Fokhrul heads off to work on his Arrow 10 e-bike.
This is a preview of a special bonus episode for Patreon supporters of The War on Cars
In the last episode of the podcast we spent some time with Baruch, Shawon, and their battery-swapping startup company, PopWheels. When I started working on that episode, I figured I was going to learn a lot about e-bikes, batteries, and the delivery app business. And I did. But over the course of more than a half dozen interviews and conversations between May and December 2023, I also learned a lot about Bangladeshi politics, immigration, and life in New York City as an e-bike delivery worker.
One of my favorite interviews for this episode took place on a crisp, sunny, Tuesday morning last October. I biked out to East New York, Brooklyn to meet Shawon and his friend Fokhrul, a Bangladeshi delivery worker who uses PopWheels battery-swapping network. (Shawon and Fokhrul asked me not to use their last names because they have asylum-seeker cases working their way through the legal system).
We found a park bench and spent the morning talking about the political oppression they faced in Bangladesh, their arduous, months-long journey to the United States, and what their lives are like here in New York City. It was super interesting and I enjoyed it a lot. But, as often happens with these things, only tiny bits of this conversation made it into Episode 118.
So, for this special bonus episode I wanted to share more of my interview with Shawon and Fokhrul with you. I also had some fun additional bits and pieces of tape with Baruch that never made it into the last episode. So, you’ll find some of that woven in here too. I hope you enjoy hanging with Shawon, Fokhrul and Baruch as much as I did.
You can join us as a Patreon supporter to listen to the whole thing.