Biking in Groningen
If you have ever disliked biking or worse, if you have never biked in your life either make sure you learn how to or choose a country which doesn’t start with ‘N’ and ends with ‘etherlands’. Groningen and this beautiful country are all about biking. Since the start of my experience, now almost 3 months ago, I have not been happier about one of my purchases than when I got my bike.
I started writing this post this morning in the train to Rotterdam, reflecting on how many bikes I found in the ‘Groningen Central Station’ at 6.30 a.m. (I even had to put my bike second floor because all the other ones were full!!) and thought it would be wise to give you some advice about when/where/how to get a bike.
The first week I spent in Groningen (Kei-week) I had no bike, as I was trusting my uncle to get me a cheap one, and it was awful. All these friends of mine would be biking places and I was behind, either on foot or by bus or sitting on someone else’s bike rack, which I can tell you is not very comfortable. My first piece of advice, get a bike as soon as you enter the city, it will become your most precious and valued object in a few days.
Secondly, where do you find a bike? Again, the Netherlands are the ‘country’ for biking, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find one. Throughout the city there are stores, second hand stores, every once in a while the municipality holds a bike sale, but be sure to get there early in the morning and that you have a credit card and quite some money on it or you won’t get one (check the days online). Facebook, just like I said in the last post, looks like it is handy even when it comes to buying bikes. There is a variety of bikes which can be purchased, but be careful not to get stolen ones, this will be a backstabber. Talking about my personal experience, my uncle got it on www.marktplaats.nl which is a Dutch website that sells all kinds of items. All you have to do is search for your location and the item you are looking for and hundreds will pop up. Oh, I was about to forget, don’t try stealing one, Karma will get you back.
Once you have a bike make sure you know how to use it. One day, as I was sitting in the Grote Markt, I saw international students being taught how to bike and then falling off their bikes not once but multiple times, but they were very brave and got up again. Biking in the city isn’t easy. I have heard that the first few weeks there are a lot of accidents due to the new students coming in. I found this really funny.
I, myself, experienced a friend of mine getting hit by a car. Be careful about red lights!
I think I have come down to giving you a lot of advice, I hope this was helpful. One last thing, watch out for the weather on www.buienradar.nl before getting on your bike, I almost hit a car because I was biking under the rain and slipped while braking. And don't forget to always always always chain it to something, you don't want to lose it after your first week in Groningen! Have fun touring this city on your 2 wheel transport.