This is a story by Rozemaryn who lives in Amsterdam and used to work as a bike taxi driver for a couple of years.
I remember it as if it were yesterday: my first day as a bicycle taxi driver in Amsterdam. It was August, hot and very busy. Of course, I wanted to impress my new colleagues, who had been doing this for over a year. So no 'slow start' or 'getting used to it' for me! I cycled and cycled and cycled a bit more, until I was soaked in sweat and really needed a drink.
I bought a Coke, drank it in a second, and then got sick, right next to the Royal Palace at Dam Square. The process of 'getting used to it', I found, takes at least 3 weeks!
Now that I've been cycling for almost 4 years, I’ve got the hang of it. I know the city inside out, and I’ve had customers from all sorts of places. Take a gentleman from India who was in complete cultural shock when he found that a ride in my taxi would cost him 5 Euros instead of 5 rupees. Not to mention the fact that his hotel was in the Red Light District, which he had never even heard of before. When he saw some ladies in the window, he cried: 'Where are you taking me? We don't have this in India!' I dropped him in front of his hotel, in the alley popular with transsexuals.
Another time I had a very large lady with a very skinny husband in my taxi. Together they could hardly squeeze themselves into the back. They wanted to go to the Anne Frank Museum. 'Okie-dokie!' I said, thinking "I hope I'm gonna make it, luckily it's not too far and the bridges aren’t so high on the way over there.' So finally we got there, and there was a huge line! 'Oh, I'd rather go to the van Gogh Museum,' said the lady. 'It might be just as busy there!' I replied. No use, I had to take them there. I was very proud of myself that I made it!
So, when you visit Amsterdam and you need a taxi or want an interesting tour around the city, you can find me and my colleagues on the Dam Square.