Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
KEELIEDW
Posts: 99
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 2:01pm

Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby KEELIEDW » 31 Dec 2015, 10:24am

We're 2 middle aged couples planning a weekend staying near the Vondelpark, SW of the centre. The hotel offers bike rental and we're hoping to use cycling as our main means of exploring the city. The others aren't very experienced in urban cycling, and I'm wondering just how cycle-friendly is Amsterdam? Anything we need to know? Any tips and advice most gratefully received.

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby Heltor Chasca » 31 Dec 2015, 11:23am

You'll love it. No need for much experience. Common sense will see you through. A decent map is useful, not because there's anything wrong with being lost but because you'll discover more. Enjoy...b

m-gineering
Posts: 147
Joined: 23 May 2015, 12:01pm

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby m-gineering » 31 Dec 2015, 11:38am

KEELIEDW wrote:We're 2 middle aged couples planning a weekend staying near the Vondelpark, SW of the centre. The hotel offers bike rental and we're hoping to use cycling as our main means of exploring the city. The others aren't very experienced in urban cycling, and I'm wondering just how cycle-friendly is Amsterdam? Anything we need to know? Any tips and advice most gratefully received.


While sightseeing keep an eye open for roadhazards like ridges, bollards and wandering tourists, and don't get stuck in the tramrails
Marten

Touring advice for NL: www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

User avatar
jamesgilbert
Posts: 316
Joined: 5 Feb 2013, 4:25pm
Location: Lyon

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby jamesgilbert » 31 Dec 2015, 12:24pm

Amsterdam is better designed for bikes than for pedestrians, I'd definitely recommend it. At rush hour there can be a lot of bikes around - make sure you look like tourists (an easy way is to wear a helmet!) and the locals will give you a wider berth.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3842
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby pjclinch » 31 Dec 2015, 1:32pm

One thing to note is that a typical Dutch rental bike has a single back-pedal/coaster rear brake. If you're not used to this then they take a bit of practice stopping and getting a foot down, and you want to do your getting used to it on a quiet stretch. I learned the hard way at rush-hour starting from the central station, and I wouldn't particularly suggest that!

You can, of course, hire bikes with a normal front brake too, but they cost a little more and the hotel you're in might not have them.

"Urban cycling" in NL and GB are different enough that experience of one isn't really that much use for the other.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Barrenfluffit
Posts: 797
Joined: 20 Oct 2009, 5:31pm

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby Barrenfluffit » 31 Dec 2015, 3:08pm

"how cycle-friendly is Amsterdam?"

Its the primary means of transport for a substantial proportion of the population. It's fully supported. The only limitation is in the centre's where secure street parking can be tricky to find. There are bikes everywhere. Note that some streets have a bike ban or contraflow but it will be signposted. Cycle paths are the norm; I was amazed how busy they got in rush hour.

It's not in the city but the "Waterland" area has pleasant cycling and things to see. There are tours or you can head out on your own. If you go on your own there is a system of signed, numbered waypoints across the network (which is largely separate from roads).
http://richardtullochwriter.com/2009/11 ... waterland/
https://www.brouwerijhetij.nl

bohrsatom
Posts: 454
Joined: 20 May 2013, 4:36pm

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby bohrsatom » 31 Dec 2015, 5:04pm

Echoing what others have said - you won't have any problems but it'll be a massive change from cycling in the UK! There are so many cyclists that you'll have to behave differently than when you are at home

Be very careful around tram tracks as you don't want to end up stuck
Avoid sudden moves/lane changes and be sure to look behind & signal when turning as there will always be cyclists behind you
Get a good map and (if you are exploring the area around Amsterdam) familiarise yourself with the knooppunt system of navigation
Be careful where/how you lock up your bike. Most people have very hefty chain locks - be sure it goes through as much of the bike as possible
Be wary of motorbikes in bike lanes - for some reason in many places the law dictates that they have to use them
Most of all, have fun :)

bainbridge
Posts: 205
Joined: 26 Oct 2014, 7:19pm

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby bainbridge » 31 Dec 2015, 6:09pm

You'll love it, the whole city is geared up for cyclists.

Take on board the great advice that's already been given and you'll have a great time.

MrsHJ
Posts: 770
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby MrsHJ » 1 Jan 2016, 8:28am

The Netherlands is heaven for cyclists. In the centre of Amsterdam you are on the roads but there aren't that many cars and they are all very cyclist aware. As you get out towards the suburbs you'll find that there are more separate tracks etc for cyclists. The bike racks do get pretty full. We loved it but also walked and took the boat.

User avatar
DaveP
Posts: 3227
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 4:20pm
Location: W Mids

Re: Amsterdam sightseeing by bike

Postby DaveP » 1 Jan 2016, 9:38am

Something I haven't tried, but would like to.
If you search You Tube for cycling Amsterdam you'll find lots of clips that may be of interest.
Looking like tourists strikes me as a good tip!
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...