Monday, March 23, 2009

How to legally buy a cheap bike in Groningen

*Updated the dates for 2016, unfortunately the next one is not until the 7th of February*

Having a bike in Groningen is essential. You don't really want to do too much driving by car in the city centre, the buses are overcrowded and bikes are fairly cheap.

The problem is, I live 10-15 minutes away from the city centre which means I make alot of miles, which in turn means my bike suffers. My last bike set me back about 70€ and at the end of februari (I bought it 2nd hand a year ago) my right brake, my gears, the chain and more random stuff were broken. And a month earlier I had my tire fixed for 13€. After the damage mentioned above, my bike just wasn't worth repairing.

So I had to get a new one..
Getting one cheap in Groningen leaves you with a couple of options:
1) talking to the first junkie you see offering a bike for 5-10€ (which will be stolen of course)
2) stealing one yourself
3) buying second (or third/fourth whatever) hand from a store
4) Going to the depot which sells bikes at a very good discount every first friday of the month.

1 and 2 are just plain stealing and me being oh so holy just won't make this step because it's really irritating if its your bike that get's stolen next time (and next to that the police are checking better lately which leaves you with a fine of 350€ and a criminal record!).

3: did this last time, set me back 70€, not cheap enough.
4: bikes which are left around in the city in the wrong places (outside parking zones in certain parts of the city, bikes get collected by cityworkers) or which are collected because they're wreckages get a fix up and are sold once a month for really good prices!

So if you want to buy a góod bike for a cheap price this is how it works:
It's half past 6 in the morning, it rains, it's cold and the people travelling through the city are grumpy. You take a place in the fastly growing row of bike-less people. An hour later you get to draw a number (first come first served). There were around 45 bikes this time and they gave numbers to around 60 people in case some people didn't want to buy the bikes that were left (not liking the bikes or those that were left might be more expensive than what someone wants to spend).

At 8.45 am the first couple (7 in our case of which me and my brother were 2) of people were let in to choose a bike. I think prices started at around 20-25€. I got a bike for 35€ which had: good brakes, working lights and 7 gears! Mind you, they also had bikes in categories around 180€ but those were really really good, you won't be able to buy a 2nd hand bike in a store of that quality in any store.

The dates for the sale in 2016 are:

5 and 19 February;
4 and 18 March;
1,  15 and 29th of April;
13 and 27 May
10 and 24 June
8 July
26 August
9 en 23 September
7 and 21 October
4 and 18 November
2 and 16 December

Dates should be updated regulary here.

If you're buying one via other ways (e.g. the For sale in Groningen facebook page: or you might want to ask for the framenumber and check if it's stolen on
Unfortanely, the sites (dates and stopheling) are in Dutch, but it shouldn't be to big of a problem, otherwise ask :).

Another tip if you live in or close to the Vinkhuizen neighbourhood:
call this guy:
Great service and your bike gets fixed way faster then practically anywhere else for a decent price.

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Blogger Arkonbey said...

That is a nice ride! If I lived in a city again, I'd so get an old cruiser with fenders like that.

The city collects abandoned bikes? Sweet. I wonder what the time limit is on considering a bike abandoned.

I debated about stealing a pretty decent bike that was chained to a fence for over a year (to see it encased in ice was pretty cool).

23 March 2009 at 17:40  
Blogger Arjan said...

Those cruisers really look awesome.

I think there's a 2 weeks notice unless they are really big wreckages or if they're for instance at the trainstation outside the parking racks. But the latter can be picked up after paying a 25€ fine though..

23 March 2009 at 18:06  
Blogger Maarten Jalink said...

Now spray it! :P

23 March 2009 at 23:43  
Blogger Arjan said...

I like it just fine. Although a bike with your *cough*horrible*cough* paintscheme can be found back far easier.

24 March 2009 at 10:18  
Blogger Arkonbey said...

cruisers rule!

Found this last night. It's a freeride mountain bike for US$11,000.

Get two, they're small!

24 March 2009 at 14:16  
Blogger Arjan said...

except for the price..

24 March 2009 at 14:21  
Blogger I talk too much too said...

The REAL challenge is selling a bike to a junkie, and getting HIM arrested for it. "I just want the streets of Groningen to be cleaned of filth, and I do my part.", will be my one sentence when I cut the tape which will reveal the statue the city has put up in my honor.

