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Amsterdam Commuter

meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
edited July 2013 in Commuting chat
So I have an interesting N+1 opportunity. I've been offered a great job in Amsterdam which, for various reasons, I'm inclined to take.
From a bike commuting point of view, it's the sublime to the ridiculous. I won't be moving house to Amsterdam but commuting from the Highlands on a weekly basis and getting a flat in the city.

The question is, what sort of bike should I get for the Amsterdam commute? I certainly don't want the ubiquitous sit-up-and-beg bike that 99% of the population ride. For the first time in my life, I'm wondering if an SS might be a good idea. Only about 0.5% are road bikes. I'll leave the Volagi in Scotland for the weekends.

One option is a Volgi Viaje but it's probably an expensive overkill.

I need help!
ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH

Posts

  • kiwimattkiwimatt Posts: 208
    Having lived there can I suggest what you want is a totally anonymous sit up and beg and none too flash either - with two of the biggest dirtiest locks you can find that are preferably worth twice as much as the bike. Amsterdam bike thieves make London look like a country garden. It's pan flat and a granny bike is totally suitable for many daily km - anything else and you will constantly sweat it will not be there when you go back to get it. HTH!
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Good advice..

    If I had access to secure parking at either end...?
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • kiwimattkiwimatt Posts: 208
    You will still want to park it at the supermarket/cafe/pub/leave it locked up at the train station when you are in a hurry to get to the airport etc etc and that's when it will disappear.

    Unless your office is at one of the really outlying business parks and you get a flat more central you really don't need a 'good' bike I'm sure I averaged c.20-30km a day on my vintage 'oma fiets' (granny bike) quite happily. They really are great machines have fond memories of hauling whole crates of Grolsch on the back carrier secured with a few bungies :) Borrow or hire one for starters if you're not convinced you'll love it I'm sure
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I will double check the arrangements but the site has underground parking and there was very little sign of open bike parking.

    For sure, from what you've said, I'll need a granny bike for errands, grocery and pub runs - it's just that I commute a hilly 35 mile RT now and I don't particularly want to do less. I'm hiring a bike from the hotel tomorrow to cruise the city so I'll get some sense of what it's like.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Mr.DuckMr.Duck Posts: 174
    kiwimatt wrote:
    Amsterdam bike thieves make London look like a country garden.
    I think you'll find our London bike theives are the best :). I've seen lots of pics of those old Dutch bikes, and they use cheap but beefy chains to secure them. This would pose no problem for the London thief.

    You need some specific hardend steel security, but you can make your bike secure. Anything less than 13mm hardend steel (so pretty much every chain that's used) can be broken with hand tools in less than 5 minutes. I can go through more detail and specifics if you like...
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,593
    I certainly don't want the ubiquitous sit-up-and-beg bike that 99% of the population ride.
    On holiday in Leiden I did once see an oma fiets with handlebars about 4½ feet off the ground - and clip-on aero bars.
  • bushubushu Posts: 711
    my time cycling in holland was great but minimal roadies around until sunday morning and then they were in parks barely big enough to stretch your legs imho.. i pootled to haarlem on the hotel rental bike an saw just 2 road bikes. Going pretty fast on the cycle paths seemed suicidal as they were always catching up to nodders on phones or me with a half crate of beer balanced up front :lol:
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    I've lived in Amsterdam for two years in the centre on the Geldersekade. In Amsterdam you can't have a bike that has any value as it will be stolen. I had three bikes stolen over the period, none of them was worth more than 100 Euro. Get a dutch bike, one of those with the back pedal brake... they are fun to ride and totally suited to the place. Otherwise get a Brompton, at least you can have it with you at all times. Only issue is tram tracks, there are loads of tram tracks and Brompton wheels might not be ideal for that.... The second hand market is huge, any bike shop will have dozens of second hand bikes.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Looks like I really am going from the sublime to the ridiculous :wink:

    Highlands with practically zero bike theft, no other cyclists, lots of hills and full-attack cycling on an ultra-modern bike to Amsterdam with entirely the opposite :wink:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rubertoerubertoe Posts: 3,993
    Looks like I really am going from the sublime to the ridiculous :wink:

    Highlands with practically zero bike theft, no other cyclists, lots of hills and full-attack cycling on an ultra-modern bike to Amsterdam with entirely the opposite :wink:

    MBN MRS.

    Having never ridden in Amsterdam, I'm sure the advice given from those that have is warranted. I'm sure you'll love it either way.
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Looks like I really am going from the sublime to the ridiculous :wink:

    Highlands with practically zero bike theft, no other cyclists, lots of hills and full-attack cycling on an ultra-modern bike to Amsterdam with entirely the opposite :wink:

    Much of the city centre is cobbles, with tram tracks... there are tourists all over the place, who don't know what a cycle lane is and walk on it. Things like 23 mm tyres and clip in pedals are an un-necessary and dangerous choice. Gears are pointless too, as there is virtually no incline, other than canal bridges. Dutch bikes make a lot of sense... they have a huge fork rake, they are very comfortable on the broken surface and mount tyres which are really puncture free. Nobody goes around with spare tubes and repair kits and I don't remember ever having a puncture, even if, as you can imagine, broken glass on the streets is not unusual.
    Most importantly, enjoy it, it is a truly amazing place to live
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Looks like I really am going from the sublime to the ridiculous :wink:

    Highlands with practically zero bike theft, no other cyclists, lots of hills and full-attack cycling on an ultra-modern bike to Amsterdam with entirely the opposite :wink:

    Much of the city centre is cobbles, with tram tracks... there are tourists all over the place, who don't know what a cycle lane is and walk on it. Things like 23 mm tyres and clip in pedals are an un-necessary and dangerous choice. Gears are pointless too, as there is virtually no incline, other than canal bridges. Dutch bikes make a lot of sense... they have a huge fork rake, they are very comfortable on the broken surface and mount tyres which are really puncture free. Nobody goes around with spare tubes and repair kits and I don't remember ever having a puncture, even if, as you can imagine, broken glass on the streets is not unusual.
    Most importantly, enjoy it, it is a truly amazing place to live

    /\ /\ This.

    But... :D

    you actually need TWO bikes out there: a city bike and a nice bike for getting out of the city and which can be kept in the flat. Loads of places to explore, and it'd be a shame to miss out on those.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Just been into the city centre on a 2 tonne hotel hire bike and absolutely understand all of the advice on here - it makes a lot of sense in context - thank you.

    Bizarrely, in winter, I can actually see myself on the TT (Tacx VR thing) doing "hills" in my flat before or after my commute on a granny bike. It does look like a fabulous city to live in (I've visited a few times)
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Nothing constructive to add I'm afraid, although I did have a friend who visited Amsterdam and found something suitable to ride after just a bit of window shopping. :wink:
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,561 Lives Here
    There's a reason they all ride sit up and begs.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,047
    I did exactly the same as you before I came to NL, had my eye on all sorts of boutique fixies.

    Now i have a knackered bike on which the black respray is wearing off that I dump at the station in Leiden before getting the train to the hague. It's perfect for what it's used for which is being totally abused! Try riding a fixie one handed with the other hand holding a crate of beer on the rear rack!

    if your anything like me when you re riding it with both hands free you ll ride it like a maniac anyway which is a whole load of different fun...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
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