Bikes (fietsen) are synonym for the Netherlands!
A typical bike (especially in the city) comes with locks (often at least 2) and sometimes a crate on the front or saddle bags for shopping.
Be sure to have a bell to warn traffic! Child seats mounted at the front or back or a ‘bakfiets’ are quite handy if cycling with children dogs or shopping.
It is not mandatory to wear helmets when cycling.
Here are some rules regarding cycling in the Netherlands:
- It is not permitted to cycle side by side with more than two people
- It is not permitted to cycle on foot paths. You are required to make use of designated bicycle paths or else on the road.
- It is obligatory to have working lights for your bike, to ensure visibility in the dark, mist or other circumstances with limited visibility. You should have a white or yellow light on the front of your bike, and a red light on the back. If you do not have working lights, you can get fined.
More rules and regulations regarding cycling in the Netherlands can be found here.
Cycling in and around Leiden
As well as the city centre, the area around Leiden also has a lot to offer. Cycling is the ideal mode of transport for discovering the region, and there are many different cycle routes starting in Leiden. The following are a few ideas for places to visit:
Mountainbike in Katwijk
In October, a mountain bike track was opened at Sportpark De Goerie in Katwijk. Open to the public and good fun for beginners, though it also offers challenging sections for advanced mountain bikers.
The dunes in Noordwijk and Katwijk
Leiden is just ten kilometres from the North Sea coast. You can enjoy an exhilarating cycle ride in the dune area with its varied landscape; the tops of the dunes even reach a height of 25 metres in some parts! There are also attractive seaside resorts like Katwijk and Noordwijk to call in at on the way.
The Bulb Region
From Leiden it is a short cycle ride to the Bulb Region, where in spring time you can see vast panoramas of colorful bulbfields in full bloom. You can combine your cycle ride with a visit to the Keukenhof garden. Even outside the bulb season, the area is well worth a visit.
The Kaag lakes and polders
A few kilometres outside Leiden you will find an area of polders and lakes, known in Dutch as the Kagerplassen. The region is famous for its varied landscape; it has large stretches of water with peat meadows, or polders, in between. The Kaag lakes are natural lakes, edged with ragged shorelines. There are many impressive windmills to see in the area. In the Tourist Information Centre several maps and books are for sale.
It is easy to rent a bike per day or per week.
Parking your bicycle around Leiden Central Station
Around the Central Station in Leiden it is prohibited to park your bike outside of the designated areas. These areas are indicated by signs that say “Fiets fout, fiets weg”. This means that, if your bicycle is parked in the wrong spot it will be removed by the municipality.
The municipality also has the right to remove your bicycle from these areas if it has been parked there in the same spot for two weeks or longer.
If you suspect your bicycle may have been taken, you can check the website: http://www.fffw-leiden.nl
On this website, photographs of the taken bicycles are published. If your bicycle has been taken, you can go to the depot to collect it. To do so, you are required to bring valid identification and the key to your bicycle. The cost of getting your bicycle back are 26 euros. Please not: the only accepted method of payment is by debit card!