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