a little background….
I wrote this bio for the Riding the Spine website, thought it was pretty good, so l borrowed it.
Goat was born in to a family of adventurers. His mother is a backpacker, climber and all around lover of nature who was in Yosemite during the early days of big wall climbing. His father is one of the pioneers of international adventurer travel. Co-founder of the company SOBEK, which specialized in white water rafting, he and his friends, made the first decent of most major rivers around the world.
He grew up in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra in the rural northern California town of Vallecito. Goat’s family has never owned a TV and so he grew up rafting, hiking climbing, and cross-country skiing. His first river trip was at 18 months, and his first skiing and hiking experiences followed soon after. In addition to all this time spent experiencing the wonders of nature, he learned to read at a rather young age and read voraciously: 50 books in second grade alone (there was a contest). Goat also has always enjoyed fixing and making things – He has been helping (with varying levels of skill and usefulness) his father with construction projects since he was a toddler, and has since learned how to weld and become a rather skilled bike mechanic.
When Goat was in 5th grade his father quit his job (he was tired of running a company — too much time in the office, and not enough on the river) and the family (Goat is the oldest of three children) flew to Maine where his mother (a doctor) was working for the national health survey. They bought a van and traveled from (national) park to park around the United Stated for a year and a half. Camping every night, and climbing the highest peak in every state they entered. When they returned to northern California the family wasn’t ready to settle down, so they moved to Guanajuato Mexico for what ended up being six months, with the aim of learning Spanish. Goat struggled a bit trying to do seventh grade in Spanish and ended up being home schooled, which left him a lot of time to wander around the beautiful mountain university town of Guanajuato.
The family returned to Vallecito, and Goat became involved in Boy Scouts. After a taste of Mexican Boy scouting, which is entirely run by the scouts, and consists mainly of Sunday outings to hike or rock climb, he was a little nonplussed at the hierarchy and advancement oriented face of American Boy scouting. Fortunately the fates conspired, rapid scout master turnover left a void in the power structure, which allowed for a different, “funner”, “freer” and ultimately more useful form of scouting. Goat was Señor patrol leader for almost 5 years (the normal tenure is about 6 months), and used his influence to de-emphasize uniforms meetings and advancement. Troop 343 had tie-dye shirts as uniforms, and tie-dye neckerchiefs (for those occasions when they went to scout camp and normal uniforms were required), and was more apt to backpack and survival-bivouac than car-camp. His patrol used troop funds to by lead climbing gear (a practice frowned on as too unsafe by the BSA, and meetings were focused on learning/practicing outdoor skills rather than civics and standing at attention. The troop also built skate ramps and went on some pretty cool trips including hiking into Havasupi in the Grand Canyon. By the end of his tenure as non-conformist and barefoot SPL, Goat managed to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, and helped inspire a crew of rowdy misfits to respect/enjoy nature.
It was in high school and thanks to Boy scouts (and his dad, that Goat discovered biking. He had always fixed and maintained neighborhood bikes, but had never done any Long distance riding until he and the Mighty-Goat patrol decided to earn the bicycling merit badge. He started bicycling to school (about 5 miles) sometimes rising at 4:00 to ride 14 miles, watch the sun rise, go home, eat breakfast, and then ride to school. Goat, bucking the tide of his peers never learned to drive or got his license; opting to ride his bike and public transport, as well as hitchhiking.
He graduated from Bret Harte High, and moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC. While in Santa Cruz he took advantage of living in the big city to expand his wardrobe. He had always loved clothes: dressing up in suits, and making costumes throughout his child hood, and retrofitting his mother’s bellbottoms in high school. But in SC he started collecting in earnest, suit jackets and shirts of every color/pattern, skirts of all sorts, vests capes etc. And he didn’t stop at collecting them, he painted on suits, juxtaposing and modifying adornment into one-of-a-kind creations. He also stopped wearing shoes, something he had been attempting with mixed success since middle school. He had always spent the better part of every summer bare foot, and worn sandals when shoes were required/deemed necessary. But now he was free to liberate his toes.
In school he followed a similar liberated path — creating his own major in Popular Culture, which allowed him to audition and crash classes rather than following a proscribed course of study, the upshot of which was that he only took two classes he didn’t like throughout the course of his college career. He also took twice the regular number of courses, to better explore the breadth of offerings at UCSC. He minored in theater lighting design, and still works as a lighting designer/tech. For his senior-exit-requirement he taught a pirate class at UCSC entitled: “Punk Visual Culture,” which covered the history and prehistory of punk, as well as its modern ideological off shoots — straight edge, direct action activism, squatting etc. The guest lecturers included his friend, freight hopper and tree house mate Jacob.
Goat and Jacob met accidentally in the dorms at Porter College as freshmen, and moved into the woods, immediately thereafter. Together they built and lived in 3 tree houses, spending almost 4 years in the second tree home, before the police found it and made them tear it down. Throughout their time in Santa Cruz they existed almost entirely without money. Living quite comfortably on the colossal waste produced by our ridiculous consumer society: dumpster diving for food and most other things, riding bikes, and freight trains for transportation. They aren’t alone in their woods dwelling or dumpster diving, as there are sizeable contingents of woodzies, freegans, and hammies in and around Santa Cruz.
Goat worked as a bike mechanic at free/nonprofit bike shops including the Bike Coop, throughout his 10 years in Santa Cruz. A well as maintaining a rapidly fluctuating fleet of liberated communal bikes, including the death trap series: a mini-fleet of caution orange fixed gear bikes, made from Huffies and Magnas. Lately he has been building tall, and other freak bikes.
Jacob and Goat both went back to school and after a year of hellish work earned their Masters in Education and teaching credentials to teach high school history. Jacob taught middle school for a year while Goat freight hopped around the country with his friend Jenny, became a diesel mechanic, raised a barn, and built even more bikes. Then he took a little 3 and a half year mtn bike tour the length of the Americas. Which was well documented on RidingTheSpine.com. Since that time he’s been mostly based in Santa Cruz occupying his time with building houses and yurts and the like; wandering around northern California and naturally, designing and building bikes.