A survey of European rental bike systems by ADAC, Germany’s biggest automobile club, has placed Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague’s bicycle and rental systems at the very bottom of their ranking of European bicycle-sharing systems (in Dutch, ‘OV-fiets’). Information is only available in Dutch, you can’t rent a bicycle without registering first through a website, and bicycles have no suspension or gears. (Pssst: there’s no mobile app for the rental, either).
The ADAC looked at the sharing systems from the point of view of tourists. Funny enough, last year, a study by the Dutch cyclists union Fietsersbond showed that 96% of Dutch users are very satisfied and would recommend the bikes to others. Others must mean friends and family, not tourists.
Are these bike even intended for tourists or just locals? Everything else aimed at tourists in Amsterdam is in several languages, what’s up with this? Weak points of Amsterdam’s system included not being able to talk to a real person, places having different opening hours, only being able to register and pay online, and other things that give me a headache just reading. No wonder tourists rent bikes elsewhere!
Europe’s top system is in Lyon (Paris’ vélib shown here, also highly rated).