Where else but Amsterdam?
Lilly Likes are a team of hard working, hard-bargaining, hard-headed individuals, who all have your holidaying pleasure at heart. When it comes to our Amsterdam contingent, we are equally as dedicated, if a little slower on the uptake.
One of the things we pride ourselves on doing best, is reporting back on the best tourist attractions, day trips, and general activities, that you can do while you are in town. We like to think that we’ve gotten quite good at it, over the years. The Beer bike is just one more occasion where we like to shine a light on an attraction that you can only really do in the heart of Amsterdam… eclectic city of wonders.
If you have no interest in the Beer bike – we can’t imagine why not but we also don’t want to mobility shame anyone – then we have already covered a vast array of dazzling destinations throughout the city. All you must do is head back to LillyLikesAmsterdam HQ and browse through out unique, interesting, and sometimes funny, blog. Take a trip to the Kattencabinet (cat museum) or find out all about the gruesome past of Europe in the Torture Museum. Alternatively, you could always just go to a normal bar, like the King’s Cross.
If you are here to learn all about the beer bike, on the other hand, then we are here to help. Sit back, relax, and let’s learn about pedalling while drunk.
What is a Shared Beer Bike Tour?
This is a reasonably new idea in Amsterdam, where trams, bikes, and trains are the preferred method of getting around. When you go off on a shared bike tour, though, you are given the opportunity to combine pedalling with drinking… that’s two ideas we can get behind.
Imagine pedalling away while you drink down some of the most Dutch beer you can get Heineken. You and up to 14 of your closest friends, can all go out for a moving pint. You read that right, a moving pint. The idea is that the bar is on wheels and the wheels are turned by your pedalling. These systems require manpower to work and need to be piloted by a driver. Basically, if you don’t pedal, you don’t go anywhere.
The beer bike tour lets you work off the calories of the beer, while you drink it. You pedal away, the wheels turn, the bar moves, and you drink more beer. It’s like a beer-fuelled vehicle that keeps getting you drunker.
The Shared Beer bike tour is a concept first coined back in 1997 in the Netherlands. Since the inception of a human-powered bar on wheels, the beer bike has gone on to have multiple success stories, all over the world. They have come to be known as party bikes, beer cycles, pedal pubs, and bar bikes. Leave it to the Dutch to incorporate cycling into as many things as possible.
As an interesting side note, since the beer bike always comes with alcohol and is technically a vehicle that must be roadworthy, it needs to abide by the rules of the road. Since it must abide by the rules of the road, it needs brakes, lights, and all the other bits that make a bicycle safe. It also has to have a separate driver, who doesn’t cycle, but who does control the steering and brakes. When you hire a beer bike, you will almost always be given the driver, too. This is because it would be illegal for you to drive it yourself, given that you are drinking.
What does the shared party bike tour of Amsterdam include?
Now that we know what to expect from a beer bike, we can take a closer look at what to expect from this particular party bike that you find in Amsterdam city centre.
The shared beer bike experience from Viator offers you a unique way to see the city. Nobody would blame you for being reluctant to hire a bike in Amsterdam by yourself. There aren’t any brakes on Dutch bikes (you need to pedal backwards to brake) and the other bicyclers are savage. They might have great posture, but they will cut you off when you are holding them up.
Ultimately, what we are saying is that the beer bike tour is a great way to see Amsterdam from the back of a bike, but not necessarily one that you are driving yourself. You leave the driving part to the more experienced members of Amsterdam society, while you get to drink cans of Heineken from the bar.
The Beer Bike is formed by a bar in the middle. This bar is surrounded by bar stools, exactly like what you might find in your local pub. The difference, of course, is that your local pub doesn’t have a footwell that includes pedals so that you can contribute to the momentum of your bike/bar.
Above all of this, there is a gondola style roof which is open on all four sides. You will be equipped with a bar tender, beer and wine, and your own personal driver. Your host will talk you through the sites that you see in the city, while your driver worries about staying sober, and operating those brakes.
The beer bike experience takes you through the best parts of Amsterdam. Expect to go through the famous Jordan district, with its boutiques and artist’s. You will bypass some of the canals, allowing you to take in the museum district. You will visit the harbour, drive through the world-famous Red-Light District, and will pass by the Old Centre of Amsterdam, as it once was.
All of this will culminate in an excellent guided tour with a host that reviewers have described as ‘a good laugh’. You tour guide/bar manager will even keep you supplied with drinks while you pedal away and laugh at their jokes. It’s just liked a real bar, but you pedal.
The tour lasts around 90 minutes. There are no age restrictions, but it isn’t the type of thing you take your granny on… or your kids, for that matter, although having them pedal on your behalf is not a bad idea.
The Where and When
There are a few things to consider. Mobility and a lack of wheelchair access are the greatest points that spring to mind. You should eat before you go or risk falling off drunk. You meet close to Centraal Station, on Rhoneweg 12 1043, at 6pm. The pickup and drop off points are the same.
You shouldn’t do this tour if you are pregnant. You shouldn’t do it if you have leg or back problems. They have taken covid-19 restrictions into account and the booking runs up as far as April 2022. You can also cancel for free, from up to 24 hours in advance.
Keep in mind that this tour requires good weather. Although you have a roof, nobody will expect you to get on a beer bike in the rain. If it is cancelled due to bad weather, they will either refund you the difference, or move your date to another available day. You can get tickets for the occasion via Viator, who offer some of the best deals for these types of experience and activity days.
Although no food is included in the deal, you will get 20 litres of beer and prosecco, all of which is squeezed into the bar. This bar can fit 15 people, but the groups are closed and private. If you go along only two of you, you may find you have to pedal hard to keep up! On the other hand, you will be absolutely sloshed by the time you get off. The beer is Heineken. A firm favourite among the Dutch.
The one potential drawback of this tour is that you do the pedalling, so you are the manpower behind the motion of your bar. This means that, should there be a few lazy guests or even those that are distracted by talking, then you’re not going anywhere. This can be incredibly frustrating since pedalling is not mandatory.
What’s the Lilly Likes Verdict on the Shared Beer Bike Tour of Amsterdam?
What does Lilly think of all this pedalling madness? She’s always up for a drink. Less so, an exercise, but she could be lured with the promise of prosecco.
We reckon the shared beer bike experience day is a fun activity that helps you feel less guilty about the alcohol consumption. If you are exercising, those calories are staying at bay. If you are pedalling while you drink, you feel lightheaded faster. We do recommend you take a few bottles of water though just in case it’s a really hot day. You ought to eat before you go as well, to be on the safe side.
Go out there, see the world over the top of a moving bar, and cherish the memories of the experience for the rest of your life. It’s definitely one to tell the grandkids about… just wait until they turn 18.