Dutch mail has had a long tradition of mail delivery by bike. Spawned by state-owned PTT, then slashed by the ‘liberalisation’ of this market, in pursuit of growth, expansion and domination. Yet, bikes were not completely eradicated, over the backs of under-payed temps.
These days DHL gets all the press for using a few cargo bikes (10% of their delivery fleet). Their motivations: it’s faster, more efficient and ‘sustainable’. Well duh, but of course it’s simply an economic decision: it saves a shit load of money (100’s of thousands of euros a year).
The postie in the Red Light District isn’t a 20-something hipster on a When Harry Met Larry bike, donned in lycra.
What we get is a pensioner making a little extra money, going around on a contraption he has never given a second thought. Yes, he’s not the fastest lad, he often mixes up addresses (the RLD numbering can be a bitch), but hey, the upside is that his mistakes laid the foundation for some of my best neighbourhood relationships.
Last but not least: I’ve never seen him *without* a cigar in his mouth.
It’s one of the many things I don’t take for granted and will miss when I move out of Amsterdam, I’m sure.