Steve Edwards' website

Home Page


Dutch customs

Giving away your bicycle in The Netherlands

One early-morning shift at a bakery in Nijmegen, I left my bike unlocked against a fence in the laneway.

It was 3:00 AM. I tucked the front wheel behind that of another bike. I didn't think it looked unlocked; and who'd be around anyway?...


My employer, the next day, said "So you gave it away."*

If you leave your bike unlocked in Holland, you're giving it away.

The typical Dutch bicycle has a built-in lock on the frame below the seat. This device, which clamps around the tire between the spokes of the rear wheel, is a lock of mediocre quality and simple mechanism. And, regardless of quality, it does not prevent anyone from simply carrying your bike away.

It just prevents anybody from riding it away.

And somebody will, otherwise.

You might think that nobody's going to notice one bike left unlocked amid hundreds, or stashed in a low-traffic area.

But that's not how it works. Somebody will notice — there are people who go looking. And somebody will steal it, whether they were looking for it or not.

Bookmark and Share Contact

__   ___   __

* I didn't like having to unlock the rear-wheel gizmo that is a standard feature standard on the Dutch bike, and having to undo the proper cable as well.

And, you have to leave your key(s) inserted in the rear-wheel gizmo, any time that it is unlocked and you are in transit — I didn't like that.

So one day I opened the gizmo and I super-glued the key into it for all time, leaving it permanently unlocked.

Thus I could ride my bike having only to care for the cable which would after all connect my bike to an object — leaving it secure against carrying as well as riding away.

But I had borrowed the cable; and I'd had to return it — and on this day I hadn't yet gotten one again for myself.

I didn't get that chance.

  • Return to "gave it away" ...