How and where to rent a bike in Amsterdam

Vélo Amsterdam

Cycling is the most practical way to visit Amsterdam. But how do you rent a bike, and where?

When people call Amsterdam « the bicycle capital of the world », they’re not kidding. With some 600,000 bicycles, almost every resident rides one every day, and many people own more than one. Cycling is certainly the most popular means of transport in and around the city, and can be a great way to get around Amsterdam quickly. No matter what the weather, locals cycle in Amsterdam all year round!

Amsterdam’s small streets and canals aren’t really suitable for cars, but are perfect for bicycles and pedestrians, making Amsterdam a great city to explore on foot or by bike. If you’re interested in visiting the city by bike, we’ve got all the information you need on where to rent a bike in Amsterdam.

Rent a bike to visit Amsterdam on two wheels

If you’re ready to rent a bike in Amsterdam, it’s pretty easy to find a local bike store – just look for one with the word « fiet » (bike) on its sign. Most are in English, and we’ve listed the rental agencies below. Many bike rental stores are located near Amsterdam Central Station, Leidseplein and Dam Square.

Femme qui fait du vélo à Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – zapdelight

Bike stores will rent you bikes for a minimum of 3 hours, although the most common rental is by the day. The average price is around €8-10 a day (if you’re staying for a week or more, consider buying a second-hand bike).

When you rent a bike, you leave a deposit, and you can take out optional insurance, which will cover the cost of the bike if it’s stolen. In the event of theft, most bike stores require you to lodge a complaint at a police station, and return the keys to the lock to prove that you had actually secured the bike. If you haven’t taken out insurance and/or don’t return the keys, you’ll have to pay the price of the bike. Given the high number of bicycle thefts every year (officially 90,000 a year, but estimates range from 500,000 to a million a year), it’s worth paying a little more for the extra insurance.

Vélo Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Steve Broomhall

A few tips before renting a bike in Amsterdam

Cycling is the most practical way to explore Amsterdam: no problem finding a parking space, and no more traffic jams! What’s more, bicycles are available for hire in every part of the city. However, there are a few rules to bear in mind:

  • When you want to turn left, you must give way to all other vehicles and indicate your intention to turn left by waving your hand.
  • Be careful not to catch your bicycle wheel in the groove formed by the streetcar rails. You risk losing control of your bike and suffering a serious fall.
  • There are roads, cycle paths and sidewalks, so everyone stays in their respective lanes, but you’ll still need to be careful.
  • Cyclists don’t wear helmets, so be sure to obey traffic lights and signs to reduce the risk of accidents. Helmets are still recommended.
  • If you’re lost, stop, get off your bike and stand at the edge of the lane before looking at a map or your smartphone.
  • Always secure your bike in a designated area.
  • Try to rent a bike that is black or blue, so that it blends in with the crowd. A « flashy » bike may tell a thief that it’s a rental bike. Choose busy areas to reduce the risk of theft.
  • If your tire is flat, take your bike to any bike store (fietsenmaker) or ask another cyclist for a pump (fietspomp).

Guided bike tour of Amsterdam

Many bike rental stores offer guided bike tours of Amsterdam, which can be a great way to discover the city. You can also book your guided bike tour in advance directly with an online agency.

But this can also restrict your « freedom » on site, since you’ll have to follow your guide…

Where to rent a bike in Amsterdam

You can either book your bike rental online, or take care of it on the spot with the list of rental agencies below:

The official website of the city I Amsterdam also gives a list of bicycle rental agencies.

Main photo credit: Flickr – Ronel Reyes