Life in Leiden: How to Find a Bike

So, you have arrived in Leiden, are quite settled in your new room, and term is about to start. You realize you miss one thing and envy every person who has one: a bike. Here are a few tips on how to acquire one.

Don’t

… buy a new one. There’s no need to. You would have to spend at least €100 and probably a lot more to buy an average quality new bike, whilst you can get yourself a second hand bike for around €60 (don’t pay much more than that).

Do

… go to one of the following bike stores. They all sell second hand bikes. You should be able to buy one for around €60, or less if you are lucky – although we have noticed prices have gone up over the past couple of years. Some stores might be trying to take advantage of international students by charging higher prices than a Dutch student would ever pay. So beware. Anyway, these are your best options:

  • Second Life Rijwielen – Vrouwensteeg 18
  • Budget Bike – Hogewoerd 71 and Haven 14
  • Kaasmarkt Rijwielen – Kaasmarkt 5
  • Het Warenhuis Willem Barentszstraat 12 (thrift store)
  • Dullaart Fietsen – Morsstraat 46
  • Gijs Tweedehands Fietsen – Lage Rijndijk 92c
  • Wielershop Habraken – Haarlemmerweg 1
  • Of course, there are many more bike stores, but these are supposed to be among the cheaper ones.

 Another option is to lease a bike. Easyfiets offers lease bikes for short-term (1-6 months) or long-term (12+ months) stays in Leiden. For a fixed price you can pick any bike you like from their store. All bikes include lights and locks and all repairs are free as well. You can return your bike any time you like (at which point you will get your € 40,- deposit back) so no hassle with selling your bike at the end of term. For more information check out their website.

When you’re visiting any other town in the Netherlands, you should definitely try OV-fiets (which means public transport bike). OV-fietsen are lended by the Dutch railway company NS. After subscription at their website, you can rent a bike at almost every train station in the Netherlands, for € 3,85 a day.

Facebook and Internet

You could also try to buy a bike via the Internet. The Leiden Housing facebook group is a good place to start. A lot of international students leaving for home sell their bikes there (at the end of term). However, if you try to find a bike in September, you might have a harder time, since everybody is trying to do the same. Be clever and go to the Dutch eBay, called Marktplaats. The website is in Dutch, but here are a few tips on using it:

  • Search for ‘fiets’ (bike) / ‘damesfiets’ (ladies’ bike) / ‘herenfiets’ (gents’ bike) / racefiets (racing bike) / vouwfiets (folding bike) / kinderfiets (children’s bike, in case you’re not as tall as your average Dutchman).
  • Create an account so you can make a bid.
  • When you find a bike that looks suitable enough, contact the seller asap (phone them if possible, it’s definitely the fastest way to secure it). Ask if you can visit to see and try the bike before you buy it – like everywhere, there are scams around here, too, and it might just not be what you want.
  • Try to negotiate about the price if it seems unreasonable for you (but don’t expect to pay less than €50 for a reasonable looking bike).

Supermarkets

Check out the notice boards at supermarkets. Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Hoogvliet have one.

LOCK IT

Once you are the proud owner of a bike, do not forget to buy a solid lock – even if your bike is already fitted with a wheel lock. Unfortunately, bike theft seems to be rather popular in Leiden (or any student city, for that matter). You can buy one at HEMA in Haarlemmerstraat, for example. Good luck! Need any more help? Just ask! Happy cycling!

We thankfully mention EasyFiets as a sponsor of Contrast.