Cycling (” fietsen ” in Dutch) is the most common way to travel short distances in the Netherlands. Children learn at a very young age and the wonderful bike paths all over the country and flat lands make biking a popular way to get around or spend leisure time. Wearing a helmet is not obligatory, but recommended for children or when you go cross country cycling or mountain biking.
You can travel with your bike on trains but be aware that you have to buy an extra ticket for your bike, these are available at the ticket machines at the stations. Foldable bikes can go on the train for free.
Be aware that the theft of bicycles is one of the most common crimes in the Netherlands. If you spend a lot of money on a bike, buying insurance is advisable, but do realise that the bike needs to have approved locks. Make sure you have a strong lock or even a second lock, with which you can attach your bike to the assigned parking facilities, trees or fences. Also buying a non-standard bike or painting and decorating your bike prevents theft, since it stands out more and is easier to be recognised. Make pictures of the bike to hand in to the police or insurance in case it gets stolen. Note the frame number, which can be found on the frame of bike. This number is important in identifying your stolen bike.
Tip: Going downton on your bike? The big cities in Twente all have free parking facilities in their centres that are secured by staff of the municipality. Look out for or search online with the words: ‘bewaakte fietsenstalling’ or ‘gratis fietsenstalling’.
Buying a bike
With an average of 1,1 bike per inhabitant, the Netherlands offers a wide range of bikes in all shapes and sizes. You’ll find many shops with new and used bikes, including workshops for repairs and maintenance and the possibility of renting a bike. You can find good deals in the second hand department of the shops or you can buy a second hand bike privately such as offered on the website: Marktplaats.nl. If you do buy a bike privately, do check if the bike was perhaps stolen on fdr.rdw.nl by filling in the chip number, brand or frame number. Some things to check when buying a bike: good brakes, working lights, good tires and a working bells. The bike should not make any noise when cycling and you should be sitting comfortably and able to reach the peddles easily.