The EcoGrrl Interview: Martina


Martina is an incredible individual I’ve recently gotten to know here in the community. As a managing partner of the Southeast Portland bicycle store Clever Cycles, she has built an incredible business and served as a well-known cycling advocate and leader in the community, with a special emphasis on getting women and families on the road! 

What or who inspires you most? I get inspired by problems and by things that get stuck in my head: A problem starts to get me thinking and I won’t stop before I find a solution for it. If I can’t find a solution, I start talking about the problem with people who might have a solution and so it becomes the network of people thinking about it… it’s like human computing.

Sometimes little things get stuck in my head: A stranger once mentioned to me that after he turned 50 he started to be very careful how he spend his summer because he only had so many left. I translated that into my life and set myself the goal to learn one new thing every year… So I could look back at my summers and see a harvest of good things.

What do you turn to when you need strength? My friends and my son.

How can women best support and/or empower other women? By sharing our problems, our methods, our successes. By networking.

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? I love to grow veggies and I would love to be really good at it. My goal is to live in the summer of my yard. But my quiet passion would be to grow a bonsai tree.

What are your creative outlets?  Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t? I am an artisan at heart – so when inspiration strikes I craft something, anything. Currently I am working on my own belly dancing costumes which I love. That requires more sewing than I ever did in my life! I think it would be great to learn even more sewing.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? In my daily life it would be on my bike: I just love riding! In bigger sense, I feel most at peace when I am close to the ocean.

Who are your top three nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?

  1. Bicycle Transportation Alliance

  2. Safe Routes to School

  3. Glencoe PTO

Working with kids, schools and bikes is just great and serves the community on many levels.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life?  What’s next? No more disposable coffee cups: I either bring my coffee in the thermos or pint glass or drink it at the coffee shop. My next step will be a careful planting chart for my yard for next year.

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary?  Why? My house is my sanctuary.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t let anybody keep you from learning and trying out new things.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? We can eliminate gas-powered cars from the inner cities. Live closer together.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues?   What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? Anti-Nuclear power demonstrations.

How do you live simply? No car, urban farming, re-use from books to clothes, sharing.

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “We only have so many summers in our lives, let’s make the best of each one!”


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