If you’re a bicycle fanatic, you have probably heard of the city of Amsterdam in the beautiful country of the Netherlands. In this city, bicyclists are renowned and own the roads. With how flat the city is, it’s an easy choice of travel for people of all shapes and sizes.
In the last 20 years, bike usage in Amsterdam has grown by more than 40%. Not only does riding a bike promote a healthier lifestyle for the rider but it also is a greener method of transportation. As the world shifts to looking for these types of environmentally friendly alternatives, bicycles are quickly commanding the scene, especially in busy cities. The city of Amsterdam is beautiful in itself. Here are eight reasons why you should jump on a two-wheel pedal machine to explore the bicycle capital of the world.
1. There are around 515km (320 miles) of cycle lanes
Yep, you read that right. Not just roads to cruise down, but 515 kilometers (320 miles) of pathways dedicated to bicycles. Depending on how fast you ride, you could spend days to weeks exploring these streets on a bicycle. It’s almost harder to navigate with a car since many streets have limited or no automobile access.
2. They Have Bicycle-Friendly Accommodation
If you’re looking for Amsterdam budget hotels, the city is full of them! As a popular tourist destination, there is a plethora of hostels and hotels to choose from. If you’re traveling solely by bicycle, the city is known for its bicycle-friendly accommodation options as well. Due to the popularity of this form of transportation, many hotels offer extra amenities to accommodate cyclists. These extras can include basic repair kits, charging stations for electric bikes, free water bottle refill stations, cycle maps, and first aid kits for tumbling cyclists.
3. Cycle through a museum
The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands. This beautifully decorated building boasts more than a million works of art from some of the greatest 17th-century art masters. It also is the only museum in the world that you can cycle through. When you visit you can ride your bicycle through the tunnel that goes beneath the museum where you can view the atrium entrance through large glass windows. This passage was almost closed during the most recent renovations but the locals protested so much that they left it open.
4. There are more bicycles than people
Understandably the bicycle capital of the world does truly have more bicycles than people. With a population of about 17 million, there are almost 22 million bicycles in the city. That comes out to about 1.33 bicycles per person. Some of the most famous photographed sights of Amsterdam are their bicycle “parking lots” filled with thousands of bikes at a time.
5. They also outnumber cars
Due to the popularity and ease of use, bicycles have even come to outnumber cars as well. Among the city residents, bicycles outnumber cars at a 4:1 ratio. About 57% of Amsterdam locals use their bicycles daily, even during the city’s snowy winter. More bicycles and fewer cars on the road helps make the city even safer for tourists wanting to join in on the fun. Just be sure to follow the city’s traffic laws as they are set specifically to handle the great number of bikes on the road as well.
6. Electric bikes are emerging in the scene
Even if you are not ready to exert that much pedal power quite yet, electric bikes are quickly growing in popularity as well. These bikes have a battery “assist” that clicks on when you start pedaling. So you may still have to pump your legs a bit similar to a traditional bicycle, but this added battery power certainly gives an extra boost when climbing uphill. If you’re new to the bicycle world, an electric bike can help you keep cruising even towards the end of the day when your legs start to get that jelly feeling.
7. Join the slow travel movement
Travelers every day are jumping on the slow travel movement. This is an approach to travel that emphasizes slowing down and connecting to the local people and culture rather than flying through cities just to complete your bucket list. With this movement, many travelers are choosing buses and trains rather than flights for long-distance travel. Choosing to ride a bicycle around the city rather than hopping on a bus or in a taxi allows you to soak in the sights at a slower level just as well.
8. Bike Rental is simple and easy
Renting a bicycle is a fairly uncomplicated process in this bustling city. Some Amsterdam budget hotels even offer free bike rental for their guests. Typically, you can find a basic, single gear pedal machine for about €10 a day. You can usually even find cheaper rates if you commit to a longer-term rental period. If you’re a little more experienced, you also can rent more advanced bikes with hand breaks and gears for a few extra euros. If you do decide to rent a bicycle, it’s recommended to add on the theft insurance. Unfortunately with so many bikes around the city, theft is a big problem, especially for absent-minded tourists who aren’t used to the scene.
Bicycling around Amsterdam is an experience in itself. When you travel slowly by bicycle there are so many more opportunities to see the sights of the city closer than if you were zooming by in a car or bus. Not only that but you also feel more connected to the culture as you cruise the city streets along with locals on their daily work transit trips.
With more bicycles than cars and endless bike paths, it’s no wonder why Amsterdam has been named the bicycle capital of the world. Beyond these eight bicycle-related reasons there are plenty of cases for why you should visit the beautiful capital of the Netherlands.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bike bags and cycle away!