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Your guide to buying a bike in Amsterdam

There’s an event in town, you’ve lost your OV chipkaart, you’re waiting to get your next instalment of money again, considering the fact that you spent it all on partying and new pillow covers for your bedroom. You really want to go, it’s a free techno rave, or a street exhibition, or something else that would gain your interest.

“How on Earth do I get there?!”

A bicycle, a bicycle is what you need. If you showed up in this country without the knowledge that bicycles in this city outnumber its habitants, then you’ve got some Dutch culture reading to catch up with.

Immediately, your first idea is to check the internet, now this is a great idea, good job you! But where are you going to buy it from?

There are a number of online market places which cater to those who’d like to pass on their loved valuables to those in need for sums of money in exchange, you know, like it is anywhere else in the world?

First of all, go check out Pop a little word in the search bar “fiets”, if you’re wondering, that’s how you say ‘bicycle’ in Dutch. What you want to do next is to filter the listings according to their prices, bear in mind that pedal brake bicycles will be the most commonly available type of bike, so you may have a little difficulty trying to find one which has exclusively hand brakes.

Depending on your budget and your willingness to get your bike stolen, you’ll probably have to set yourself a budget. Generally, for a first bicycle 50-70 euros is a standard fare. Go ahead, pick the pink one, it’ll look super classy with that white pair of shoes you bought last week!

If you’ve had no luck with marktplaats, or any other online dealer, your next best bet is to go to Waterlooplein.

In Waterlooplein, you’re going to see oh so many bikes. This is where you can haggle prices, you can try the bikes out, ride them around a little bit just to make sure that the one you’re sitting on is going to be the one which ferries you around the city for the foreseeable future.

Once again, you’re going to want to look to be spending around 50-70 euros on one of these bikes. Generally, they’re all second hand, as in, people have used them before you, as in they might also be stolen (but we’ll ignore that part for now).

It’ll also help if you take an Iranian or an Afghani friend with you considering the fact that many of these bike sellers speak Persian. It always helps to haggle in the native tongue of a merchant, otherwise they’re simply going to see another student who’s ready to be ripped off with exorbitant prices for 18kg of rusty metal and worn rubber.

Also, remember to buy a good lock as well that complements the budget that you place for your bike.

  1. Bike of 40 – 50 euros would need a 20-25 euro lock

  2. Bike of 60 – 70 euros would need a 25-35 euro lock

  3. Bike of 70 euros and above would need a lock costing a minimum of around 40 euros.

I know, the lock’s almost half the price of the ride, but trust me, you do not want to be running late to a lecture getting ready to unlock your bike only to find the remains of what was once your lock sprawled across the floor where your bike once was.

As for now, that’s it. Enjoy your new wheels!

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