Amsterdam at the Botanical Gardens; free to enter for IAmsterdam card holders or €5.50 for adults otherwise. Next, you’ll take a short trip across the road to Amsterdam Zoo (ARTIS) before heading on the ‘bulk’ of the journey that will take you out over the Easter Docklands, round Zeeburgereiland En Nieuwe Diep before heading back into the centre of Amsterdam via the Shopping Mall & NEMO Science Museum.
Central Amsterdam sightseeing on a bike isn’t the cycling experience I’d recommend – yet it’s the most popular. The main reason I wouldn’t recommend it is simply due to the amount of traffic and chaos which can quickly take the fun out of the cycling in Amsterdam experience. However, being the most popular cycling route I feel as though it simply had to be included.
You’ll start at Centraal Station where you’ll take in the beauty and architecture before hitting your first museum; the cheese museum! After this, you’ll visit Anne Frank Huis (if you plan on going inside be sure to book in advance) from there you’ll visit 3 more museums as well as a catholic church before finishing your trip with a cold drink in Amsterdams Ice Bar.
We hope this article has gone a long way to answering all of your questions and more when it comes to bike hire Amsterdam & the best cycling routes in Amsterdam. However, if there’s something you feel that we’ve not covered that we should, contact us or leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to get back to you.