Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam. For most, it is their primary means of transportation, even for those who commute from out of town. We started looking for bikes within the first week we were here. Considering how ubiquitous and important bikes are in Amsterdam, it was surprisingly difficult to find our bikes. We visited many secondhand bike shops to find a very small selection. It was also surprising how expensive a secondhand bike is. We knew that Dutch bikes were very basic -- you don't want a bike that stands out in a crowd, because they get stolen all of the time. Considering their no-frills nature, we were surprised to find that secondhand bikes are typically between 125 and 175 Euros.
We found ours at a store called Fietspiraat (Bike Pirate). I would tell you what brand they are, but I honestly don't know. Needless to say, they're not Trek or Giant! My bike says "The Ranger" on it -- yeah, it's pretty awesome.
Once we got our bikes, the city shrank. It took us about 30 minutes of tram-riding and walking to get to Fietspiraat; it took us about 6 minutes to ride home. With the exception of our grocery store and our gym, which are within walking distance, we ride everywhere now.
It is amazing how much area we can cover now. We can be out of the city within about five minutes. If we ride to the south, we can see the tulip fields. If we ride to the north, we can see windmills. If we go to the east, we can ride along one of the dikes that keeps the country from being flooded. And if we ride to the west, we can reach the beach. The Netherlands is ideal for touring by bike. The whole country is less than twice the size of New Jersey, and flat as a pancake. Which reminds me, they have great pancakes. More on that later.