Do you already have a bike?

Posted at: 9 Apr 2018

A story about buying a bike in Amsterdam with ultimate tips: setting your budget low and still getting an awesome bike.

Like a true 'Amsterdammer' (in front of one of the many AUAS’s buildings)

Before studying abroad, you will have many concerns and questions. One of those will most certainly be related to the type of transportation you will be using while on exchange. Before I left for Amsterdam I was concerned as well – how will I travel around the city and especially, how will I get to school every day?

Back home, in Slovenia, I mostly travel to school by car. However, doing the same in Amsterdam is almost impossible, so I knew I would have to adapt to the local transportation options. Amsterdam students mostly use public transport or a bike to get from point A to point B, so these were my options to choose from. I picked the latter of the two, and decided I would purchase a bicycle. This option is relatively cheap and easy, so I started looking around and set my budget at €50.

I wanted to have everything arranged before arriving to Amsterdam, so I would be all set up when I arrived. I searched for online bike sales and searched, and searched. I had no trouble finding companies who sell or rent out bikes. I even found a couple of pages specializing in selling bikes to international students who come to Amsterdam. But the problem was all of them had quite expensive bike prices. After my initial searching, I started to question if I had set my budget too low.

Then a thought came to my head – why don’t I use Facebook? Instantly, by just typing in “Amsterdam bike”, I found dozens of Facebook pages where you can buy second hand bikes. It was so much easier to find cheap bikes on Facebook (although some sellers still had extremely high prices for not that great bikes). I scrolled down a couple of times, I messaged some people and almost immediately I found a nice, perfectly functional bike for €50 and had a deal ready to go. The day after I arrived to Amsterdam I met with the seller, took a closer look at bike and tried it out. Everything was okay, so I bought it and was already riding it like a true “Amsterdammer”.

Buying a bike might be cheaper, but you can also rent a bike in Amsterdam for a semester or two. There is a great place called Swapfiets that rents out bikes for only €15 a month. This price might come out to more than it would be to buy a bike, but the company will also come and fix your bike if it breaks down. It is important to think about these different options because if you buy a bike you will have to figure out how to fix it yourself if it should break, or where to get new tires if they pop!

To extract what I’ve learned from this bike search – I would recommend you search for your bike on Facebook. There are many pages (that serve as “second hand bike markets”) and even more bikes to choose from. Prices vary from €20 per bike to €200 per bike (or even more), so you will have no trouble finding something that suits your budget.

Extra tips: Don’t let the first look at the pictures of bikes fool you. Take a good and detailed look at pictures, see if the bike has all the necessities and only then make a deal with the seller. If you notice something is wrong with the bike, try to get a lower price. Also, when buying a bicycle on Facebook, you must be aware of the possibility that people might try to scam you. Be on the look-out for this and do not transfer any money until you see the bicycle in person.

With that said, I wish you good luck getting a bike in Amsterdam!

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