Fun fact, according to a 2018 report released by the Dutch government, The Netherlands accommodates 17 million inhabitants and 23 million bicycles.
In the Netherlands, a bike is a valuable if not necessary commodity. Nothing new here, what can I say; the stereotypes are true. However, what might be new information is just how common and widespread bike theft is. Here are some tips on how to obtain a bike (the easy bit) and more importantly, how to decrease your chances of having it stolen (the tricky bit).
Let me first prelude this article by mentioning that there are alternatives to buying a bike, such as subscription services like Swapfiets. But if you want to have your own two-wheeler (which saves you money in the long term), read on.
1A new bike is a gone bike
As tempting as a shiny new bicycle can seem, it is a risky, risky move. Why? If it looks shiny and tempting to you, it will stand out as shiny and tempting to bike thieves. New bicycles tend to be very pricy (good luck finding one under 300 euros) and are the first ones to disappear. And the benefits are not so prominent in the Netherlands; it’s flat, and distances are rather short, so a state-of-the-art bike isn’t going to make a mind-blowing difference. Worth the risk? I don’t think so!
2Buy a second-hand bike from an official seller
Now that we agreed that second-hand is the way to go let’s talk about where to get your hands on one. There are three ways to obtain a used bike; (a) buy a stolen bike in a dark alley, (b) buy it from a friend or someone online (Facebook, marktplaats, etc.), (c) buy a second-hand bike from a shop.
While a stolen bike might be the cheapest option, you are participating in the very situation you are trying to avoid here, which is the bike-stealing vicious circle. Then, buying it from an individual is a cheap and ethical option; check Facebook groups and marktplaats for ads (but make sure to give it a test ride before you buy).
Best option? Buy a second-hand bike from your local bike shop. The quality is usually top-notch as they fix it all up before putting it on sale; an old-looking yet smooth-riding bike is really the end goal. But the true benefit of a bike shop purchase is that it comes with a (usually 2 years) warranty, and trust us, that quickly makes up for the initial investment (around 80-100euros).