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70 Mile Bike Ride Around Town

Santa Barbara by Bicycle column by Steve Cook

Carpinteria Bluffs Sunrise. Rincon Mtn (left), Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands (l-r), La Cumbre Peak (right) — Click for HiDef Image

I woke up early Monday morning and hit the road well before the sun had risen. This is part of my training for a long distance endurance ride I’ll be doing this summer in France called PBP, or Paris to Brest to Paris. PBP is a 1200K (746 mile) ride to be completed in 90 hours or less. An international team of ElliptiGO riders are training for this ride. Here is the team as it exists today, and we’re looking for more riders to join us!

Let me take you through today’s ride from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria to the far end of Goleta and back. I headed down towards the beach from the Westside, riding to the beach, down Cabrillo Boulevard, past the Bird Refuge and Clark Estate, winding up and down Channel Drive, cutting across Danielson Road to South Jamenson. Then, crossing the San Ysidro bridge, east on North Jameson, over the Ortega Ridge bike path, continuing East on Lillie through Summerland. From there I continued on Via Real to Carpinteria, taking the Seventh Street overpass to Carp Avenue, continuing out to Highway 150/Rincon Road. Just before the bridge that demarks Ventura County, I turned left onto Gobenedor Canyon, climbed the hill, then dropped down the other side to Foothill Road. It was brisk out — the temperature was in the low to mid-forties until I passed the Polo fields. Traffic was minimal until Foothill Road, then it started to pick up with people heading to school and work. In spite of the increase in cars, those that passed me did so with plenty of clearance, certainly abiding by the three-foot passing law. Continuing on Foothill Road to Toro Canyon, I climbed up to East Valley and continued to Ladera Lane.

While I was climbing Toro Canyon a semi-truck with an attached trailer was heading down the bending road towards me. At the same time I noticed in my mirror a pickup truck coming up the hill towards my position. This is a very tight corridor with no room for three vehicles side-by-side. So, I held out my left arm and moved more into the lane signaling to the pickup truck behind me to wait. Once the semi had passed us and the road ahead was clear, I pulled more to the right, releasing the pickup truck to pass me. And, I waved my thanks as they passed. It may have cost the pickup 5-7 seconds to wait to pass, but it insured both our safety.

Ladera Lane presents a challenge for bicyclists — it’s steep and goes on for almost a mile. I find the best way to approach this climb is just to put one foot in front of the other, keep the pedals turning, and enjoy the scenery. In fact, one time I was climbing this hill I watched and listened to the fire control goat herd munching on the poison oak and brush as I pedaled. The hill will come to me soon enough — there is no reason to kill myself trying to trim off a few minutes. All of the climbs in Santa Barbara are like this — they are manageable with the right mindset, once one has the stamina to do small climbs, the larger ones are attainable too! This includes hills like Miramonte Drive, California Street and Campanil Hill; and it includes mountain climbs like Old San Marcos/Painted Cave Road, and even Gibraltar Road. Where the mind will go, the body will follow.

Having ascended Ladera Lane I continued onto Bella Vista Drive, then onto Park Lane. Continuing through to San Ysidro road and a quick left onto East Mountain Drive I began what I call the estate view segment of the ride. There are so many new and rebuilt homes in the area; many maintaining the classic mediterranean look from the twenties and thirties that I love so much. And, in the morning there are a lot of people out for their walks that will greet you as you ride by, some are even hollywood types in everyday dress.


View of Santa Barbara Harbor from Bella Vista Drive
View of Santa Barbara Harbor from Bella Vista Drive
Critter Footprints Alongside the Road
Critter Footprints Alongside the Road

Once I reached Sheffield Reservoir, I headed down Mountain Drive and turned right on Foothill Road. From there I continued through the undulations of Foothill road and over the San Roque Creek Bridge, keeping an eye out for trapped road debris and storm drains; then on to the San Marcos Pass intersection where Foothill Road turns into Cathedral Oaks Road. One thing to watch for, I learned at this intersection, is cars want to pass you when you’re on the right of the road to make the right turn up San Marcos Pass. It’s important to pay attention to the cars approaching from behind to insure they don’t “right hook” you. Sometimes I need to “take the right lane” to prevent this from happening as they are often in a rush to head up the pass. The illustration below will help you to understand more about the dangers of getting yourself into a “right hook” or “left cross” situation.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.33.59 AM
Lane Positioning in Traffic

The above animation was created by Keri Caffrey at showing how to avoid some bike riding traffic traps. Knowing and using these bicycle positioning skills can prove useful on most any ride. These skills apply to more than just bike/truck situations. Click on the the image to see the full animation. One must ride where one is visible to all traffic.

