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Cycling in Amsterdam

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A pleasant way to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life for the locals. There are approximately three-quarters of a million people living in Amsterdam and they own about 600,000 bicycles.

Amsterdam is very, very bike-friendly, and there are separate red-paved bike lanes on most major streets. In the city centre, there is often not enough space for a bike lane, so cars and cyclists share narrow streets. Cyclists have the right of way. If you are not used to that, be very careful, and also watch out for other cyclists.

There are very few bicycle accidents in Amsterdam, mostly because everybody is very careful and obeys the rules of the road. Avoid getting your tire in the tram rails, it’s a nasty fall. Always cross tram rails at an angle.

There are bike rental shops at stations, and several others in and around the city centre. Bikes cost about € 9 to € 20 per day. A good map for cycling (routes, repairs, rentals + also public transport) is Amsterdam op de fiets (a Cito-plan). When preparing a route, there’s a digital bicycle route-planner for Amsterdam, see Routecraft.com Make sure to get a good lock, and to use it.

The bicycle is ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside. Within half an hour you’re out of town. Go North, take the ferry across the IJ to Waterland. Or go South, into the Amsterdamse Bos (bos is Dutch for forest), or follow the river Amstel where Rembrandt worked. You can also take your bike on the metro (with a reduced fare ticket, see public transport gvb.nl) to end of line Gaasperplas, and cycle along rivers and windmills to old fortified towns like Weesp , Muiden and Naarden.

Photo: Olatz eta Leire @ flickr.com

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