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bike in europe(9 posts)

bike in europejfd141
Oct 5, 2002 4:12 PM
I will be studying abroad in the Netherlands next semester and am curious what my best options for a bike would be. I currently ride a trek 1200 and can't really justify shipping it over if the cost is a lot. I know there is a large bike culture in Europe, especially the Netherlands. Does this mean I can find a good used road bike and then just sell it when I come back to the states or are most of the used bikes those commuter types? Interesting side note: my advisor said there is a huge black market for stolen bikes in Amsterdam and I shouldn't ride it into the city even with a good lock. Anybody had any experience with this? Thanks.

re: bike in europedivve
Oct 5, 2002 5:15 PM
Most decent bike shops in the Netherlands have a good selection of second hand bikes. You can sell it when you leave again, but expect to loose some money. You can try selling it to an individual if you're lucky you might get a decent price. The problem in the Netherlands is that there's not such a buyers culture like in the US. For the more expensive items people very much rely on the security and trust that comes with buying from a shop. Places such as Ebay there are a pretty dismal affair.

Yeah, when using a bike there for just for transport get the most basic thing you can find. Even then you'll need a decent lock...thieves there even steel $50 dollar pieces of crap. Over a million bikes get stolen in the Netherlands a year. The police doesn't even bother investigating anymore.
Oct 5, 2002 5:34 PM
You will never see as many bikes in one place as the bike "parking lot" near the central train station in Amsterdam. It is interesting that most of these are commuter bikes at least 30 years old (they often have full chain guards).

Road biking should be an interesting experience. Most of Europe seems to consider a road "shoulder" to be a waste of valuable space, so they are almost non-existant... in fact in mountainous areas, the roads can be so narrow that a car needs to pull over if a bus is approaching- however drivers are generally more courteous than in the US. Guard rails? Road designers must believe they are for wimps.

I'm contemplating taking my bike to Europe (I have in-laws). My primary concern is contending with the long tunnels through mountains- they have no shoulders either, and are poorly lit. I'm very curious how the locals bike through these.

BTW- your best bet "might" be to take your bike as luggage. Buy a good flight case (new or used)and sell it on ebay when you return (or keep it for future travel). Even if you pay about $150 extra in airfare, you will likely come out ahead. A semester without a bike can be a long time.
Oct 5, 2002 5:40 PM
Those full chain guard bikes (retro style or not) are basically the standard bikes sold in almost every bike shop. They aren't 30 years old:)
Oct 6, 2002 6:18 AM
...but isn't a Sturmy Archer setup rather vintage, or are they still making three-speed hubs? They are everywhere.
Oct 6, 2002 10:03 AM
Yes they still have those things. The most standard bikes however have a "pedal back" brake. I'm not sure how you call it but the brake is built into the rear hub and you pedal backward about a quarter rotation to brake. There's no front brake.

They call this a "Grandma" bike (very popular)

Basic men's bike

Men's bike with drum brakes and Sturmy Archer type of hub gear (3)

and finally a Kickbike City Cruiser....
dimly lit road tunnels...philippec
Oct 6, 2002 10:39 AM
are less and less common -- weell, let me qualify that: dimply /non lit tunnels where you cannot see light from the other side are less and less common, at least in the French Alpes and the Pyrenees. Thar said - you do still find some shorter tunnels sans lighting. How do we ride this? Push the sunglasses up, close one eye before you go in, shift your weight back (potholes!), take possession of the road (the cars understand) and let her rip!! I have never seen or heard of an accident in a tunnel here (well, I know one guy who pegged a goat once, but technically, he was already out of the tunnel when it happened) so have no fear!!

Oh, and re. the bicycle parking outside of the Amsterdam Central, if you stare wistfully at the bikes long enough, some junkie will come up and ask which bike you want -- for a few Euros and a guilty conscience, they will snip one to order for you. Legit. city bikes can be had for relatively cheap at any university cycle shop. Racing bikes are less inexpensive but you can find a pretty good deal if you snoop around the race shops (Gazelles are a dime a dozen and are OK bikes). I picked up a blue steel Pinarello w/ full Campy Nuevo Record in pristine condition "it was only ridden sundays..." for only 170 Euros a few years back --- so keep looking!


Oct 6, 2002 2:32 PM

I've been in a few undersea tunnels (in a car) in Norway that go on for miles- it is seemingly straight down at a very steep grade, flat for a few miles, than up at a very steep grade. I doubt they let bikes through these. The tolls for a car can run about $15US (round trip), but allegedly, once paid for, they are free.
Oct 7, 2002 3:49 AM
You'll want one of those commuter bikes in no time, it's all you need in the city, and you don't want anything better - I've lived there for 22 years and I've had 5 stolen over that time :(. There's a big market for them, but they're not that cheap especially in the city (expect ~$100). You may be able to get a better deal in the smaller cities, and certainly if you walk around the university buildings in the center of the city for a while (expect ~$10), but the latter will be freshly stolen and I for one do not approve. Expect to pay at least half the value of the bike for your lock...

For touring around, the countryside around Amsterdam is beautiful but flat. There's some minor hills around Nijmegen and Maastricht. Bikes are usually free on international flights as long as they are packed (anything from a brown cardboard box with the pedals taken off to a fancy $300 case), but normal overweight penalties still apply. There's no ebay to get a used bike, but there are usually fairly good deals in the classifieds (a weekly called "via-via" and places like All in Dutch of course). I bought my first roadbike used from an older gentleman who had maintained it well, for about $150. Under no circumstances leave your road bike out of sight in the city.

As far as riding on the roads is concerned, drivers expect cyclists on the road, but you do need to keep an eye out. Driving with a hand-held phone is illegal in the Netherlands (you can drive with a handsfree set) but that doesn't mean accidents don't happen. Trucks can't always see what's behind or beside them when they make a (right-hand) turn.

And try the fish.