This vide from Not Just Bikes explains the differences between Dutch bikes and other bikes:
If you don't want to buy a Dutch bike, you can rent one from Swapfiets. It's a subscription service. Compared to buying a bike, Swapfiets has the following advantages:
- Since they are very common in the city, the chance of your bike getting stolen is lower.
- They are lighter compared to bikes in the same price range.
- You can get a new bike if your bike is broken.
But also, you have to get lucky to get a bike that runs smoothly. Most of the bikes have some problems.
Google Maps Pitfalls
Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn't always have a good understanding of the bike paths in the Netherlands and it's the only viable option for navigation with a bike.
So, it's a good idea to make sure you're on the right path by looking at the signs on the road and check if you're riding on bike paths and be prepared to take a different route if Google Maps tells you to go somewhere that doesn't look like a bike path.
You can use OV-Chipkaart to pay for all kinds of public transportation in the Netherlands. There are two types of OV-Chipkaart.
You can buy anonymous OV-Chipkaart from shops and chain supermarkets like Albert Heijn. These cards need to be topped up and you need to have at least 20 euros in your card to be able to use it on NS or 5 euros GVB (Amsterdam's public transport). You can check out here to find a place to buy and top up anonymous OV-Chipkaart.
There's also this weird way of topping up your card online. I'm not completely sure how it works though.
Also, you can check your balance and travel history from the ov-chipkaart website at all times.
If you have access to a Dutch bank account (so that you can pay by iDEAL) or PayPal, you can order a personal OV-Chipkaart. Compared to the anonymous OV-Chipkaart, this card has the following advantages:
- You can set up automatic top-up or connect it to your bank account so that you don't have to worry about topping up your card.
- You can get a discount from different public transport companies like NS or GVB.
- You can get a refund by contacting support if you forget to check out
The personal OV-Chipkaart costs 7.50 euros, but you can get it for free if you order a subscription from NS. I'll talk about NS subscriptions in the NS section.
NS is the national railway company of the Netherlands. You can use NS to travel between cities. In addition to service points, you can also buy tickets from the NS website or NS app.
If you travel with NS at least once a month, check out NS Flex plans. The 40% off-peak discount is worth it based on my experience. You can also get a free personal OV-Chipkaart if you order a subscription from NS.
Off-peak Group Tickets
Off-peak group tickets are also a good option if you're traveling with a group of people. You can buy them from the NS website or NS app.
Some NS trains like Intercity Direct and Intercity Berlin require a supplement in which you should buy separately.
The NS app shows this requirement when you're planning your trip but usually the routes that only have two or three stops Like
Amsterdam <-> Schiphol <-> Rotterdam require a supplement.
You can either buy the supplement from the NS website or NS app or for Intercity Direct, you can pay it on the Intercity direct supplement lines that are on the same track as your train.
OV-Fiets is a daily bike rental service from NS. It can be useful if you'd like to check out a place by bike.
Bike in the Train
You can buy a day ticket and take your bike with you in the train on off-peak hours. Trains usually have a special compartment for bikes at both ends.
Check out GVB's website for latest information about route timetables, changes and disruptions.
If you're regularly using GBV services, check out Season ticker advice to find out which season ticket is the best for you.
You can get an estimate on how much your travel costs by using the NS Travel Planner. You can also check out the [NS website][ns] for more information about the costs. Travel planner doesn't show the discounts you might have from your subscriptions.
Other Public Transport Companies
There are other public transport companies like GVB in Amsterdam or RET. These companies have their own rates and some offer subscriptions. You can check out their websites for more information.
When you're switching between different public transport companies, you need to check out from one company and check in to the other company. Otherwise, you'll be charged for the maximum rate by both companies.
You can use moped sharing services if your destination is within or close to the service area of these companies. I've used the following services and I'm happy with them:
Some areas in Amsterdam do not have dedicated parking spots for mopeds. You can park them in the sidewalk as long as there aren't signs that prohibit this and you don't block the way.
You are not allowed to ride mopeds on most of the bike paths in Amsterdam. There are some exceptions and you should look for the blue signs that show which vehicles are allowed on the bike path.
If you don't want to use public transportation, and if you don't own a car you can use car sharing services. I couldn't find a shared list of services used by NotJustBikes and I'd like to share the list of services I use or I'm aware of:
Most of these companies give you rewards if you charge the car when you're done with it. So, if you're done with the car and you're close to a charging station, it's a good idea to charge the car.