Enjoying Toronto’s Bike Share in the summer

On Wednesday evening, I did a 55km bike ride: east from the U of T campus across the Don into the beaches area, down to the southern tip of Tommy Thomson Park, then along the waterfront for a picnic dinner at a Queen’s Quay grocery store, and up the hill to The Perch.

These animations show the ride in yellow as well as all my previous walks and rides since 2020 in green:

New moon walk and celestial navigation

One of the most remarkable walks I have ever taken was around Tommy Thomson Park on November 6th, 2021.

It was the night of a new moon, and I got to the park entrance around 10pm. I decided to use an exhaustive search algorithm to explore the penninsula. I would begin walking around the hand-shaped penninsula clockwise, starting at the ‘wrist’ and visiting each ‘finger’ one by one. At every junction between paths, I would choose the one on the left if I had not already taken it. That way, I would explore every dead end and follow every path.

When I got into the park, lit only by starlight and city light reflected across the water, I began to perceive the stars above me as a gigantic compass. In the eastern sky, I could see just the right shoulder of Orion rising. As I walked around the penninsula, with my eyes having adjusted to hours of darkness, I could see by starlight alone. At one point, I was startled when a darker part of the shadow ahead of me moved and scampered off the path, but in less than a second I understood that it was a surprised skunk who had been taking the same path in the other direction hastily getting out of my way.

As the night went on, more and more of Orion was visible until the whole constellation rose about the horizon and up about 30˚ into the southern sky. The whole experience was an accidental but effective tutorial in celestial navigation. With the city visible, I had help orienting myself, and by keeping track of Orion I could make sense of which direction I was moving within Tommy Thomson Park’s suprisingly hard to navigate layout. It looks simple from the air, but since all the parts are equally low and beside one another, it can be very hard on the ground to know exactly where you are and which direction to go to reach somewhere else.

By 2am I was back at the park entrance. I will never forget what it was like to see by just the stars and the glow of the downtown core about 4 km away across the water, and I will never forget the feeling of when my brain flipped inside out to see the sky like a spherical compass which I was inside of, helping me to orient myself, plot a straight course, and explore.

Uber Eats bike delivery — break-even time in downtown Toronto

I have not been able to find another job, I love cycling, and I know the city — so I have been trying out working as food delivery rider for uber.

The lesson from 19.5 hours in is that it pays far below miniumum wage, even before considering any expenses.

At JJ International Inc at 438 Spadina I bought a large two-shelf insulated backpack for food deliveries for $84.76.

Since my total revenues, revenues per hour, revenues per delivery, and revenues per kilometre were all dismal in the first few days, I took a Smart Serve course in order to be able to carry deliveries with alcohol. The course took about 3 hours and cost $44.95.

Just now, I had to take a break from a Saturday night shift to go home because all my external phone batteries are dead.

In sum, so far:

  • I have been online for 19 hours and 18 minutes.
  • I have ridden 153 km.
  • I have earned $150.04 ($116.55 in fares and $34.39 in tips).
  • That works out to about $7.69 per hour, which is a considerable over-statement because it doesn’t count the riding time required to get into the high density zones with many restaurants or to ride back home.
  • It took basically 17 hours of work to pay for the carrier bag and Smart Serve certificate.

All told, a person would be far better off working at the Ontario minumum wage of $16.55 than doing deliveries for uber eats by bike.