Transport in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam the public transport is comprised of trains (NS), trams, the metro, and buses (GVB). Buying paper tickets is possible with train tickets charging an extra €1 for these. For trams, metros and buses you can buy a ticket for all of these by time period (i.e. an hour, 24 hours, etc).
Instead of this you can (and should) get an OV Chipkaart, which allows you to top up with credit and avoid paying extra charges / using time limited tickets. There are two options here, using a temporary “anonymous” card or a personalised card. Each costs €7,50, however to purchase a personalised one an iDeal account (see banking) is required. The advantage of the personalised card is that you can add other travel products to the card, eg. train discounts / season tickets, set up automatic top-ups, and it is possible to block the card if lost or stolen as well.
The anonymous card can be purchased from customer services at a main train station, without the need for an iDeal account.
How to get a bike?
The main mode of transport in Amsterdam (obviously) is by bicycle. It is a rare occasion where it is faster to travel by public transport than it is by bike, and cycling is almost certainly cheaper.
Bikes can be purchased in a number of ways (be warned, not all of them may be legal), There is a Facebook group for selling pretty much anything in Amsterdam where bikes can be purchased (www.facebook.com/groups/208276169262413) often from other students who are moving back home.
The ASVA (Amsterdam Student Union) hold a big bike sale at the beginning of the year and then weekly after that. There you can purchase a refurbished bike for €60 with the knowledge it hasn’t been stolen. The ASVA also gives you a guarantee on parts for the first 4 weeks (so you can take it back if it isn’t working properly). Buying a bike through ASVA does require being a member of the union, although there are other benefits of being a member (https://www.asva.nl/english).
Alternatively there are a number of locations around the city where second-hand bikes can be purchased. On Waterlooplein you can find a daily second-hand bicycle market with legal bikes, for affordable prices (www.waterlooplein.amsterdam/en/portfolio_category/fietsen). For more expensive new bikes, you can take a look at (www.hetzwartefietsenplan.nl)