If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to get around Amsterdam, hiring a bike is the best thing to do. If you’re staying in Amsterdam everything is within cycling distance, there are lots of places to park your bike, and it’s good for you too!
The first step is to get hold of a bike, and in Amsterdam there certainly isn’t a shortage of those. There are so many shops in Amsterdam that you can rent one and prices vary depending on how long you want to keep the bike for, but the average day price (including insurance) is around the 12 euro mark. A lot of hotels and hostels offer bike rental as well. Always make sure that you get insurance in case anything happens to your bike, and it costs between 1.50 to 3 euros per day extra.
There are over 400km of cycle paths in Amsterdam so bicycles are well catered for. All you need is a map and a bicycle and you’re good to go. Although there are some areas in Amsterdam where you can’t cycle (indicated by a sign of a bicycle with a red strip through) it’s only usually in very busy areas which can be navigated around.
If you are cycling in the centre of Amsterdam the biggest hazard of all is people walking in cycle lanes. It’s usually unavoidable since the pathways are so busy, but be sure to use your bell and watch for people just walking out without looking. Always expect the unexpected. A lot of cyclists pull out without checking behind them, or turn without indicating which can result in nasty accidents.
Tram lines are all too easy to get stuck in (and since nearly being run over by a bus and nearly being thrown off my bike, I get scared every time I go over them). As long as you cross over them diagonally, you should escape unscathed without anything happening.
Another thing to watch out for is broken glass in tram lines, this could mean you getting a punctured tyre, which isn’t that difficult to fix if you sort it out straight away. If you carry on cycling with a punctured tyre it can do damage to the wheel of the bicycle which can cost up to 40 euros to replace.
There are plenty of places to park your bike all over Amsterdam. Be sure to lock your bike up if you leave it, and make sure that you put your chain lock through your front wheel so that it doesn’t get stolen. The best place to leave your bike is at a secure bike park which is manned, and have CCTV 24 hours a day. It’s free and minimises the risk of you losing your bike or having it stolen.