But yeah, your solution also works!

27 March 2009 at 10:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

) Going to the depot which sells bikes at a very good discount every first friday of the month

13 July 2009 at 15:50  
Blogger Arjan said...

check here
That's the googlemaps streetview of it :)

Oude Boteringestraat 18 btw.

13 July 2009 at 22:01  
Blogger x_maras said...


I found this article while I was searching how to find a second hand bike in Gringen.
You mention at your 3rd point about second hand, or third hand etc.
Can you help me a bit by telling me where I can find such stores here in Groningen?
Thanks in advance

20 January 2010 at 16:18  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Dinos,

Depends on how much you want/can spend. In the 'Steentilstraat' there are a couple of stores where you can buy second-hand bikes. You'll probably will pay around 50-70€. There's also one about 500m to the right of the central station.

You can also try at the bike-shop on the central station, I got my new one (the one in the picture broke down and, wasn't worth fixing) there for 100€ and it's really decent.

But you if you want a cheap 2nd hand bike and can afford to wait 2 weeks, the first of March is near so you could buy one from the depot (Oude Boteringestraat, next to the public library). Be on time though!


20 January 2010 at 17:03  
Blogger nyashadzaishe said...


I bumped into your blog when i was searching for a place where I can buy a cheap, nice bike in groningen. I need one asap. May you please give me the name and address of the place or their email address so that I can also try to wake up early in the morning and by myself a good bike.




7 April 2010 at 00:13  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Nyasha,

You've got great timing, next friday (9th april) is another sale), after that, it's the 23rd of April The rest of the dates are:
7 and 21 May, 4 and 18 June. My bike got stolen.. so I wanted to be there myself..but somehow I made another appointment at 7.30am :(

The location is Oude Boteringe straat 18a. You can also copy paste the following google maps link:,5.509644&sspn=3.560918,7.064209&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Oude+Boteringestraat,+Groningen&ll=53.219563,6.564867&spn=0.006835,0.013797&z=16&layer=c&cbll=53.219121,6.564695&panoid=mGsycO4kuTg34F3Y_gxWGw&cbp=12,218.82,,2,7.13

I'd advise to be there at 6.30am, pulling numbers starts at bring an umbrella and something to pass the time ;)
After you've pulled a number you can walk away and come back around 8.30am.

Somewhere between 25-40€ should be enough especially if you're early.


8 April 2010 at 00:21  
Blogger Arjan said...

hmm the link failed to copy paste right..
anyways, googlemaps should show you the way :)
It's the entry to the secured bike storage.

8 April 2010 at 00:23  
Blogger Barbara said...

where I can find more information about the Depot sale in Groningen (dates, etc.)

2 November 2010 at 10:44  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Barbara,

You can find it here

It's in Dutch though. The next one is on 5 november, so you're in luck :) Be sure to be on time though, 6.30 am in line, 7.30 am they're handing out numbered tickets and around 8.30 the sale starts by first come ('tickets') first serve. Be sure to bring an umbrella and a warm jacket :)

The address is still Oude Boteringestr. 18.

2 November 2010 at 14:10  
Blogger Barbara said...

thank you
I hope I will wake up early!

2 November 2010 at 14:48  
Blogger Barbara said...

I got the bike and another my friends also!
thanks for information

5 November 2010 at 14:13  
Blogger Arjan said...

Great news. Glad to be of help :)

5 November 2010 at 14:17  
Blogger elcop said...

Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.

Second Hand Bikes

8 December 2010 at 14:12  
Blogger Ganbold said...

Hi Good day! I've just arrived in Gronigen. I like cycling and bicycles. Is there any place that i could find a thrown bike or wreck? I like repairing and i'm doing it well. all this because i cant spend money on the bike.
I hope you will reply me.

11 March 2011 at 00:10  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Ganbold!
Welcome to Groningen. Here to study?
Maybe you can get a job at a repairshop - or you could ask for information in the one at Oude Boteringestraat (it's down the stairs near the public library).

You might try to offer working for them and get a bike in return? Wrecks or bikes that are left alone for too long regulary get collected by the city for the sale I named in the blogpost. I think if you'd drag a wreck away from for instance faculty grounds you'd unfortunately risk arrest...

In my neighbourhood there's a guy who comes to people's homes to repair bikes (, but he orders his material making it a real job on the side.

