Public transportation in the Netherlands is very reliable. Some combination of buses, trams and trains can get you almost everywhere you'll need to go! The best websites to figure out your transportation route are ns.nl and 9292.nl.
Bus and tram journeys can be paid for in cash to the driver. Train journeys can be paid in cash or Dutch debit card at one of the machines in a station. You cannot buy a ticket on the train!! Always buy a 2nd class ticket, it is cheaper and essentially no different.
The OV-chipkaart is a card you can purchase to travel easier on all public transportation. You can store money on your card and swipe it in front of designated OV-chipkaart machines to check-in and check-out on a bus/train/tram. This avoids having to buy tickets.
For discounted train journeys, you can also pay for a yearly “discount card”. This card is 50 euros a year and allows you to have a 40% discount on all (off-peak) train journeys. This adds up to a lot of savings and is highly recommended! To order one, follow the instructions below:
1. Go to ns.nl/abonnementen use google translate to get things into English. 2. Choose your discount/abonnementen (“abonnement” is the Dutch word for subscription, “korting” is Dutch for discount) 3. When it asks you to choose the effective date, it needs to be at least 14 days from the current date to get a free OV-chipkaart. 4. On the next page you can choose an option for a free OV-chipkaart. 5. Upload a passport photo on the website and pay. You're done! It will be delivered in the mail in about a week.
There are many bike shops in town and they all offer similar deals. The bike shop at the station is the most expensive place to buy a bike in Leiden.
You should expect to pay more than 50 euros for your bike. Your bike should be functional but does not have to be fancy. Fancy bikes are often the targets of bike thieves. Your lock should be sturdy and (possibly) expensive. For example, a 40 euro covered chain lock is very reasonable.
Second Life is a second hand bike shop on Vrouwensteeg which has reasonably priced bikes. They are also very good for repairs.
A Google Map of the bike shops in Leiden can be found here: GMaps Bicycle Stores (used and new)in Leiden