About this website

The website Bike Santa Barbara County is the result of a need for better information about bicycling opportunities in the Santa Barbara, California county. It was crafted and is being maintained by Ralph Fertig, a resident of the county for over 30 years, and dedicated bicyclist for over 25.

Ralph was one of the founding members of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition in 1991. He wrote and published 231 issues of a monthly newsletter Quick Release from November 1991 until January 2011. He also helped establish the Coalition’s website in April 1996, and managed its content for nearly 15 years until January 2011.

What spurred the creation of this website was the insertion of Google Analytics code in early 2010 into the pages of the Bicycle Coalition’s site to learn what site visitors were interested in. By fall, it was clear that nearly 70% of the visitors were seeking information on regional bike rides and bike tours. They weren’t very interested in government, bicycling advocacy, facility planning, or bicyclist safety. The Coalition’s site, unfortunately, had little to offer people looking for rides and tours.

So in January 2011, Fertig created this website to serve those bicyclists. He took what he knew, searched the web, consulted with others, and traveled all around the county uncovering details about accommodation, tourist aid, bike shops, bicycle rental businesses, and much more. He fleshed it out with photographs, some from his years of publishing Quick Release, plus others of new subjects.

The number of site visitors has been increasing substantially. There were twice as many visits in 2012 than in 2011. Summer is the peak time for website visits, although most of the commercial bike tours are in spring when the wildflowers are blooming.

About Ralph Fertig

Ralph was born in Massachusetts, raised in Western New York, and did his undergraduate work in architecture and art at Pennsylvania State University. After that, he spent a year at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan studying painting and ceramics. Then he switched to mathematics at the University of Michigan where he received an A.M. degree. With that degree, he obtained a job in phonetics research at the University’s Speech Communications Research Laboratory. During most of that time, from junior high school through college, he used a bicycle to get around, and didn’t own a car until he was 23 years old. When the speech laboratory moved from Ann Arbor to Santa Barbara, he jumped at the opportunity and moved to California.

Ralph had previously experienced California by attending Ansel Adams’ photography workshop in Yosemite National Park. Enthused with the visual possibilities of photography, he left Santa Barbara after two years, and studied at the Institute of Design in Chicago, subsequently earning an M.S. degree in photography. With his new degree, he spent the next several years teaching photography in California and Illinois.

Eventually, he returned to Santa Barbara where he started working for Advanced Computer Communications (ACC), doing photography, graphics and marketing. The firm manufactured devices to connect computers to the ARPAnet, a revolutionary government packet-switched network that eventually evolved into today’s Internet. Shortly afterwards, he added an evening job when he joined friend Tom Carlberg and founded Sycamore Canyon Woodwork where they crafted fine hardwood furniture and accessories. For 10 years, they sold them all over the US to retailers.

While at ACC, Ralph rediscovered his love of bicycling, first buying a mountain bike, then hybrid and road bikes, joining bike clubs, traveling all over California for century rides, and bike commuting to work each day. After 13 years at ACC, he moved to Quadron Service Corporation, a communication software firm from which he took an early retirement after 12 years in marketing.

While at Quadron, he started devoting more time to the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, serving as an officer or board member over 20 years. He attended many bicycling conferences all over North America, and succeeded in bringing the Pro Bike/Pro Walk conference to Santa Barbara in 1998, attracting 540 participants.

With more free time, Ralph has been traveling abroad since 2001, bicycling whenever possible, in Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Taiwan and Myanmar. Much of the inspiration for creating the Bike Santa Barbara County website came from his frustration trying to obtain information about bicycling in other parts of the world.

He dedicates his website to all the wonderful people who have shared their passion for bicycling with him