Cyclist completes 4,000-mile trek of every block in Brooklyn – New York Post

Posted By on June 22, 2020

Jacqueline VanDusen is wheely tired.

But after pedaling 4,415 miles, the Williamsburg resident has just enough energy for the home stretch of a mission three years in the making: to bike every block in Brooklyn. Her ambitious project finishes off on Saturday with a final 10-mile ride through Red Hook and Bed-Stuy.

In May 2017, the creative director hopped on her old single-speed bike with a plan to traverse the borough that was simple but far from modest. The designer and skilled photographer documented each step of the journey, uploading lovely snaps and progress maps to an interactive website and the nearly 10,000 followers of her Instagram account @BKbyBike.

The 31-year-old Philly native, who moved to NYC in 2006 to attend college at Pratt, wanted to get to know the ins and outs of her adopted home, from pretty to gritty. I wanted to better understand where I live, VanDusen tells The Post.

Two hundred and ninety jaunts later, she reflects on the thousands of hours, hundreds of stops and 15,000 photos shes accrued.

First, the gear: Who needs a head-to-toe spandex getup and shoe clips when leggings, a tank top and sneakers work just as well? And despite the great lengths shes traveled, VanDusen only recently upgraded from a single-speed set of wheels to a three-speed Cooper, which cost $400 from Tribeca-based Brilliant Bicycle Co. Im going to say its a hybrid, says VanDusen, laughing at her lack of technical prowess. I dont even know how to change a bike tire.

VanDusen, who covers between 10 and 14 miles in an hour, will only say, No comment when The Post asks if she wears a helmet. But the now-seasoned cyclist insists shes been safe and (mostly) unharmed during her hundreds of outings. There were two memorable falls one that involved sinking into a sewer, and another time she was almost slammed by a swinging car door that opened into the bike lane. And I still have shoulder pain from riding over a loose manhole cover, she says.

The war stories are well-earned. There were hairy rides over some of Brooklyns trafficky main drags Linden Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and Shore Parkway among them and VanDusen admits, I have to jump up on the sidewalk occasionally.

The savvy cartographer plots out her routes in advance with an app; after each is complete, it is added to a map she has hand drawn.

VanDusen cant help but have some favorite ride-by spots. I really love Bed-Stuy. It has some of the most gorgeous brownstones. The food is amazing. It has so much personality, she says. I dont know if outsiders quite know how awesome it is. Another architectural obsession: the ornate megamansions in Mill Basin and Manhattan Beach.

In a borough famous for hipsters and Hasidic Jews, Nathans Famous hot dogs in Coney Island and Michelin-starred eateries in Dumbo, she admits its hard to keep up with how rapidly the streetscape can evolve. Neighborhoods definitely look different, says VanDusen, who occasionally enlists friends to keep her company on long rides. Williamsburg changed so much. Watching Domino Park evolve from a dirt bike track to a beautiful park is a huge change. Everything just moves so fast.

While the coronavirus lockdown was a mood-killer for many, it offered VanDusen an opportunity to lock down miles on several solo rides. Shes cleared 1,002 miles since March alone. Im reading more about the history of Brooklyn to build my knowledge and tell a better story, she says. I think my project is helping to inspire others to get creative with their free time, to bike more or start a project of their own.

While she usually kicks off two-hour excursions around 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, quarantine has allowed for more challenging 20- to 30-mile treks through the heart of Brooklyn, tackling blank areas like East New York (Annoying to get to) and Sunset Park (Too hilly on my single speed).

While the project is definitely a responsibility its a lot of work, the end of the road is bittersweet. And the indefatigable biker cant wait for her next albeit easier endeavor: Its summer, she says. Im going to the beach.

Check VanDusens website for details of her journey as well as interactive routes.

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Cyclist completes 4,000-mile trek of every block in Brooklyn - New York Post

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