Once on Cathedral Oaks it was a relatively straight forward ride out to Winchester Canyon Road where I stopped by the 76 station for an early lunch/refueling before turning around and heading home. The route home took me back on Cathedral Oaks, then on to Ribera Drive where I connected with the Maria Ygnacio Trail multi-use path, then on the Obern Trail path all the way through to Modoc Road, and then home again.

These trails are wonderful to ride on. During the low light times of the day, I keep my head and tail lights on. And, when passing people or bikes I will use my handlebar bell to let them know I’m coming.

Obern Trail Bridge by Hidden Oaks Golf Course
Obern Trail Bridge by Hidden Oaks Golf Course

Long Ride: SB to Carp to GoletaSB to Carp to Goleta – click for more detail

All in all this was an easy, though long ride. It took just under seven hours to complete the 70 miles. This is part of the training for PBP, long and increasingly difficult rides, working up to 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K distances. All of these qualifying rides also have time limits on them to insure the rider will have a decent shot of completing PBP within the required 90 hour time limit. Of course, we don’t have to ride long distances in beautiful Santa Barbara, nor do we have to press hard — we just need to take the opportunity to get out and ride, and enjoy the scenery.

If you’re interested in riding and want to know how to get started, consider taking a class from a League Certified Instructor at the Bicycle Coalition. If your business or organization would like to have classes taught onsite, please contact me at

Here are some of the laws that pertain to bike riding in California; some good tips for courteous cycling; and a great article on waving and making eye-to-eye contact with other drivers.

Read more about Getting Around Santa Barbara by Bicycle in my blog: or follow me on Twitter: SantaBarbaraUpClose

I’ll be looking for you on the road. If you see me on my ElliptiGO bike, say Hi!

Harbor Bound

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Harbor Bound
The end to what looks like it was an amazing day of sailing. This sailboat is motoring its way back into the Santa Barbara Harbor under one of the most beautiful skies imaginable.

-Bill Heller

Titans of Santa Barbara: Thomas M. Storke

Thomas Storke, the man who would come to be known as “Mr. Santa Barbara,” was born on this day in 1876. Although his accomplishments were many, Storke is best know for his hand in the local newspaper business. He was 24 years old when he bought the Daily Independent and over 80 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

“In 1900, Tom Storke, age 24, borrowed $2,000 to buy the Daily Independent, weakest of the town’s three papers,” wrote the NY Times at the time of his death in 1971. “He sold it in 1909 and went back into the business in 1913 as owner of the Santa Barbara Daily News. Not long afterward he reacquired the Independent and published the combined paper as the Daily News and Independent.”

In 1932, Storke’s competition, the Santa Barbara Morning Press, was on the brink of bankruptcy, and they begged him to take over as owner. He did and merged his newspaper with the Morning Press to create today’s Santa Barbara News-Press.

Editor’s Note: Storke’s Principles
l. Keep the news clean and fair
2. Play no favorites; never mix business and editorial policy
3. Do not let the news columns reflect editorial comment
4. Publish the news that is public property without fear or favor of friend or foe
5. Accept no charity and ask no favors
6. Give “value received” for every dollar you take in
7. Make the paper pay a profit if you can, but above profit, keep it clean, fearless and fair

UCSB offers no end of beautiful scenes, but one of its most immediately recognizable features is Storke Tower. Not just a simple bell tower, the bells in Storke Tower actually make up an instrument called a Carillon. It is played with closed fists on pegs in an arrangement similar to a piano or organ keyboard. Each peg rings a different bell. - Bill HellerStorke’s memory is alive at Storke Tower at UC Santa Barbara. A placard on the Tower reads, “These bells ring for the freedom of the press and in tribute to Editor-Publisher Thomas More Storke, whose affection for the University made this building possible.”

Turkey Time in Santa Barbara, CA

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

A friend of mine told me to check out the turkey’s on Modoc & MIssion. Sure enough, a tom and a hen, along with a few chickens have free range of the large yard. Driving by they almost look like yard art, but as I walked up they slowly walked towards me. With a few seconds the tom ruffled his feathers and took on the look of, gulp, the classic holiday bird.

Before he got too close I beat a hasty retreat. A really gorgeous bird.

EcoFacts: Clothing Makes the Person‏

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

Is the fast fashion trend waning? We can hope so. People in the U.S. spend more on clothes than ever before, an average of around $900 per person and 64 garments bought in a year (average price $14 each). They are sometimes poorly made and with fabrics that have toxic levels of phthalates another chemicals, but that is a whole other issue.

