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We are two French in love with the Dutch people and culture. Each time we have the time we rush there. Rather than hitchhiking (as we used to), we plan to travel across the Netherlands by bike as it will be much easier to meet people. We plan to buy 2 cheap bikes somewhere there since renting them looks more expensive, and also it'll be less stressful and more relax (no fear to damage them, no renting delay, more freedom to go wherever and whenever we want to go... ).

As usual, we will hitchhike from France because we don't want to waste 15 days out of 25 just to go to the Netherlands or to come back (we live in French Brittany, Vannes)

As we can't take the bikes back we us (we will also come back by hitchhiking), we will leave them in the Netherlands. We are thinking of lock them somewhere, maybe in a small city for a year (or 6 months, we don't know yet) before the next trip...

So the question is the question is: where can we lock a bike for such a period of time?

We don't want to put them in a place where they could bother people (such as in front of train station). We heard about the 100€ options to secure them for a year but since our bike won't cost more than 50€ (hopefully even less!), we are looking for free and safe options/advices. Would it be a good idea to park them somewhere in the North in a small city ? Less risk of theft ? But what about the police, would they allow it?

Any advice concerning these bike parking issue would be warmly appreciated !

Thanks !

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3  
Why not just sell the bikes and buy another one the next year? –  Batman Aug 30 at 16:14
    
@Batman, I've already thought about that, but I would like to find a way to keep the same bike. –  Arone Aug 30 at 16:19
    
Is taking the train rather than hitch hiking a valid option? Then you can buy in either country and still bring it back home. While hitch hiking does sound fun, not being dependent on other people to look after a bike is pretty liberating. –  BPugh Sep 1 at 7:04
    
@BPugh No train isn't an option, too expensive over here. I use hitch-hiking because it's.. well.. cheaper but mostly because I travel to meet people and hitch-hiking is a wonderful way to meet people. –  Arone Sep 2 at 9:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Probably your best bet if you want to park them is to meet someone with a large shed who'll put the bikes up for you.

If you make the finance/convenience tradeoff I think selling the bikes after your stay and getting new ones when you return might be a better option, but I understand the convenience of having the same bike.

I can think of several options that don't require you to find such a nice person but they all have their drawbacks:

  • Park them somewhere on the street. This would work for an EUR 50 bike, just fix them to something with a good lock somewhere out of the way. However, the dutch climate won't be nice to your bike.
  • Park them in any public bike parking area near a big train station. Most of them have a roof these days, and they are free. However, in the bigger cities and all university towns you're not allowed to leave your bike for more than a few days at most, and this is actively policed. So chances are your bike will be removed under this rule. If this happens you have a few months to pick it up from the depot before they sell it off.
  • Park them in a "private" bike parking area near a big office building. This might be a reasonable option if you are willing to do a bit of sneaking to get in. Most of these bike parking areas have room to spare, so two exta bikes won't bother anyone, and if you park far away from the office entrance no-one will notice the bikes standing there all the time. Downside is that these buildings are usually not in very central locations. You could even ask the concierge if he'll let you park the bikes for a few months (with the risk of him turning you down where he wouldn't have noticed the bikes if you hadn't asked).

In all cases the property owner or the local city government is within its rights to just remove your bike if it is deemed to be in the way or a wreck, which is always a risk for a EUR 50,- bike.

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1  
some carpool and park-and-ride areas will have semi-sheltered (unmonitored) bike stands, –  ratchet freak Aug 30 at 19:44
2  
@ratchetfreak Some of these bike stand are checked every once in a while, and abandonded bikes will be removed. Your bike will not be guaranteed safe there when you leave it there. –  Bernhard Aug 30 at 21:29
    
Thanks Jilles for your answer. I asked the question because I thought Netherlands would have had more option than the one available in pretty much every countries, maybe not yet. –  Arone Sep 2 at 9:18
    
Apart from a very bike friendly country we are also one of the most densely populated ones. We don't really have the space for free (or very cheap) long-term bike storage Or more accurately: nobody is rich enough to offer it. –  jilles de wit Sep 2 at 22:52

Join http://WarmShowers.org I have seen many members offering a place to store a bike.

Or, buy them at a bike shop that will take care of them for you afterward.

Or, go home on the train and take them with you. http://www.google.com/search?q=bikes+on+trains+in+france

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Good idea for warmshowers, I will give it a try! –  Arone Sep 2 at 9:18
    
Going by train is really a very good suggestion. Within the Netherlands you can take your bike anywhere in the country by train for something like EUR 9,- per bike. I've taken my touring bike on a train in France and I can't remember it being expensive. –  jilles de wit Sep 2 at 22:54
    
I'm planning to go to AMS in October, so I've been checking. It looks like the bike fee is now six euro. You have to look for the cars with a bike icon on the outside, though. –  WGroleau Sep 9 at 15:43

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