Dr. Bickford moved to Santa Barbara in July, 1976 following graduation from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now called Salus University) in Philadelphia with degrees Bachelor of Science in Physiological Optics and Doctorate in Optometry. He attended undergraduate school at Ohio State University and graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He grew up on Long Island, NY not very far from Jones Beach, Fire Island and the Atlantic Ocean. And now he frequents different beaches by the Pacific Ocean, with the added attraction of no snow.

Academic interests resulted in a degree in Political Science with minors in secondary education and pre-medicine. Poli-sci lead to numerous political and social justice work which has continued until the present, much of that focused on local electoral and environmental politics. He was the founder of the More Mesa Land Trust and worked with a number of Santa Barbara non-profits including the Environmental Defense Center, Network, SBCan. The education degree pursuit lead to a stint teaching high school science and later, in Santa Barbara, he was a member of the board of directors of Peabody Charter School. He was a founding member of the American Optometric Society, a professional advocacy organization. Current projects include being on the board of directors of COAST, the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation. COAST is involved with improving transportation options, promoting bicycle and pedestrian access and safety and promoting rail and bus service as an alternative to single-occupant motor vehicles.  Dr. Bickford bicycles to work most of the time.

Dr. Bickford moved to California from the east coast in 1976 to pursue a career in health care with the goal to work in a multidisciplinary health care provider setting. He spent some time in Santa Barbara on the staff of the Westside Neighborhood Medical Clinic and worked to set up the first eye and vision care practice within a "free" clinic in the United States. He remains a supporter of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and the goal to provide free or affordable health care for everyone. That philosophy extends to his private practice, now nearly 33 years at the same location in the San Roque area of Santa Barbara.