Toronto’s Neon Ride

Toronto’s Neon Ride group bike ride is great fun. It leaves weekly from Nathan Philips Square, beside city hall, at 7:30pm on Thursdays. Their Facebook page is the best place to look for photos and updates.

After getting hooked again on cycling during my Vancouver visit during the summer, I got a Bikeshare Toronto pass in September and did most of the Neon Rides until I got a job in December and was too busy.

This animation shows the 9 rides I have done with them, including whatever I tacked on before and after the formal ride from Nathan Philips to Nathan Philips:

The ride is much reminiscent of Critical Mass at its best. There is an able crew that leads, corks streets when the mass is crossing, and sweeps at the back for stragglers. All the lights and boomboxes make it energetic and fun. Quite notably – and compared with Critical Mass – the fun and colour of the Neon Ride virtually always produces a positive reaction from passers-by. It’s also a large enough group that you can ride in the middle while giving little thought to cars. Much recommended.

There is also a fine community within the event. As it is assembling and at the frequent pit stops, I have had great conversations and enjoyed the feeling of community and group spirit.

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:

A broad-ranging talk with James Burke

As part of promoting a new Connections series on Curiosity Stream launching on Nov. 9, I got the chance to interview historian of science and technology, science communicator, and series host James Burke:

The more interview-intensive part begins at 3:10.

Life in an inhospitable future

Because you’re going to need shelter — and people don’t give their homes away. They barricade themselves in.

So, sooner or later, exhausted and desperate, you may have to make the decision to give up and die — or, to make somebody else give up and die because they won’t accept you in their home voluntarily.

And what, in your comfortable urban life, has ever prepared you for that decision?

From episode 1 of James Burke’s 1978 TV series “Connections”, entitled: “The Trigger Effect“.

Reviewing an unreleased book and TV show

While it won’t help with my rent, I nonetheless have some very interesting work for the next few days.

I am doing a close read twice of Professor Peter Russell’s forthcoming memoirs, which has been a privelege because of the respect I have for him as a thinker and a person, and a joy because of their colour, humour, and personality.

I am also previewing a new series of James Burke’s TV show Connections, which previously ran in 1978, 1994, and 1997. I have seen those old shows many times, and I thought a lot about his book The Axemaker’s Gift back in high school. I have the chance to interview him from Monaco on Wednesday, so I am giving the new material a careful viewing and thinking through how to make the best use of the conversation. There is scarcely a person I can think of who has a more educated and wide-ranging understanding of the relationships between science, technology, and human society. Since human civilization is presently hurtling toward a brick wall which threatens to rather flatten us all, it may be invaluable to get Burke’s views on how a defensive strategy from here can be undertaken.