Bicycles in Leiden
As you probably know, bicycles are the most popular way of getting around this flat beautiful country. They come in all shapes and sizes: Bikes for two, with a baby trolley, with 2-4 wheels, tiny or huge, foldable or professional, you name it.
Dutch people ride it in sun and rain, taking babys, infants, running with dogs, holding grocery bags in one hand, giving a lift to a friend, picking at Facebook on their smartphone, anything you can imagine.
Getting a bikeעריכה
To get a bike, a thing you will almost for sure feel a really strong desire to do about two weeks max after you arrived in the Netherlands [Take my word on that one], there are some options:
rent it at the Leiden central station - [ronny website]
rent it from a second hand shop like budget bikes in Leiden.
If you are a student [Lucky bastard!], you can rent it for a whole YEAR at the excellent price of 50 EU plus 50 EU deposit from het Werhuis. Then they will also fix it for free if you’ll need anything fixed up. you can also buy used bike in this store. And about anything else. Really, anything you can imagine, all second hand at really fair prices. [Ronny קישור להסבר על החנות]
If you are in town or in the Netherlands for a longer run, Buy a second hand bike. There is a good store on the way from Haarlemerstraat to het Werhuis, just before you turn right in Admiral straat. Or in Budget bikes [a bit more expensive], or in her Werhuis. There are more bike shops in Leiden, yet so far these are the cheap ones that I found.
Get in Facebook groups like Leiden expats, and so on, a lot of students are publishing their bikes for sale when leaving Leiden.
The disadvantage of this method is that you set a meeting and then get to see one pair of bikes. They can be too small, too big, just not THE bikes for you. If they aren’t good, you keep looking and most odds are it will take you more time. Whereas in a second hand store, there is a wider selection.
The advantage is helping a student :-) Who may be in greater need of the cash than the store. And buying from a private person who is [hopefully] not a retailer but an honest person.
- ‘’’Lock your bikes!’’’ To something solid! You can buy a lock at Hema or where you bought the bikes itself.
- Lock them in a place where you see a lot of other bikes locked up.
- Remember thieves has the keys to most locks, so consider making the job harder for them by combining more than one lock.
- If you are around the City hall, there is a free underground bike parking just before the city hall when you come from Witte Singel direction. You can lock your bikes there for free, for up to two weeks. This is really great and safe, with cameras and a guard.
- In case unfortunately, your bikes has been stolen, don’t be too sad. Hopefully you bought it second hand and the thief will get a punctured wheel soon. :-)
You can go to the Police and file a complaint, yet remember there are millions of bikes in the Netherlands and hundred thousands of them are being stolen every year. Plus, thieves can change the color of the bikes to black in minutes and it may be hard for you to recognise them.
traffic with bikesעריכה
- Usually, bikes have their own lane next to the cars.
- There are also a few traffic lights for bikes. pay attention and push the button bellow it if it is red and you want it to turn green.
- When turning, signal with your hand [just wave it in the relevant direction for about 5 seconds].
- Try to see what other bike riders are doing and learn from them [or from their mistakes, god forbid].
- If you cycle when it is dark, rainy or foggy, turn on your LIGHTS!
- When you cross a road to the other direction, pay close attention to cars. Drivers really respect bicycle rides, yet make sure to have an EYE CONTACT with the driver before crossing.
- Wind can disturb you. No, I mean like really really disturb you. Netherlands is flat and in the fall, the wind can be tough. Just cycle as best as you can and hope for the best.
- It is cold in the winter. I mean it, really really cold! Put on a scarf, a hat, good shoes so that the wind will not freeze your feet, and consider putting on a raincoat while cycling. I’ve seen the old people do it and they know best, in these stuff.
- On market days in Leiden, that is, Wednesday and Saturday, do not cycle at the market area.
- Also, try not to park your bikes in a weird place on those days [and on any day, actually], because there are inspectors coming and checking whose bikes are locked in the middle of the promenade.
- When you are in a new situation and not sure how to act with your bike [Where to park them, is it allowed to bike in that street], just look for someone who seems local and ask them, or hang around for a few minutes. You shall see a person with bikes for sure. It is the Netherlands we are talking about!