Kimberly Martis is a Dutch Caribbean freelance writer. She writes about culture, beauty, tv-shows, music, movies, odd jobs and fiction.
If you’re going to spend some time in the Netherlands you may be looking for a way to travel. For long distances, you can rent a car, travel by train, bus, metro or tram. But if you’re not traveling far or you just like to ride a bicycle than a Swapfiets would be the perfect solution. You may be wondering what a Swapfiets is? Well, a Swapfiets is a bicycle that you can rent to cruise stressfree through the Netherlands. You may also wonder what the advantage is of renting a bicycle instead of buying on. This article will tell you exactly why renting a bicycle or e-bike through Swapfiets is a way better solution than buying a bicycle.
You can use a Swapfiets everywhere in the Netherlands. But you can only rent it in selected cities. If you're not living or staying in one of the selected cities a Swapfiets is still available for you but you have to pick it up or get it delivered in one of the selected cities. This also applies when receiving maintenance. These are the selected cities:
Fun fact: Swapfiets also rents out bicycles and e-bikes in Belgium, Germany, and Denmark.
Types of bicycles and e-bike
At the moment Swapfiets offers three different types of bicycles. These bicycles come in different colors even though you can’t choose the color. You are allowed to give a preference but there is no guarantee that you will receive a bicycle in that color.
This is a simple city bicycle with coaster brakes. It comes in the sizes small and large. And holds a maximum of 100kg. It is available in the colors red, blue, black, orange and grey.
This is a luxurious bike with 7 gears, handbrakes, and coaster brakes. It comes in the sizes: small, medium and large. And holds a maximum of 110kg. It is available in the colors blue, black, grey, and green.
This is an e-bike with a removable battery, gears, and handbrakes. It comes in the sizes small and large. And it holds a maximum of 130kg. It is available in the colors green, grey and black.
Fun fact: all of the bicycles that Swapfiets rents have a blue front tire. This came to life because of the founders are from a city called Delft that is known for the color Delftsblauw (Delftsblue)
How It Works
First, you have to sign up for a Swapfiets. The Swapfiets team will then contact you to let you know that your bicycle is ready. After that, you can set up an appointment to receive your bicycle. You can either pick it up at one of the Swapfiets stores or let the team deliver it at a location of your choice.
The minimum contract to rent a bicycle or e-bike at Swapfiets is 1 month with a cancellation period of 1 month. The only exception to this is when you rent a bicycle or e-bike in the cities Utrecht, Leiden, and Rotterdam. They have a minimum contract of 3 months with a 1-month cancellation period.
You have to be 18 years or older to open up a subscription with Swapfiets. If you are under the age of 18 you can have a subscription with Swapfiets if an adult co-signs.
Prices and payment
The subscription for the Original bike is the cheapest. The subscription for the Deluxe 7 bike is a bit more expensive. And the subscription for the Power 7 e-bike is priced the highest. The payment for each subscription will be done monthly.
Businesses can also use Swapfiets. And businesses have the opportunity to pay on a yearly basis instead of monthly.
Students may get a discount provided that they are enrolled in a university that’s eligible for a discount.
Buying a Swapfiets
It’s not possible to buy a bicycle or e-bike from Swapfiets. Therefore renting is your only option if you want a Swapfiets. At times you may see a bicycle from Swapfiets up for sale. This is actually not through the company nor is it legal. So, don’t try to buy one as it won’t be a fair sale.
Just like any other vehicle a bicycle can get damaged. One of the big advantages of renting a bicycle or e-bike from Swapfiets is that they take care of all the maintenance. Free of charge!
There are different ways to receive maintenance:
- Fixing on the spot. Everything gets fixed on the spot at a location of your choice. Of course inside of the service area.
- In the store. Everything gets fixed at the store. You can visit the store without an appointment.
- Swapping your bicycle. If it is not possible for the Swapfiets team to fix your bicycle on the spot or at the store than they will give you a completely new bike.
If you're renting a bicycle in one city and you're moving to another city, you're allowed to bring your bicycle with you. If you don't want to deal with all the fuss of relocating the bicycle the Swapfiets team will make it easier for you. Just contact them and tell them about your move. Hand in your bicycle at the Swapfiets store in your city and pick it up again in your new city.
Different situations ask for different solutions. Fortunately, Swapfiets always has a solution. Some of them come with an extra fee though.
Lost your key? Swapfiets will bring you a new key for €15,00.
Did someone steal your bicycle? For the Original bike, you’ll have to pay €40,00 and the Deluxe 7 bike €60,00 own risk if you double-locked the bicycle and still have the key. Besides this, you should file a police report with someone from the Swapfiets team.
Did the government store your bicycle at their depot? Swapfiets will pick it up for you and charge you €40,00. (the government stores bicycles that you park in a wrong spot at their depot)
There are different ways to get in contact with the Swapfiets team. You can send them a message through WhatsApp, send them an e-mail, a message on their Facebook page, chat with them on their page or call them.
The Swapfiets team is available from Monday till Saturday from 08.00 till 22.00.
Sidenote: the Swapfiets team is very friendly and willing to help. And they often go the extra mile for their members.
© 2019 Kimberly Martis
Kimberly Martis (author) on July 25, 2019:
Hi Liz, I don't have any numbers on how many bikes get stolen daily. I do know that it's a lot. Especially, in the big city's. It's not hard to break a lock and the police do absolutely nothing with a stolen bike report. Therefore, it's basically a free game. Besides that, a lot of bikes have the same lock that opens with the same key. Which also results in accidental bike thefts. Some people also steal just parts of a bike. Like a saddle or front tire. And yes a lot of stolen bikes get thrown in the canals. Not just in Amsterdam but throughout the country. But I guess that's just what people do as they throw many things in the canals that don't belong there.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 24, 2019:
I once rented a bike in Portugal. I was encouraged to do so by seeing so many Dutch tourists, who were older than us, hiring bikes. Whilst on a canal trip in Amsterdam we were amazed to hear how many bikes end up in the canals so I was interested in your details about theft. You have given a very comprehensive guide to Swapfiets.