Currently Closed for the Winter
Joy Ride Tours offers entertaining and intimate Amsterdam bike tours. Our specialties are Countryside Bike Tours and Private City Bike Tours. We are a small company that focuses on quality over quantity. All of our bike tours are offered in English and we also offer Private Bike Tours in French. Joy Ride Tours is an owner-operated business.
What makes us special? We limit the size of our groups to ensure that you enjoy a great ride and personal service. There are several stops for photos, and we love to share our recommendations about Amsterdam during and after your bike tour. We are so positive that you will have a good time on our bike tours that we offer a money back guarantee.
Our bike tours are reasonably priced for a 4 to 5 hour experience. Bikes are included in the price of our tours, but we do not rent bikes. This means that our bikes are of higher quality than many other tour companies that rent bikes and offer bike tours.
If you are looking for fun things to do in Amsterdam, please click here for our Amsterdam Local Tips.
Our Local Tips are curated by the Joy Ride owners, Sean and Allison. After completing your Joy Ride bike tour, we also provide you with a take-home guide to our favorite Amsterdam restaurants.
We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam and hosting you on an Amsterdam Joy Ride bike tour. And now some extra advice on Amsterdam...
How to Live Like a Local in Amsterdam…
The population of The Netherlands is just over 17 million people, but the population of Amsterdam is only 820,000. You can expect a compact, global village as opposed to a large metropolis like London or Madrid. Our Amsterdam tourism board has done a very good job in attracting visitors from all over of the world. It is expected that The Netherlands will host 16.7 million tourists in 2018. That means that we more than double our Amsterdam population with tourists in the course of one year! With so many guests visiting Amsterdam, we at Joy Ride Tours want to prepare visitors with some useful tips. This will help you feel more like a local than a tourist when visiting our lovely city of Amsterdam!
The city of Amsterdam is home to 177 different nationalities, so you can expect to hear many different languages in the city center. Many of these folks will not be tourists! The most common nationalities are Moroccan, Turkish, British, German and Surinamese in that order. The national language is Dutch, but the locals will be very happy to talk with you in English or whatever languages that they may speak. It is very helpful, when asking for anything, to say “Excuse me, may I speak/ask a question in English?” When the person responds yes, you can reply with “dank je wel.” That means thank you very much and is pronounced “donk ya vel.” This will start you out on the right foot, letting the person know that you are a visitor that has taken the time to learn one Dutch phrase even though you don’t speak the local language.
In the book Stuff Dutch People Like it is written that "Dutch people consider the English or American forms of politeness a sign of weakness and reeking of insincerity and hypocrisy, these are two traits Dutch people despise." Don’t let that scare you, but also please don’t expect the same overly enthusiastic service that you are used to at home. You can expect the locals to be very direct and you should not take offense. You will find the locals to be refreshingly honest, and happy to talk with you about their city when you inquire. The Dutch tend not to legislate personal behaviour, but your neighbor will often tell you exactly how to behave. You are expected to listen, and then you can proceed to do exactly what you want. This type of policing by your peers is usually mixed with humor somewhere along the way. Asking people what they do professionally or what religion they practice is not done in The Netherlands. That is considered personal information and can be discussed after a few meetings, but not upon a first meeting. The Dutch love something called gezelligheid. It is hard to translate but means creating a cozy atmosphere in all things. Talking super loud, being unaware of others around you, or yelling into your mobile phone in restaurants or public transport will not win you any friends.
Dutch service can often be an oxymoron. It may take longer to be seated and greeted than you are used to at home. Do not snap your fingers or call out to the staff. Just wait until they come to you. There are hundreds of places to eat in Amsterdam and you will find cuisines from all over the world. This is the best city in which to try something new. Surinamese food and Indonesian food are considered local cuisine, and you can also find many Dutch restaurants. Typical Dutch food is very meat and potatoes. Joy Ride owners, Sean and Allison, created a restaurant guide that you will receive at the end of your Amsterdam bike tour. Also, tipping is around 10% and much appreciated. Tips are usually shared among the staff and do not only go to your server.
Public Transport Etiquette:
The mixture of public transport and bike culture makes the use of a car in Amsterdam almost obsolete. Trams, buses and our new metro will help you get around. It is important to wait for people to exit any type of public transport before you enter. Also, there are special seats (usually in red) that are reserved for the elderly, handicapped and pregnant women. If you are seated, keep a good eye on who gets on and readily give up your seat (even if you are not sitting in a red one). You can no longer use cash on public transport, so get a special public transport card or have your own card out and ready to pay when you enter. Be aware of arrows on the tram doors which tell you which doors are for entering and exiting. More info on Amsterdam public transportation can be found in our Local Tips "Getting Here" section. Playing loud music or talking loudly on your mobile phone is not socially acceptable while using public transport.
Red Light District Etiquette:
The Red Light District has become extremely gentrified over the last decade. It is home to many locals, as retail shops and red light windows are usually on the ground floor...but upper floors are private residences. Do not act like a drunken fool in this area and imagine that anything goes. You are in someone’s neighborhood. Do not stare or take photos of the women in the windows. They are working, so a nice smile will be appreciated.
The Dutch often say that coffee shops (places where you can buy pot and hashish) are for tourists. The Dutch are not big smokers compared to their other European neighbors. When you are smoking on the street, but aware of mothers with kids and place that joint behind your back when they pass. If you happen to consume too much, or be a first time smoker with a sudden onset of paranoia, do not call an ambulance. First, get a cola quickly and sit down and drink it. Wait 10 to 20 minutes and have another if you do not feel better. You will not die, your blood sugar has just dropped and you need to get a fast sugar rush.
It is often difficult to distinguish the bike path from the sidewalk, so be aware of where bikes are riding and where people are walking and follow that example. Amsterdam is not the city to walk without awareness while staring down at your mobile phone! Locals do not wear bike helments and cycling goes pretty fast here. Not looking around you can result in serious danger. Bikes will usually go before people on foot, so use caution even when walking out into the zebra crossing. The idea is that due to the speed in which you travel, stopping as a biker is much more difficult than stopping as a pedestrian. Just be patient and let the bikes go. If you are lucky, you might see a parent with groceries, two kids and a small dog all on one bike while also having a cigarette or talking on the phone at the same time. The Dutch are master bikers and well versed in multi-tasking while riding.
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them." - Ernest Hemingway