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Bike riding in Amsterdam with kids

My sister and I will be traveling with our kids (ages 11, 10, 8 & 3) to Amsterdam in March. If the weather is nice enough I'd like to rent bikes for a day and ride out to the country. The big kids can of course ride their own bikes and my toddler would ride with me on my bike (on a child seat?). I've looked at a couple rental websites and it seems that most don't do reservations...just show up and rent a bike. Is this your experience or should I find a company that does reservations? (I'm mostly concerned about a place having enough child bikes and a child seat).
Also, I was thinking of heading out of Amsterdam, going to Marken, taking the ferry to Volendam, riding to Edam, going down to Broek in Waterland then back to Amsterdam. Is that way too much with kids? I'm ok with it taking all day and taking our time but I don't want to deal with tired legs half way through. (Our kids are not hardcore cyclists, if that helps. Riding to them is riding around the neighborhood with their friends)
Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

Posted by
7193 posts

Don't bike ride in Amsterdam with kids without having the finest in international collision insurance. It can be dangerous as the city is party central western world college spring break potentially crowded a wide variety of pedestrians e.g. young and old tourists high on marijuana and not familiar or interested in the flow of traffic and bike lanes; I know because I left a coffee shop in Amsterdam after toking and got run over by a bike but it was my fault because I was high and had no regard for the bike lanes; all I remember hearing was a "ching ching" from the person that ran me over. Not to mention the weather will be crap;

Posted by
1821 posts

I'm looking into the same thing. A group tour might be a good option.

Posted by
2487 posts

Please, don't! Unfamiliar city. Unfamiliar traffic. With a group of five, three of which are children. Take the train to Hoorn, which is a beauty, or to the Zaanse Schans, which everybody will enjoy.
And about the videos. The man in the second one is not a German, but a Dutchman deliberately speaking his English with an exaggerated Dutch accent, which might sound German to English speakers. And the third video is meant to show how half the cyclists are not obeying the traffic rules (those are for stupid cars!), but having their implicit rules to keep it safe.

Posted by
2487 posts

But I am a native Dutch speaker. It is meant as a Dutchman, not a German, with an awful English pronunciation.

Posted by
228 posts

Please DON'T if you value your children's and your own lives .

Posted by
1821 posts

jgarrett..Let me apologize for other responses from people who have obviously misread your question. While riding in Amsterdam is hectic that is much different than what you proposed, riding North of the city. I would inquire with one of the many bicycle tour companies that offer group tours.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Richard. No, I am not interested in taking all the kids on a bike tour through Amsterdam. I am very aware of the safety issues that would cause for us and others! I want to do a ride out of town where there is much less traffic.

Posted by
6 posts

I wanted to write an update on our trip for anyone else wanting to bike ride with kids in the Netherlands:

DO IT!! It was a highlight of our trip and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

HOWEVER.....I do NOT recommend riding around Amsterdam. The bike traffic is crazy in the city and the riders are "like New York taxi drivers" (as described to me by a local).

I DO recommend riding north of Amsterdam. We went up to Broek in Waterland, had lunch, then headed towards Marken. It got too windy to continue but on a sunny day with no wind, it would have been perfect. It was a long day with kids and we were exhausted that night but it was so much fun and all of the kids said it was one of their favorite things we did the whole 2 weeks we traveled around.

We rented a child tandem bike from MacBike (child sits in front, adult behind, both pedal but adult steers) for our 8 year old and I highly recommend it for children who aren't confident/skilled enough to ride on their own. The mini bikes the older 2 children had worked great for them and the child seat on the back of my bike was great for our 3 year old. I wouldn't recommend a child seat for a child older than 4 as they would probably feel too squished.

The country around Amsterdam is picturesque and biking is a great way to slow down and savor it.

Posted by
670 posts

Thanks for reporting back! This will be great information for others who want to bike in the countryside.

Posted by
27737 posts

I'm so glad you went for it!!!

These kids of yours have such fabulous permanent memories. They won't forget, I'm sure!!

Posted by
1821 posts

Thanks for the follow up, happy you had a great time. I'm glad I booked a private guide. We plan on doing a little riding in the city before heading North. I hope we have half as good a time as you did. Did you go it alone or with a tour? I was considering just renting bikes but since it's our first day after flying, I'd rather not have to navigate.