Sorry, These Amsterdam Bikes Aren't Free

In a crowded city that has more bikes than people, you’d think that the two-wheeled machines would be cheap.

Short answer: they’re not (to be fair, nothing is really cheap in Amsterdam).

The average price of a new bike starts at a few hundred euros, and the fancy ones easily go over €1,000.  Not surprisingly, most people don’t want (or can’t) pay that.  So, there are a few alternatives.

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Buy from Junkies

There seems to be an entire subclass of humans who live in a perpetually altered state of mind in Amsterdam, and many of them fund their drug habits by stealing and selling bikes.  Famous for their low prices (around 10 euros), these demons from hell are popular among students and those without a soul.

Not only does it promote drug use among people that really should clean up, but buying from them also causes the rest of us to have to use multiple locks and still worry our bikes will get stolen.

If you choose to do this, I won’t really feel bad if karma chooses to send you and your new bike sailing into a canal.

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Buy from the Internet

If you don’t want to spend a lot but still want to have a way to cycle, then there are a lot of Facebook groups and other sites to check out.  People tend to sell their less than perfect bikes for a pretty good deal, and a lot of students and expats just want to get any money they can when they have a plane to catch tomorrow.

Just remember that people that sell their old bike for a low price might not have taken care of it very well (which is the norm in Amsterdam), so you may have to pull out a wrench and fix a few things.

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Buy from a Shop

This is the best option if you have any money in your pocket.  There are second-hand bike shops around that will give you a good deal on a (working) used one, and your bank account is the only limit to how awesome you can cruise around!

You Said Something About Free Bikes?

Yes, I did.  A recent addition to Amsterdam bike racks (particularly on corners) is a bunch of bright-pink bicycles with “Free Bikes” printed on a sign tied to them.

Finally, free bikes!

Nope. It’s a trick.  Upon closer examination, these pink props are just ads for a company called “Foodora” that is in the business of food delivery and false hope.

The actual text is written in a few different font sizes, and it says the following:

Download our app for FREE and get a €5 discount on food delivery with our BIKES.

That’s clever.  I’m fairly upset that I can’t ride a pink bike to work every day, but at least I know where to order some food if I get hungry.

Free bikes in Amsterdam ad

Dutch Word of the Day:


This word is pronounced “Grah (the same sound as ‘rat’ without the ‘t’)-Tiss (rhymes with ‘miss’)”, and it means “free”.  It’s a word that you’re very unlikely to use when talking about getting a bike in Amsterdam.