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Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Bike-to-Work Profile: Jobe Korb-Nice


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Director of Admissions Jobe Korb-Nice’s biking origin differs from the other SPU team captains. He didn’t start riding recreationally, nor did he particularly enjoy spending time on a bike at first. “I grew up as a runner,” he said, contrasting the two forms of exercise. Although it was hard for him to get into biking, he didn’t let his unease stop him.

Despite his hesitance, Korb-Nice has been commuting to SPU by bike since 2004, eventually becoming a team captain in the Commute Challenge. This year, Korb-Nice captains the SPU Sharrows, the bicycling team that travels from Seattle, Kenmore, and Bothell. Throughout May, he will try to bike to work five days a week.

His gentle approach gives a manageable example that anyone to follow.

When he moved to South Seattle, Korb-Nice started busing to work so he wouldn’t have to drive. But like many Seattleites, he quickly grew vexed by public transit . He said that the metro took 1 hour and 15 minutes to get him only seven miles. One day a friend showed him an alternative way to commute by biking to work with him. It took less then 40 minutes.

Before starting his biking routine, Korb-Nice said that he felt anxious about “the logistics of not having a car” and his clothing. “You have to make adjustments when you commit to this,” he councils. “I invested in wrinkle-free clothing,” which he now carries in a backpack during his commute.

He recommends that others introduce alternative transportation methods slowly if they feel nervous leaving their car at home. Luckily, SPU supports staff commutes by providing zipcars, bus passes, and locker rooms for runners and bikers.  “Even if it’s two days a week…it’s a beginning,” he said.

Korb-Nice added extra motivation for his biking routine this spring by signing for a triathlon. Now he considers his commute as part of his training. Though he usually bikes to work anyway, Korb-Nice likes how the practice can fulfills two tasks.

Beyond this temporary incentive, Korb-Nice likes how biking is cost-effective for his family and provides  exercise, even on those days when he doesn’t have the extra energy or time after he gets home. Biking gives him that no-excuse policy for getting regular activity.

He also likes participating in the biking community. “Riding partners are fun,” he said, mentioning that May’s SPU teams give beginners a supportive way to start. This way, they have others helping them to learn the do’s and don’t of biking in Seattle. “First, join a team and shadow-ride with someone who’s been commuting by bike on a regular basis,” he said, advising that this is the best way to start learning about fixing technical problems, choosing gear, and navigating routes while enjoying a sense of comradery. He also emphasized the potential to expand one’s network on bike. “It doesn’t have to be a solo activity,” he said.

Korb-Nice encourages others to try riding around SPU by bike, and to not let themselves be intimidated by the roads. Thingd on that front are looking up. All of the recent city improvements to make Seattle bicycle-friendly has “been tremendous” for Korb-Nice; he said that he feels much safer on the new designated bike lanes. But he recognizes that many still feel a barrier despite this improvements, and he would like to see more people get comfortable on a bicycle seat.

One surprising benefit of biking for Korb-Nice is that it has given him a new perspective on driving. “I think I’m a much better driver”  he said. Biking made him more aware of his environment, especially when he’s on the road.

Next Profile: Professor Thane Erickson

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Author: Sara Kenning

Sustainability Assistant at Seattle Pacific University's Office of Facility and Project Management

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