I'd say, just be straightforward and ask at some repairshops.

11 March 2011 at 12:14  
Blogger Ganbold said...

Hi Arjan i didnt expect that you would reply so quikly. Thanks for your information it was really helpful.
What do you think about i saw there a lot of cheap bicycles around 20 - 50 euros. Do you think i can trust them?

18 March 2011 at 19:57  
Blogger Arjan said...

I get the comments in my mail, if I leave them waiting, I tend to forget them :)

There is a way to check them, but unfortunately it's in Dutch..

It basicly requires you to know (or in this case ask for) the serial nr and you can fill that in and it checks if someone reported the bike as stolen. Of course it's not a 100% check. I'd say you are better off setting the clock early on the dates you can find here

You just missed a sale today :(

18 March 2011 at 23:35  
Blogger Ganbold said...

Hi there.
I didnt miss recent one. I have bought a good bicycle called Kaptein Holland for 50 euro. I like my bicycle. Thanks for your information.
And if you'd find another information about bicycle i hope you'll post it.
Best regards

21 March 2011 at 11:03  
Blogger Rona said...

oooOOOOoooooo I may have to hit it up for my bike habit! Thanks for publishing this!

(An American living in Hoogezand)

15 August 2011 at 14:19  
Blogger Arjan said...

@ Ganbold. Good to hear!

Thanks for visiting!
It's really a great way to get a good bike.

15 August 2011 at 14:58  
Blogger Sarah Mercedes Mille said...

What is a good time in the morning to get there and to be one of the first person to get in?

2 February 2014 at 15:33  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Sarah,

6.30 AM. Darn early, I know..but worth it I think.
They hand out place 'tickets' (just a small proof that you were standing in line at a certain place) at 7.30 and then at 8.30 you should be back with the 'place ticket'and they will let people through according to their ticketnumber

Dress warm :-)

2 February 2014 at 15:43  
Blogger Aurimas Pečkauskas said...

Hi, Arjan,
So if I will come to the place (Oude Boteringestraat 18) this friday (may 9) at 6:30 in the morning, I can expect to buy a good riding bike for acceptable price? And at 9 AM ride the same bike to my workplace? :)

6 May 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hi Aurimas,

I should think so yes. 7.30 number drawing and 8.30 bike-buying.

Prices might have risen a bit (since my personal experience was a couple of years ago), but still probably way better than most 2nd hand sellers ánd you have the certainty of not buying a stolen bike.

You might want to get a lock though, since not every bike they sell has one (anymore).
Oh and bring an umbrella, I hear the weather's going to be crap this week :)


6 May 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Arjan said...

insert 6.30 ..cueing of course

6 May 2014 at 13:27  
Blogger Aurimas Pečkauskas said...

That`s useful information :)

6 May 2014 at 13:35  
Blogger achafix said...

Hey, I know this is a very old post. But I am moving to Gronigen for exchange next week and I was wondering if option 4 still works?
I check the link where you said dates should be regularly updated but it's not working.
Or would you have any other (more current maybe) advice of where to buy one?
And what is a fair price for a second hand bike?
Thanks in advance!

25 January 2016 at 13:13  
Blogger Arjan said...

Hey Achafix,

I'll update it tonight with new data and hopefully a working link :)
Welcome to Groningen in advance!!

I think prices start at around 35€ for a normal functioning bike (good brakes, tires and most often even lights) or 25€ for one where you need to fix flat tires...
If you are early, you get first pick. No need to go over 60€ or more!!

As I've said, I'll update this later tonight. If you've got any other questions about living in Groningen (related or unrelated), just let me know. :-)

25 January 2016 at 19:14  
Blogger Arjan said...

Fixed the link and updated the post :)

25 January 2016 at 20:23  
Blogger achafix said...

Sorry for the late response, but many thanks for being so helpful!! I'm gonna go there tomorrow!

4 February 2016 at 21:19  
Blogger Arjan said...

No worries, you´re welcome. Good luck tomorrow!

4 February 2016 at 22:32  
Blogger bigmad_al said...

Does anyone have a link to an image of the cruiser style bikes with fenders that you are talking about? I don't see any photos of one in the blog.

12 October 2016 at 23:22  
Blogger Arjan said...

Maybe something like this?:

13 October 2016 at 09:30  
Blogger bigmad_al said...

Cheers, Thank you!

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