Fast fashion has been big in the last decade or more – cheap and hence readily disposable clothing, but a turnaround may be happening, as some fashion experts say a “buy less but better movement is brewing”. Great! Because the average person also disposes of 68 lbs of clothes (throws away) in a year. And then there is what we give away – so much that most of the donations to thrift stores ends up with textile recyclers who either sell them abroad or turn them into rags. Last year 860,000 tons of used clothing were exported. No stats on the rags.

Santa-Barbara-Consignment-Store-signHere is a hopeful indicator: if people are buying too many clothes, at least more are buying used, it seems. The number of thrift stores increased 12% in 2012. There are now around 25,000 resale or thrift shops in the U.S.. Well, the clothes are there to fill the shops, that’s for sure. Even downtown Santa Barbara has more consignment/resale clothing shops than ever. So maybe more of our massive amounts of clothing have at least a better chance at being worn until they are actually ready for rag status.

Be a Part of the 61st Annual Milpas Holiday Parade


Help make this the “December to Remember” on Milpas! YOU need to be in the Milpas Holiday Parade! It’s free for schools to enter… Santa Claus is up in the Fire Engine, dancers are dancing in the street, musical acts will entertain, scooters, Chinese Lion dancers will strut their stuff, and more! Merchants put out hot chocolate, and everyone has a lot of fun! Click here for entry forms.

The 61st Annual Milpas Holiday Parade takes place Saturday December 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM. The parade route runs along Milpas from Canon Perdido to Mason St.

Rick Feldman Named Grand Marshall
The Milpas Community Association (MCA) is delighted to announce that the Grand Marshal for the 61st annual parade is Rick Feldman of the EyeGlass Factory. Feldman was a founding member of the Milpas Community Association, and is a larger-than-life personality. Feldman conceived and produces Kids Day – an annual event that gives free eye exams, eyeglasses, health screenings and more to kids from all over the region at the EyeGlass Factory on Milpas St.

“It’s a huge gift to our community’s children – Feldman is just all heart. He’s perfect for our parade Grand Marshal!” says MCA President Alan Bleecker.

Rick Feldman (in blue, with scarf) next to Salud Carbajal, talking with a mother whose kid received free eyeglasses at Kids Day.This year marks the 20th anniversary of Kids Day at the EyeGlass Factory. Feldman long ago realized that academic performance can be hampered by a child’s ability to see clearly. That was the genesis of Kids Day, and it’s evolved into a huge hit. The event starts at 9 AM, but crowds often start lining up at dawn. Feldman has expanded his vision over the years from providing eye care and glasses to additional health offerings like dental and health screening services, visits with Santa and a fire engine, and more.

The Milpas Holiday Parade turns 61 years old this year, revived in 2012 by the Milpas Community Association. The parade is focused heavily on children, featuring multiple youth and community groups in its procession. Because of his decades-long community gift of Kids Day, Feldman was a natural choice for Grand Marshal. “We celebrate kids in this community, and try to select a Grand Marshal that we feel symbolizes that commitment to youth and families here,” said Bea Molina, MCA Vice President. “Rick truly cares about our kids.”

Kids Day takes place on December 14th at 9 AM at the EyeGlass Factory on Milpas St. Over 500 kids are expected to come for free eye exams and health screenings.

“The chance to see Santa is a big deal to a kid,” Feldman says, with a twinkle in his eye.

Pearl Chase Week Concludes

“If it hadn’t been for Pearl, Santa Barbara would look like Oxnard.”


As we wrap up coverage of Santa Barbara’s Pearl on the week of her birthday, here are some other great stories of Pearl Chase to run on Santa Barbara View over the years:

Santa Barbara High Girls’ basketball team circa 1904. Captain, coach, player: Pearl Chase, center, holding the basketball above her head. - See more at:
Santa Barbara High Girls’ basketball team circa 1904. Captain, coach, player: Pearl Chase, center, holding the basketball above her head.

Remember the Final Traffic Signal on U.S. 101?

From 1950 until November 1991, traffic lights along U.S. Highway 101 were a part of Santa Barbara life. Then, twenty three years ago today, the signal at the intersection of Anacapa Street–the last remaining traffic light on U.S. 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco–was removed.
“When the lights were red, they were the only thing between motorists and 435 miles of free-and-open ride up and down the venerable highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. “But when they were green, they seemed to stay green forever, and they divided Santa Barbara in two.” The lights actually lasted up to eight minutes and many motorists turned off their engines! Sheila Lodge, Mayor of Santa Barbara at the time, reportedly spent the interludes poring through her mail.

