DPJ’s Bike Chic series, downtown bike devotee, Keith Mulvin scouts locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
Today we will meet Brandi Porter, Community Editor for Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and an involved downtown community member. Brandi and I met up over a cup of coffee with a few piles of produce from one of our favorite places in downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Public Market.
Much like myself, the Phoenix Public Market was Brandi’s first introduction into the downtown community, so we both thought it was fitting setting for our interview.
What makes the Phoenix Public Market so great is that it is something larger than itself. It provides a sense of place and creates some authenticity in a city that is all too commonly known for its ubiquity. It is just one of those places that make this cluster of buildings more than just a place to live, but a home.
“I don’t know what it is about Saturdays, but it just brings out a different person in you,” Brandi states. “Food is the gateway in building connections with people, and the public market greatly contributes to that. The market is a concentrated version of what you see around downtown as a whole, full of small business owners, artisans and farmers. In addition, it is also one of the busiest places and most vibrant places in downtown. You can run into your best friend, your neighbor, or as we just did during our interview, meet new person like Jean who just moved to downtown one month ago, and “is loving it,” she added.
Brandi’s neighborhood: The charming Garfield Historic Neighborhood.
Favorite thing about downtown Phoenix: One of downtown’s greatest assets is the community. I meet so many people everyday that are passionate about the growth and development that is happening in our community. Most people I meet want to get involved at some level. From being as little as frequenting the public market to as large as attending city hall meetings or spending Saturday morning at Downtown Voices Coalition meetings, I’m experiencing more and more people being engaged and taking ownership of our city.
Your favorite place in downtown: Jobot’s patio. I love to people-watch and see the diverse community it attracts. You have what looks to be people in their seventies to five-year-olds, families with their babies and parents briefly getting away from their kids, professionals and college students. It is a wonderful reflection of what the community really is.
Diversity is essential to a healthy community and it is important to me. I know it’s not important to other people, but with everything I learned from school and the way I was raised, being surrounded by diverse people is the kind of life I want to live.
What would you consider is your style: Whether it is flowy or elastic, comfort is important, but I don’t really put a ton of thought into what I wear. I don’t wear a ton of jewelry, nor do I have a lot of elaborate pieces. I just try to keep it simple and easy. I don’t want to put a ton of effort into what I wear because I have to put a ton of effort into other things. I work a lot. I have a great deal of responsibilities. And I have a lot to think about. Why stress about style?
Also I’m kind of limited in what I wear while biking because of my road bike frame. If I had a girl’s frame, I could wear a dress, but I don’t. When I got my bike, I wasn’t thinking, ‘what can I wear?’ I wouldn’t mind getting a female frame and have options when I want to wear a dress, but my main priority for my current bike is finding a means of transportation.
Where do you shop fashion: I did buy a bag from the Public Market and something from the GrowOp, but because I don’t have a car and it is too difficult to organized a ride, I’m limited on where I can go shopping. So I get resourceful. I wear a lot of hand-me-downs and things my friends do not want anymore. I sometimes order online from the Gap for professional clothes and I do enjoy going to REI for workout apparel when I get the chance.
Biking fashion tips: My one key advice is to wear tank tops in the summers. They are your best friends. My second is to be careful when wearing shorts. I’ve definitely fallen while wearing shorts. It hurts and now I have scars. Lastly, you want to be able to move your legs too. I can sometimes wear dresses, and when I do I go for the flowy ones.
Biking essentials: Water (Brandi said with an obvious laugh). I always forget my lights, but I know I should always have them. A bike lock, of course. And a bag for all the other things you need for the day. That’s all I need.
I’m not a pro biker, just an urban commuter.
Oh, for the benefit of others, deodorant. You don’t need it with you, but differently beforehand. Please.
What she’s wearing: I’m wearing a pair of light wright khaki shorts and a flowy tank top from J.Crew with my favorite pair of leather sandals and my grandmother’s ring who loved turquoise.
What type of bike does she ride: I have a 1992 Trek 1000. Blue with yellow accents, yellow handle grip tape and a yellow water bottle holder.
A great quote to end this column: “The best part of riding a bike are the things you would never get to experience in a car, like the random encounters you have with people on the street and the spontaneous things you discover outside the automobile.” -Brandi
Photos by Keith Mulvin.