Pushing the benefits of bicycling
While Houston’s Energy Core District is home to the city’s thriving energy industry, it’s also where Clark Martinson is working to convince residents to use less energy by biking around their fair city.
“I’ve been riding a bike since I was 4 years old,” he said recently, “which means I’ve got over a half-century of pedaling experience.” And with National Bike Month upon us, there’s no better time to take a cue from Martinson and leave the car in the driveway.
Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is being billed as “an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.” And while many of us might see bike riding as a way to pass a few hours on a nice weekend afternoon, Martinson hopes to convince Houstonians that there are a litany of benefits to biking for transportation, be it to work or for recreation. “The overall goal of National Bike Month is to get people to bicycle more often,” Martinson said.
Martinson’s love of riding isn’t limited to the month of May, however. He worked as a bike mechanic while in high school, and while pursuing a degree in architecture at the University of Nebraska, he authored a paper on creating a bike-friendly community. “All my life, I’ve wanted to build a community where you can bike,” he said. As the General Manager of Houston’s Energy Core District, Martinson works to increase the quality of commercial development in the area, utilizing his expertise in urban design and planning.
And lest you find yourself timid about heading out on the streets of Houston with nothing more than a pair of pedals and a bike helmet, Martinson suggests you check out the city’s bikeway network map, which includes over 300 miles of bike-friendly routes. The map is available online at www.houstonbikeways.org. And if you’d like to stick a metaphorical pinky toe into the water to make sure biking to work is for you, take advantage of National Bike to Work Day, which is May 17.
Andrew Spencer is a freelance writer and the author of “Tower of Thieves: Inside AIG’s Corporate Culture of Greed.”
Name: Clark Martinson
Profession: General Manager, Energy Core District
Community Connection: Works in the Energy Core District
Fast Fact: Martinson currently owns 58 different bicycles, which he repairs and donates to those in need through the Chain Reaction Ministries.
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