The OV-Fiets is a cost-effective annual bike rental membership scheme run by the Dutch national train company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen).
It offers basic bikes for rent at around 300 locations in the Netherlands for just under 4 euros per time. The OV-Fiets scheme has over 100,000 members and could be useful for expats or frequent visitors to the Netherlands.
Fiets means "bike" in Dutch and OV is short for for Openbaar Vervoer ("public transport").
From 2017 the OV-fiets program will have free annual membership. This can be incorporated onto a personal OV-chip card. This scheme is open to both Dutch residents and non-residents with a Dutch bank account who have access to a Dutch address. Evey year a €0.01 charge will be made to check the bank account.
Bike rental is just €3.85 per time which gives you up to 24 hours use of the bike. You can rent up to 2 bikes with 1 pass if you want to cycle with a friend or partner. Payment is taken automatically by direct debit.
You can keep the bike for up to 72 hours (3 x 24hours), though you will be charged the €3.85 fee for each 24 hour period. If you hold the bike longer than 72 hours they will start charging a daily €5 fine. There is a €10 fee if you drop the bike off at a different OV-Fiets location.
You also have an excess own risk if the bike or key is lost/stolen - €20 for losing the key, €50 for loss of bike but you still have the key, €250 for loss of bike and key.
Some rental locations have a 24 hour automatic facility where you need a PIN number to use them. Others are manned but you should ask when closing time is or whether you can bring back the bike after hours.
No pre-booking is necessary - at the rental location your pass is scanned and you are given a bike key with a number - find the corresponding cycle, adjust the saddle if necessary and away you go.
OV bikes are simple "ladies style" bikes with lights, back-pedal brakes and no gears - they are suited for shorter journeys.
This scheme is very convenient when you are visiting another town or city by train and need the use of a bike for a few hours. It is quite popular with people travelling around on business visiting clients - in Netherlands you have to pay to take your own bike on a train - unless it is a folding bike.
OV-Fiets had a trial period offering electric bikes and scooters for rent but this was discontinued due to lack of demand.
OV-Fiets can be applied for online at the ns.nl website.
OV-Fiets Locations in Amsterdam - at all stations and some other locations around the city.
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA Station
Amsterdam Centraal IJ-zijde A
Amsterdam Centraal Westzijde - 24h
Lelylaan Station - 24h
Paradiso - 24h
Station - 24h
Amsterdam Zuid Mahlerplein
Also check out: Cycling in Amsterdam