Biking Brooklyn

by Diane Butts September. 17, 2020 960 views

Jackie has lived in Brooklyn for 14 years. She describes herself as a solo cyclist and local Brooklyn guide. Her current distinction - she has biked and photographed every block of Brooklyn, New York. She started in 2017 and finished in June 2020.

Jackie in Brooklyn Heights

Jackie in Brooklyn Heights

“I was a map designer and I’ve had a blank map for Brooklyn and nowhere to go. I felt like I was going on the same streets. I decided to fill the map, in part because I’d always have somewhere to go. That’s where it started.

"My love for Brooklyn started when I was college; I went to Pratt and I’d walk around – I was fascinated at the architecture. My sister was an architect, and I just loved it. We used to live in Southern Brooklyn and I didn't realize how different it was until my first big ride out. That's really when I decided I wanted to do this.

"A typical day was 15-20 miles. Although I prefer to cycle alone, I have taken a couple of friends every now and then. That was fun because we got to stop and have lunch. I am a big fan of seeing new spots.

For some of the longer days, I’d stop at the beach. I'd spend an hour planning beforehand, and an hour when I returned – to sort and catalog photos.

"I rarely color correct photos, and I love blue skies. That means I can only photograph one side of the street. I’d love to get the other sides at some point.

Before I go on a ride, I calculate where the sun will be to get the best image. SunCalc is the app.

I find cycling very meditative. It gets your mind to do what it’s supposed to do – look around, so I felt like this was the perfect project.

"It was a slow start but as I got more consistent with the photos. One interesting thing was that people thought I was a guy because I didn’t really show myself. I then started to inject a bit more of myself in the photos.

"Then I got a different kind of following – people most interested in my daily life in Brooklyn. A lot of my followers are architecture dorks and real estate people or people who just love seeing their own neighborhood.

"If I had to do it again, I would plan it better. I took sort of a haphazard approach, so it took me longer. I could’ve finished the project in two years. But it was more fun the way I did it."

Jackie says one of the thing people asked her most was when and if she planned to bike through Queens. She's just started a mini-project ... so stay tuned!

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Tsao T-F 1 month, 1 week ago

Wow, Diane you are a very good reporter with good pictures and instructions. Of course, you have a great model. Love this post. Thank you for sharing the story!

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
David Nurse 1 month, 1 week ago

Great blog. Lovely images, Thanks for sharing.

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Diane Butts Replied to David Nurse 1 month, 1 week ago

Thank you! You too.

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Rachele Schneekloth 1 month, 1 week ago

What a great project! Thanks for sharing this! Does she have her photos online so I can take a look? I would love to find my old apartment!

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Diane Butts Replied to Rachele Schneekloth 1 month, 1 week ago

Hey there. It's bkbybike.com

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Rachele Schneekloth Replied to Diane Butts 1 month, 1 week ago

Thank you!!!

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
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