Surviving the hunt for a used bike
This is part of Stichting Stunt, a foundation that helps people on benefits to become active citizens again and find work. "Bike Recycle is a training company to help these people reintegrate and get them back on the rails so to speak," said Marc Boekenstijn, project developer and adviser. Most of their bikes come from Fietsdepot Haaglanden, which confiscates abandoned bikes on behalf of the municipality. Bike Recycle refurbishes the bikes, which are then sold on for €75-€150 on average. "We'll provide you with a receipt, but no guarantee as such. Although, if you do have any problems with one of our bikes, you can always come back to us," said Boekenstijn. Their workshop has been located next to the thrift store at Rotterdamseweg 404.
Part of the Ipse de Bruggen foundation, Brik-Fit is a bicycle workshop that gives mentally challenged people the chance to work and earn some money. They make new bikes from old parts and paint them in a variety of colours. They are not luxurious, all of them have back-pedal brakes, but they do come with lights and a lock. "99% of our bikes come from the student housing association, DUWO, when they've been abandoned," explained Raymond Hiensman, employee. "Prices are around €100 to €125 and come with a six week guarantee," he said. You can visit Brik-Fit at Mercuriusweg 1, near De Hoven shopping centre.
Working out of his back garden at Schrobbelaarstraat 34, Cloosterman provides a bike repair service as well as fixing and selling used bikes. "For around €100 you can buy a bike from me. I try to make them technically perfect, so sometimes they cost a little more. I also give a three month guarantee," he said. Well-known in Delft, Cloosterman has a lot of students as customers. "The Dutch students generally want a simple back-pedal bike, and the international students usually prefer hand brakes and gears," he said. All of his bikes are checked and registered so you don't need to worry about a dodgy history.
There are a number of places you can search for a used bike online. Marktplaats is like the Dutch eBay, and you'll find plenty there for sale, but things sell fast and the site is only in Dutch. Facebook is also a great source, and popular groups worth checking are: TU Delft Internationals, Bikes For Sale in The Hague and Commodity Market Rotterdam. "Whenever you buy a used bike, make sure you get a receipt, otherwise you'll have trouble if you're stopped and it turns out to be stolen," warned Cloosterman.
Don't rule out visiting a regular bike shop on the high street. There are plenty around that sell second-hand bikes as well as new ones. On average they are a little more expensive than elsewhere, but you know they're serviced and safe, and you'll usually get some kind of guarantee. Our top tips are 'Opknapper' at Van Schuijlenburchstraat 62 and 'De Fietsenreus' at Vrouw Juttenland 8. Also check the Practical Places section on the What's On! app.
If you don't want the responsibility of maintaining a bike yourself, consider renting one. Swapfiets rents out bikes for a fixed monthly fee of €10 for students, and you get the security of always having a working bike. In the event of a breakdown, your bike will be swapped within 12 hours, at no extra cost, delivered to you within Delft.
This is an updated version of a previous Survival Guide article.
Also read: Surviving the cycling rules