Hello ‘Dam, Hello Bike!

Amsterdam – the city of approximately 850,000 bikes so of course I had to explore this city using this popular mode of transport!

DSC01507-001

Now considering I am scared of cycling alongside traffic this was a BIG DEAL for me and certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Despite living in Oxford for 3 years I never got a bike and I only rode a Boris bike last year exploring Cable Street so to now explore a new city by bike was exciting and challenging for me.

There are plenty of bike tours and companies within Amsterdam but it always helps to have someone who lives in the city to show you around and get you the best deal.  And so my friend Carlos introduced us to Hello Bike – a bike sharing platform that allows you to move around the city with ease.

How does it work?

All you need to get a bike from Hello Bike is a smart phone with mobile data and Bluetooth capabilities, the Hello Bike app downloaded on your phone and a debit/credit card to pay for the bike on the app.

You look up on the app map where the bikes are available for hire and then you can reserve the bike for up to 20 minutes whilst you make your way to get the bike.  We were staying in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid on PC Hooftstraat, a shopping street (think London’s Bond Street full of designer shops), named after the Dutch historian, poet and playwright Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft).  We took a local tram and picked up our bikes in Beethovenplein which is near the World Trade Center Amsterdam.

File 30-09-2017, 13 09 04

The red bikes of Hello Bike are just sitting in their location, not chained to anything but not able to be carried off by Joe Bloggs.  I was so impressed by the technology of it all and the ease of getting our bikes.  We signed up for a monthly subscription, ensured our Bluetooth was on and to unlock the bike we entered the digits of our desired bike (which is printed on the bike) and through the magic of Bluetooth, you heard a ‘click’ and voila the bike was unlocked for use.

So where did we cycle to first? Hillsong Church – Amsterdam. We needed the prayers for our safety lol!  It certainly was a race against time to make it to the morning service given we were all newbies to the bike.  I struggled a bit with my bike by getting onto it as the frame was quite big for my lil’ legs.  One can adjust the seat of the bike which is great but sadly my small frame still meant my legs dangled from the bike and made my start offs difficult (you should have seen me at traffic lights, I’m sure it was either hilarious or annoying to watch me try to take off each time)

 

Me practising trying out the bicycle before attempting to take on Amsterdam

What did I think?

Word of warning – the bikes have no brakes in the normal way that one is accustomed to on the handlebars.  Instead to break you need to pedal backwards and that makes the bike brake/slow down.  This did result in me crashing into my friend at the square beside Westerkerk, the largest church in Amsterdam (so you can imagine a lot of people watching and thus a lot of embarrassment!)

Westerkerk
Westerkerk – the largest church in Amsterdam displaying Venetian style Dutch architecture. Next time I shall go inside!

 

What I loved about Hello Bike is the ability to pause your ride, lock up the bike (again through the Bluetooth) and go off and do what you want with no worry that the bike would be stolen.  It really is quite innovative how it locks and renders the bike useless unless unlocked by yourself.  I thus, on my cycling around beautiful ‘Dam, was able to pause my session as we rode to make it in time for our Sunday church service (yes we made it! #FISTPUMP), paused for lunch at a delicious Thai restaurant and then paused to take in the delightful Banksy and Dali exhibition at the Moco Museum in Museumplein.

DSC01587

 

When all was done with exploring Amsterdam we could then drop off our bikes, end our session and cancel our monthly subscription.  We dropped it back in Beethovenplein but with Hello Bike you can at any desired Hello Bike parking spot as per its map.  I can’t recommend Hello Bike enough to go around Amsterdam.  It was only €4 for 12 hours and if you only want to use for an hour it is only €1 – bargain!

Hello beautiful ‘Dam!

Cycling round Amsterdam was so amazing.  It truly is a beautiful city and we got to see the amazing architecture,

DSC01397

DSC01369

the picturesque canals,

DSC01374

DSC01363

DSC01402

and cycle through Vondelpark.

DSC01460-001
A beautiful fountain in Vondelpark

 

What I loved about seeing the city by bike was just truly focusing on my surroundings and enjoying it without the intrusion of trying to capture the city’s essence on my camera.  As I always say the best camera are your eyes and they will store the memory vividly!

Living my best life by bicycle,

File 30-09-2017, 14 41 16

The 5 to 9 Traveller x

 

 

This post was not sponsored and all opinions are my own. 


7 thoughts on “Hello ‘Dam, Hello Bike!

  1. Such a nice story to read!! I’m from Amsterdam and always love to read the experiences of others. Some of your pictures are just around the corner of my house! Happy you did go cycling even with traffic, there are so many cycling lanes that at most places you’re ok. It’s the most Dutch experience you can get so good job! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great idea! I’ve been to Amsterdam twice already but haven’t cycled there yet. I’ve got a trip planned to go back next year so will definitely check this out then 🙂 thanks so much for the tips!

    Like

  3. Wow, I live in the Netherlands and I’m not sure I’d risk riding a bike through the craziness of Amsterdam, you’re very brave! Your story is very funny too, my first Dutch bike I couldn’t adjust the height so I know all about the difficulty of getting started again at the traffic lights! Great tips for using the Hello Bikes, I’ll have to remember them if I ever do decide to risk bicycling in the Dam 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow here is me thinking everyone in Amsterdam would be a pro at cycling! That makes me feel better. Definately give it a shot! If I can do it definately anyone can as I am woeful lol! Thanks for reading

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s