The Key to Buying a Cheap Bike in Amsterdam

Photo Source: Michael Skomsky/randomamsterdam

An Amsterdammer’s main mode of transportation, if you haven’t noticed already, is a bike (fiets). For every inhabitant in this wonderful city, there are roughly 2 bikes. With that being said, if you haven’t already picked one up and are new to the city, what are you waiting for?

As an expat (NYC transplant), arriving in Amsterdam was a little different but nothing one couldn’t handle with a little confidence. I figured, in order to feel like a local, well, be a local. It’s Makkelijk! What is one of the first steps to being a local here? Get a bike!

The beginning of the search was a little overwhelming when seeing the price tags on some bikes in storefront windows. However, after a little research and aimlessly wandering around, I stumbled upon Waterlooplein Outdoor Flea Market. I did a few walkthroughs and test runs through the market, checking out bike vendors, stopping for some frites and being distracted by the heaps of junk spread among dingy blankets. After a few days of observing others buying things, not only did I feel like a creep, I came to my senses and realized that I found a loop hole. Of course it’s appropriate to haggle, it’s a flea market! However, it gets better… Rain! Who wants to shop in the rain? And as we all know, it absolutely rains here in the Netherlands. The clouds open up, potential customers run for cover, and vendors button up their coats and tighten their hoods. Well, that’s when I come in twirling my umbrella and whistling “Singing in the Rain”.

Being the only customer at that time and braving the onslaught of cloud barf, it’s fair to say that I have the upper hand. With no customers, especially in wet, uncomfortable conditions, money is money.

“How much do you want for this one?”

“90 euro.”

“Eh, that’s a little steep. Would you do 50?”

“I can’t. How about 80?”

“55.”

“No, 70?”

“60, and that’s all I have, sorry.”

Done deal! Saved 30 euros and it was a nice bike!

Of course after a while I found out about a group on Facebook called ISN Amsterdam Online Market, which is like Amsterdam’s Craigslist, Facebook Edition. You can get fairly priced bikes on there (and a lot of other goodies) through people who need to move, bought a new bike and don’t need it anymore, etc. However, I heard about that through a friend of a friend and being new in the city a while back when I bought my bike, I didn’t have a friend of a friend who’s mom’s brother’s friend is selling a sweet bike. In any case, keep in mind, Waterlooplein Market does have a pretty big selection to choose from and you might find other great things too. So check it out!

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