About the 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
website in April 1996, and managed its content for nearly 15 years until
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
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 Universityís Speech
Communications Research Laboratory. During most of that time, from junior
high school through college, he used a bicycle to get around, and didnít 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 Adamsí 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
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.