DPJ’s Bike Chic series, bike devotee Keith Mulvin scouts locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
Today we will meet Walker Donaldson, the Chief Financial Officer at American Fiberglass headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
Walker and I met up at the Welcome Diner in the Garfield neighborhood where he has lived the past three years of his life. But Walker has been a downtown resident for a little more than six years, which is not too far from where he spent his earlier days growing up along Central Ave. That’s right, Walker is one of those few people you meet that was born and raised in Phoenix, Central Phoenix to be exact.
Keith: What keeps you here in Downtown Phoenix?
Walker: It is the only place in Phoenix to get an urban feeling, where you can walk and bike to do the things you want to do. Downtown has always had a strong community of people who want to make it into something great. What is really nice is that now people are moving here because it is starting to be something great.
Keith: This is about the third time I’ve seen you at the Welcome Diner this week. What keeps you coming back?
Walker: Welcome Diner lives up to its name with a great atmosphere and sense of community with the staff and patrons.
Keith: That was poetic. In addition to Welcome Diner, where else can we find you?
Walker: I love the Phoenix Public Market Café because it has a great feel and I’m nostalgic for back when it was just the Phoenix Public Market where a friendly guy named Keith used to work behind the counter. I also like FilmBar for all the interesting movies they show. And for my last place, I would say the Downtown YMCA. I’ve been playing ball there since I was a child. The new ASU addition is really nice, but there will always be a spot in my heart for that old basketball court with the dead spots under the floor, the extreme temperatures, and the leaky roof.
Keith: The YMCA sounds like it has a lot of character. And I think I know that guy, Keith.
Walker: They added a brand new basketball court when they made the new addition, but I remember when it would rain in the old gym, the roof would leak and we would have to put trashcans on the court and play around them.
Keith: You’re making me want to join. Where do I signup?
Walker: I almost forgot, but it should go without saying: Matt’s Big Breakfast, for obvious reasons. I remember swapping book titles with the wait staff back when they were in the 16 seater on the corner of 1st street and McKinley.
Keith: Those were the days.
Walker: Yes, sir.
Keith: All right, we can swap stories all day, but let’s get down to brass tacks: How would you describe your style?
Walker: My style is simple but with subtle details that can be appreciated on close inspection. The detail could be found in a pattern, a fabric, an accessory, anything. I love mixing in Western influences. You know, downtown meets cow town. GQ meets OK Corral. Bruce Wayne meets John Wayne. I could go on…
Keith: I think we get it.
Walker: Old mechanical watches are one of my favorite little details. They are complex and delicate, and there is something fun about wearing a tiny machine on your wrist that needs to be wound, oiled and cared for. They can last forever if you maintain them. The watch I’m wearing today is called a Croton Chronomaster.
My shoes are Cole Haan, jeans are Levis Made and Crafted and my shades are Moscot.
Keith: Where do you go for your fashion?
Walker: Framed Ewe for my shades and Bonafide Goods for jeans, both of which can be found at the Biltmore Fashion Square’s Union. I always keep an eye out for vintage clothes from places like Antique Sugar, Retro Ranch or Buffalo Exchange. I also like to shop when I travel, for example I picked up this shirt in a boutique in Toronto called Model Citizen. Most importantly, I get my haircuts and some of the more finer things in life at Mercantile.
Keith: As a man of style and a local guy through and though, would you have any Bike Fashion tips for our readers?
Walker: Wear breathable fabric, especially during the hot months. The breeze will keep you cool even in the summer time.
Keith: In addition to your wears, what are some of your most needed biking accessories?
Walker: A strong lock. I’ve had my lock cut once before and that wasn’t fun. Always a pair of shades because it’s sunny here in Arizona. Remember to invest a little bit extra in more durable tubes with thicker tires – we live in a desert and thorns are everywhere. That’s about it. I like to keep it simple.
Keith: What type of bike do you use to get around the city?
Walker: A nice guy on craigslist sold me this bike that he built himself. It’s simple and clean looking with good brakes and a smooth ride, and I love the eggshell color. It’s perfect for what I need.
Keith: You’re definitely a man of style. Do you have anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Walker: One last tip is to sometimes take a different route than the one you’re used to. It is amazing how much more familiar you can become with a place when you’re riding your bike. You’re not enclosed in metal, you’re out in the open and going at a speed that allows you to soak in your surroundings. You notice a lot more that way.
Photos by Keith Mulvin.