One of the main and indispensable means of transport in the Netherlands is the bicycle. As I already explained in my first post About Amsterdam, if you don't have a bike, you're lost. Furthermore, student life cannot be understood without falls and punctures that make the stay in a foreign country much more entertaining. As a person with, let's say, average luck, I have faced two accidents, one of which involved a motorcycle and the second involved eggs and cabbage; but the idea of this post is not how to survive these types of accidents, you learn from experience. For those of you who are reading this, what really interests you is how to get a bike as soon as possible and what are the best tips when choosing.
Good pretty and cheap
When I arrived in Groningen, I was surprised by the number of bikes both in the parking lots and on the road. The idea is clear, riding a bike is a pleasure rain or hail, in fact even if it rains and hail at the same time there is nothing that can stop you. During the arrival period, prices rise by around 50 percent in the city, so it is better to wait until the season passes or get ahead of yourself via Facebook through pages like Erasmus in Groningen.
In Groningen, there are three possibilities to get a bike at a low price, that is, for less than 100 euros, and one of them is illegal, so let's leave it at two.
Second-hand bikes: they cost around 50-70 euros per bike, but you have to know how to choose. My recommendation is that you look for something that fits you, not too small nor too big, comparing the height of the saddle with the length of the leg, preferably with hand brakes instead of pedal brakes and that the wheels are not too worn.
The cheapest second-use bike stores are usually located far from the center, one of the options is located on Korreweg street near the Noorderplatsoen park.
However, one of the drawbacks linked to this type of low-priced acquisition is quality. Being second-hand, they are basically designed to last the 5 months of your Erasmus stay. In case you decide to stay longer like I did, the chances of both brakes breaking, both wheels going flat, the seat support breaking, and the lights not working are pretty high.
There are always good Samaritans like roommates or classmates who have a tool on hand and will not hesitate to help you out in whatever way they can.
Second-hand bikes at the police station: the police open the first and third Friday of each month at 8:30 in the morning, according to their website, to sell bikes confiscated due to bad parking or theft. Among the vehicles for sale you can find a bargain that is worth getting up early.
My bike was stolen
In this city, one of the safest in the Netherlands according to information highlighted by the University of Groningen, they have a problem with bikes. Theft and sale in the junkie market is the order of the day. This was another of the possibilities with which they can buy a bike and which, it must continue to be mentioned, is illegal.
With theft and resale of bicycles being so common, it is very likely that it will be your turn one day. Fortunately, my bike has never been stolen.
Many times it is luck and other times it is having two good chains that hold the front and rear wheel. And above all, don't forget the key in the lock. A matter of luck or not, it doesn't hurt to take precautions, so if you have some time left, you can always paint the bike to make it more recognizable and less attractive in the eyes of the thief.