From the Introduction to Pearl Chase: First Lady of Santa Barbara

From the View Vault: Originally published for Pearl Chase’s 125th Birthday in 2013

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150In 1888 the following events happened: the establishment of Hotel del Coronado; the writing of “Casey at the Bat”; the founding of the City of San Pedro; the creation of the National Geographic Society; the development of the first photos on Kodak film—and most importantly for the City of Santa Barbara, the birth of Pearl Chase.

Saint Barbara gave her name to the City of Santa Barbara, but the woman who shaped this city was Miss Pearl Chase.

College-CutiePearl Chase was the city’s most influential woman of the 20th century. With her interests in public health and education; the arts and architecture; urban planning and environmental integrity, she was a true Renaissance woman who blazed her own unique trail, and compelled others to follow in her footsteps.

She commanded attention wherever she went. She learned early how to make friends and influence people. She demanded action from individuals. She expected excellence in civic involvement. She fearlessly led without aspirations for elective office. She relied on righteous indignation as a political tool.

“Government officials are really temporary—they come and go—and this constant turnover means that many citizen organizations have far greater continuity and relative importance in community affairs,” she explained. “Don’t assume leadership will come from the professions: you often won’t find it there. If you’re to succeed, you must be led by citizens and citizen groups, with the interest and support of key public agencies.”

When I moved to Santa Barbara in 1989, the first historic figure I heard about was Pearl Chase. I was fascinated by stories of her leadership in setting high standards for this community in every level of civic involvement. I came to admire her fearlessness in speaking truth to power throughout her long and extraordinary life.

And, when I was moved to action as a citizen interested in historic preservation and alarmed about overdevelopment, I was inspired by her belief in citizen oversight of governmental action, and her determination to make Santa Barbara a better place for visitors and residents alike.

platebook2Thanks to her example, I learned to find my voice as a journalist and a community activist in standing up and speaking out. I have long focused on a variety of quality-of-life issues that Miss Chase believed in and worked so hard to address.

In recent years, Santa Barbara has seen relentless moves to undermine, un-do and discredit the accomplishments of Miss Chase and those who worked with her to create this special place admired the world over.

Some claim that the grace, style and dignity she brought to this town are passé. Others insist that buildings should be taller, the population denser, and that there’s something elitist about heeding the past while planning for the future.

But here are still some residents who have learned from her example, who spend their time, treasure and talent to continue to make Santa Barbara a special place to live, work and play—and serve the greater good.

Pearl Chase relentlessly communicated her message using the tools of her time: personal contact, the telephone and the mail service. If she were with us today, it’s easy to imagine her blogging away, uploading videos to YouTube, posting comments on Facebook and using her own Twitter account to get the word out about current issues and events. As she noted at the age of 80: “My job is still the same. Get the message across. And make politicians and others feel they must pay attention to the people.”

signaturePart visionary, part pragmatic community organizer, Pearl Chase associated with presidents and politicians; philanthropists and forward thinkers; influential friends close to home and across the nation. She enlisted their help to make this special community a better place.

In her time, she succeeded.

The city of Santa Barbara is sometimes called a jewel, a gem, a treasure; few visitors or even residents realize how many facets of this beautiful place—so highly prized and richly valued—can be traced back to a woman named Pearl.

November 16th, Pearl Chase’s birthday, ought to be celebrated as Pearl Chase Day in Santa Barbara, the city that owes her so much. So much of the natural and architectural beauty we see around our community is directly attributable to the influence and vision of Pearl Chase.

Today, 125 years after her birth, it’s time to remember what she did. And learn how she got it done.

–From the Introduction to Pearl Chase: First Lady of Santa Barbara, Olympus Press, 2013

Pearl Chase First Lady of Santa Barbara

A we celebrate Pearl Chase Week, let’s thank Cheri Rae who last year finished, “Pearl Chase First Lady of Santa Barbara“! If you haven’t bought it yet, this incredible mini book is on sale at Chaucer’s, Santa Barbara Arts, Lewis & Clark and the Book Den. You can get it online at Amazon too for less than $3. It is a must have for all Santa Barbareños. Kellam de Forest, legendary preservationist and historian offers a few words about the book.

pearlchase_300x520“Cheri Rae’s little book provides, at last, a succinct account of Miss Chase’s life, accomplishments and contributions to Santa Barbara.  Such a book has long been needed to answer the oft-asked questions by visitors and newcomers alike ‘who was Pearl Chase and why was she important?‘  It is hard even for me, who knew Miss Chase, to rattle off her all her contributions and to explain her importance.  Now here is a book that answers these questions and more. I learned things about her I hadn’t known before. The book does not pretend to be a scholarly tome, but is a well-written and informative narrative of who Miss Chase really was, a must for anyone who wants to know more about Santa Barbara.”

Kellam de Forest