With over 400 kilometers of cycle paths and a long history and culture of cycling, it is not surprising that Amsterdam is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. To fully explore the charms of the city, cycling is the best and fastest way to get around. However, we do understand that when you haven’t spent your life on two wheels, cycling through Amsterdam can be really scary and hectic. Therefore, we have put together a list with 5 tips on how to survive cycling in Amsterdam – and enjoy it at the same time of course.
Stick to the (unwritten) rules
Although Amsterdam is known to be synonymous with freedom, there really are rules! You’ll see locals ‘jumping’ red lights and using both hands to operate their phones while cycling, but we stress – especially if you’re an inexperienced cyclist – to obey the rules. Stick to the cycle paths, don’t cycle under influence and turn on your lights.
Don’t block the way
Do you want to take a picture of the iconic canal houses while cycling? Or just take a quick look on your map because you are afraid you are getting lost? Then pull over to the side of the road! Stopping in the middle of the cycle path can cause serious accidents and not to forget; a nuisance for locals.
Know the importance of your bicycle bell
Ring Ring! When riding a bike in a bike jungle like Amsterdam, you need a good bell. Bells are not only for your own safety, but they make cycling safer for other cyclists, pedestrians, and even car drivers. Whether it is a slow cycler or a tourist who’s randomly stepping into the bike lane, don’t be afraid to ring!
Keep your eyes on the road
Almost as popular as our bikes, are our trams. Besides making sure you don’t run into one, you should be careful not to get caught within the gap of their tracks. “How?” you ask. By crossing them at a sharp angle. Roughly the size of one bicycle tire, they are more dangerous than they look.
Always lock your bike
Thousands of bikes get stolen each year. To prevent your bike from getting stolen, locking your bike with a strong lock is a must – even when you are leaving for just a couple of minutes to buy a souvenir for your family at home. To be double sure; use a second lock and lock it to something solid like lampposts, a bike rack or a bridge railing. However, before locking your bike, please be aware of the signs which indicate bikes will be removed. Better safe than sorry!
All jokes aside – it really sounds scarier than it is. We promise, practice makes perfect and it’s actually a lot of fun!