Riding a Bike in Amsterdam
Stepping out of central station the first thing people will be notice is the sheer quantity of bicycles. Amsterdam is, possibly competing with Copenhagen, the world’s pre-eminent city for cyclists. There’s even a bike parkade next to the central station that fits thousands of cycles. Be sure to look at it by looking to the right when you leave the station. Much to the chagrin of locals, tourists should try riding bike in the city themselves if they want to get the full Dutch experience. Here are a few tips how to do that safely.
Cycles in Amsterdam have long been a symbol of the Netherlands thriving democracy. This equalitarian way to get around has been by some as having helped bring the vote to woman in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam art group the Provo’s used bicycles in their various staged happenings in the 1960’s as a symbol of socialism. Ideology aside, bicycling is just a great way to get around in a city, for the most part, without hills.
Travelers looking to rent a bike can find one of the many bike rental shops in the city. Two of the best include Mac Bike (www.macbike.nl) and Rent-A-Bike. (www.bikes.nl) Both companies have locations near to the central station. Once you have a bike if you are interested in booking a biking tour the Yellow Bike Company (www.yellowbike.nl) is a good option. A bike tour is a great way to see the various sites of the city from the vantage of a bicycle.
A few tips to bear in mind while cycling in Amsterdam. Feel confidant on a bike there. Although the streets are narrow and dotted with pedestrians and cars (though cars to a far lesser extent than many cities) bikes are given precedent in the city and an amazing system of bike lanes has been built. As a rule of thumb, ride inside these lanes at all times. Follow the conventional rules of the road, as bikes also have traffic lights which they must stop at in Amsterdam. Try not to follow too closely behind other bicycles. If you are going to stop, raise your right hand to let cyclists behind you know that you intention. Always have a bike light at night and be sure to lock your bicycle up. Amsterdam is a great city, but it is not uncommon for unsecured bikes to go missing quickly.