Student Mobility / Travel / Haven’t Gotten A Bike Yet In The Netherlands?

Haven’t Gotten A Bike Yet In The Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a notoriously bike-friendly country. Everyone knows that. However, many international students are a little bit less than enthusiastic to bike everywhere. Maybe you haven’t biked since primary school or come from a country where bike paths aren’t the norm. If by any chance you haven’t gotten a bike yet in the Netherlands, don’t wait any longer. 

Now that the weather is getting nicer, there’s no excuse not to bike to class anymore. And even if it’s raining a little, as the Dutch would say: Jij bent niet van suiker gemaakt – you’re not made of sugar! So, seize your chance and get yourself a trusty metal companion. A bike is great for exploring, getting your exercise in and making it home after a night out. 

What bikes can I choose from?

Well, like with any important life choice, you need to first know what the options are before you can make the right decision. There are a number of bikes ruling the bike paths of Dutch cities: 

  • Oma-fiets (grandma bike): an age-old favorite that looks like the bikes you constantly see on the streets – may be even more dependable with a basket 
  • Folding bike (vouwfiets) : great for commuters, because they – you guessed it – fold up, making it a great option for when you’re hopping between cities but don’t want to buy a ticket for your bike 
  • City bike : sometimes referred to as a “male” bike – although there’s also “female" versions –  these have a long straight bar stretching between the handlebar and seat and usually come with gears and handbrakes 
  • Racing bike (wielrenfiets) : If you’re trying to summon your inner Tour de France spirit and be speedier than everyone else on the bike path – or your aesthetic of choice is the ‘Berlin Hipster’ – then this is a great option 
  • Bakfiets: you’ve probably seen these – they look like bike-boat hybrids with a huge basket at the front that can carry everything from children to dining room chairs 
  • E-bikes: these are made for those of us who are traveling long distances or just don’t want to put as much effort into pedaling

Of course, which bike you choose depends entirely on your needs. However, most students usually go for an oma-fiets, city bike or racing bike. These are well suited for your basic day-to-day mobility needs, from doing groceries to getting to class.

How much will I have to spend?

This depends on what your budget is and the type of bike you’re looking to get. We recommend choosing a second-hand bike unless you have a place you can safely store your bike, ensuring that it won’t be stolen. This could either be a secure indoor bike parking or inside your apartment – if you wanna put in the extra effort of carrying it up your insanely steep Dutch stairs. 

If you think you can get from A to B with a generic but trusty second-hand bike, then you can prepare to spend anywhere from 100 to 250 euros. On top of that, you’ll have to account for bike locks. Two is better than one.

If you want to risk it and get a new bike, you’ll have to pay quite a bit. Anywhere from 300 (for a very cheap one) to 1,000+ euros.

Where should I get my bike? 

Although this question should have a very straightforward answer, the truth is that you have quite a lot of options when it comes to choosing where to buy a bike. If you want it brand-new, squeaky clean, and you’re willing to put up with the risks of getting it stolen, then just head to any bike store in your city or Decathlon. If second-hand is more your thing, then these choices are your best bet:

  • Student Mobility’s Mobility Package – buy a second-hand bike with us and you’ll be able to conveniently pick it up near your university
  • Facebook marketplace – many people buy their bikes here and often you can have a test ride before you commit 
  • Marktplaats – the go-to place for second-hand products in the Netherlands, including bikes 
  • Flea markets or second-hand stores (kringloop) in your city – sometimes you can find great deals 
  • Bike repair store near you – many bike repair stores in Dutch cities also offer second-hand bikes with great prices 

If you’re buying a previously used bike, just make sure you check that it’s safe. You don’t want to be buying anything that is one step away from breaking down. Make sure that the brakes work and that the tires are in good condition. 

Another popular option is Swapfiets, a bike subscription service where you pay a monthly fee to receive a bike. The benefit of this? If your bike is broken or stolen, then you can easily have it repaired or get another one. Here, too, you have the choice between different types of bikes, namely a standard no-gear bike, a 7-gear bike or an e-bike. We’ve partnered up with Swapfiets to make it even easier for students to get a bike. 

If you sign up with us, you get an international-tailored sign up process, including no sign-up fee for short term contracts and international payment methods. It’s too good a chance to pass up! Sign up here

That was our guide in case you haven’t gotten a bike in the Netherlands yet. Seize your chance and get yourself a trusty fiets that get you everywhere you need to go to live your best student life. 

If you still feel that biking is not your thing, maybe public transport is a better option. Check out this blog post for everything you need to know. 

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