If you’re hard up but have enough money to fly to Europe then biking around Amsterdam
is immensely satisfying and reasonably cheap. First of all, look up some cheap flights to
Amsterdam and then worry about hiring a bike on your arrival.
Renting Your Bike
A fantastic way of finding both somewhere to stay and a mode of transport is to book in
at ‘The Bicycle Hotel.’ This wonderful place is in the old industrial part of the city, De Pijp,
and you can catch a train from the airport right to Amsterdam’s Central Station. Once at the
station look out for a local tram, numbers (16 to 24) for Albert Cuyp Market stop which is close
to the hotel on Van Ostadestraat. The hotel promises that it is environmentally friendly and
has invested in recycling and is heated with solar panels. Bike hire at the hotel is easy and
the staff will be able to tell you the quickest routes to use across the city.
The citizens of Amsterdam have an enduring love affair with this mode of transport, as
early as 1938 a local newspaper named the bicycle as ‘the most Dutch of all vehicles’ and
the number of bikes spotted in this city certainly beats most other cities, even Oxford and
Cambridge in the UK, or even Cambridge Massachusetts. Between 2007 and 2010 the
Dutch government helped to promote this wonderful vehicle and invested 70 million Euros on
bicycling projects in the city.
Amsterdam is definitely a really cool city. If you’re into a heavy clubbing scene or just want
to go and look at some of the stunning art either in the museums or perhaps catch some of
the alternative street art. Look out for work by Niels Shoe Muellman, aka, ‘Calligraffiti’, Alice
Paquini or go to Haarlemmerstraat and marvel at the work by Bustart and Zaira. Think of
the UK’s Banksy and then add even more imagination to the work and you’ll get an idea of
the kind of treats that decorate Amsterdam’s walls. Also all of this visual display is free and
accessible by bicycle.
The city is easy to navigate and the locals are very friendly. The best and cheapest way to
enjoy the city is to hang out in the cafes. The Cafe de Jaren on Niewe Doelnstraat is by the
canal and welcomes those visitors who just want to enjoy a litre of beer and watch the world
go by. The Dutch have a long association with the East Indies so try out some delicious
Indonesian food, Café Kadijk is recommended for its noodles and seafood. More Indonesian
food is served at Coffee & Jazz where music is combined with tasty nibbles.
As long as you can remember where you’ve parked your bicycle enjoy the ride through the
city at night, there is almost as much to view in the evening as there is by day and you will be
accompanied by the soothing sounds of lapping water wherever you ride.
By: Celina Bledowska