A Dutch transport sound

Last week – when summer was still here – I was sitting on my balcony, when I heard a familiar sound echoing between the buildings. It was a click. Not the subtle click of a light switch, but quite a firm one. Metal on metal. The result of human action and a spring. And I knew where it came from.

It was the sound of a bike being unlocked.

To be more specific, it was the sound of a ring lock. Experiences in other countries have convinced me that ring locks are a typical Dutch thing. If you buy a city bike in The Netherlands, it comes with a ring lock. Standard. Take it or leave it. But when I lived in the UK, there was no ring lock on the city bike I bought. And, to be honest,  I haven’t seen them on any bike over there. They don’t know what they are missing!


The sound of unlocking your ring lock is like the announcement of your departure. When I heard the sound last week, I was sure someone was going to cycle away soon. How would you know otherwise?

That was also when I realised that this sound is a typically Dutch transport sound. If there would be such a thing as the national soundtrack of The Netherlands, the sound of a bike being unlocked should be in it. Click!


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