There is nothing better in Amsterdam than to cycle along the roads by the canals in the beautiful sunshine. You feel like you are in the best place on the planet. That feeling of freedom, the fresh air, the warmth of the sun on your face. (other weather options are available…) The flip side is that terrible realisation when you go to get your bike and it is not where you left it.
At first, you look around a bit in the area, then your heart starts to beat a little faster as you rack your brains to remember where you left your trusty iron steed. Further down the street ? At friend’s house ? Or at work ? Had a few beers, did I actually use my bike last night ? Next the stark reality hits you like a train – your bike has been stolen.
You will never fell really Dutch until your bike has been stolen !
(lock it to something !)
How best to avoid your bike being stolen….
Leave it permanently locked up in the cupboard under the stairs.
Or, or, buy a really good lock. Those 10 euros locks might seem good value, but they look like you could cut through them with a pair of children’s plastic scissors. The cheaper locks are part of the problem. The less work the thief has to do, the more likely he will target your bike. Sure it’s hard when you found a great second hand bike to justify 70 euros on the lock, but it is worth it.
Get a really good lock ! Or two….
Lock it or lose it is the rule for bike ownership in Amsterdam. It is also very easy to lose it even when your bike it locked up. We had 7 bikes stolen in one year. It is just part and parcel of living in this great cycling city. In general there are 3 rules you should apply :
- Have a great lock. A big thick, solid one.
- Lock your bike to something. The bike, not just the front wheel.
- Try to do that somewhere well lit where a thief will not want to operate
Nowadays, it’s also parts of the bike that are being stolen : baskets, baby seats, lights, dynamos, seats, etc. If it can be removed and sold on that will happen.
With a little bit of luck your bike will never be stolen, but a lot of that depends on you !
What to do when stolen :
When you realise a thief stole your bike, you can start by swearing very loudly in public, going for a beer and recharging your OV Chip Card.
If it is insured, you should go to the police as you will need to do that in order for your insurance process to start. Not everyone does though as with between 50,000 and 80,000 bikes stolen every year, you could imagine the queues at the police stations just for that.
You can ring 0900 8844 or visit: http://www.politie.nl/. The best used to be to just to walk into your local station and file a report. They will not have a car ready to drive you around looking for it. They will most likely get you to go online and file a report.
Some people just resign themselves to buying another bike to get around on. If you insured it, then you can easily lodge a claim. If the bike was new and you bought the insurance with your bike, you will need the ORIGINAL keys of the little lock on the back wheel to validate the insurance claim. We hope you kept them in a safe place….
Or rent a bike with our list of bike rental agencies here : https://internationallocals.nl/category/services/bikehire/
All things going well, you will get a new bike within 5 days of the claim at the shop and they will give you another new bike to that value. This is part of the advantage of buying in a shop and not at Waterlooplein !
It seems so simple….well it is ! You know the Dutch are great for insurance, right ? That’s it…..or is it ?
There are nearly a million bikes in Amsterdam, so there are some rules about where you can park, just like for cars. Can you imagine the mayhem there would be if everyone just parked their bike wherever they wanted ? Actually it is quite easy to imagine !
(There it is !)
Maybe the team of zealous bike collectors took your bike away. If you parked it in the wrong place, that can happen. The city has lots of bike removal officers with bike trucks that will cut your chain and take it to the bicycle repository. Every day they are out in force removing bikes for the greater good. Look for the white line rectangles that are in the busier places.
You can ring them with a description and then come to try to find it. You will need the bike keys as you have to prove it belongs to you and then pay a small service charge. It is good to have a unique decoration on your bike as that will help them find it. Especially as they have tens of thousands of bikes there. Happy fishing ! The centre is in West and you can reach them on the phone first 020 334 4522
Prevention is best, so lock up up properly, so you never need to read this again !