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How to survive in Groningen: Where do I buy a bike?

Did you know that Groningen is the number one bike city in the world? Riding your bicycle is not just the easiest and most environmentally friendly way to get around, but also the best way to keep fit for free. So how do you get your hands on a bike of your own?

Facebook groups

There are several Facebook groups that facilitate the buying and selling of bikes by private persons. Try Bicycles for sale in Groningen, for example. You will find a wide variety of models there: from new, fancy racing bikes to cheap standard ones that have seen better days but still get you from A to B. Be sure to check a bike in real life before agreeing to a sale.

Bicycle stores

You will find an abundance of bicycle stores in and around the city centre that sell second-hand fietsen and also offer repair services. The advantage of these stores is that you can compare different models and get help from the staff to pick a bicycle that’s right for you. Try Bikes in Groningen (Sint Jansstraat 25) or De Ganze Fietsen (Oude Kijk in ’t Jatstraat 69). Another perk: if you’re a member of a study association, you’ll get a discount in some of these shops. However, getting a decent bike at a store is slightly pricier than buying one from a private person. 

Swapfiets and OV-fiets 

Swapfiets delivers a bike right to your doorstep. For 16.50 euros a month you lease a bike from them. If it breaks down, you just give them a call and they’ll come and swap it for a functioning one without any additional costs. No more paying for expensive repairs! 

An OV-fiets is a good option for short-term rentals, like when your friends or family visit and you want to give them an authentic Dutch experience. Make sure you get an OV-chipcard, which you need for public transport, before going to the OV-fiets office, since you can only rent one if you have the right product on your card. A day’s rent is 3.85 euros.

Bike dealers 

For some broke students it’s common practice to meet up with so-called bike dealers, who’ll sell you a bike for about 30 euros. Those bikes are almost always stolen though, and if you get caught with a fenced bicycle you’ll be fined and end up with a criminal record. Not something we can recommend! 

One last thing: ALWAYS lock your bike. If you don’t, it will be gone in the blink of an eye – probably stolen by one of those bike dealers.

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