I´m Going DOWN to the BEACH:
Born in Menlo Park, California Simon migrated quickly northwards into the rolling redwood hills of Western Sonoma County. Growing up at a summer camp in the woods afforded him lots of opportunities to climb up waterfalls, roll down duff-covered hillsides and learn how to chop wood at an absurdly early age (as well as participate in the sundry activities: archery, arts and crafts and drama productions that were part and parcel to his early environment).
The Winter times of his youth were as quiet as the summers were riotous. Rainy redwood winters lent themselves to homesteading time with his parents, Jeanie and Mark, and his epic younger brother, Luke, reading in front of the fire, hiking to waterfalls in the rain and generally learning to enjoy silence and quasi-solitude surrounded by an incredibly loving family. A passion for travel, as well as a love of nature was instilled by his family while they travelled through, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Spain, Ecuador and parts of the United States.
As Simon grew older he became interested in music, learning to play the drums and guitar. When he was 12, he joined a band with whom he played for two years, often playing three ´´gigs´´ a week, culminating in a trip to Georgia to play at the 1996 Olympics. After this trip, disenchanted with the parents of the other band members pushing them too hard, he left the band and decided to play music only with friends and only for fun.
Reading books by Tom Brown Jr. as a teenager renewed his interest in the outdoors as well as inspiring him to seek out teachers who knew about edible and medicinal plants, survival skills and woodcraft. He eventually discovered Headwaters Outdoor School, a Mt. Shasta based school, with whom he apprenticed for six years learning new skills and deepening his connection with the natural world. During the same period of time he began surfing, snowboarding and competitively kickboxing and studying karate. During that same period, he also managed to play rugby, finish High School and spend lots of time camping up and down the Sonoma Coast with his friends, looking for waves, isolated beaches and mountains.
Simon went to School at UC Santa Cruz where he studied History and Anthropology, he also managed to participate in two Sierra Institute courses (without becoming a cult member), take six months off to travel in South America, complete a semester of school at Berkeley (where he joined the boxing team) and still spend most of his time surfing, climbing, mountain-biking and longboarding steep hills in and around the Santa Cruz Mountains.
He finished his studies in Ladakh with Nate (another guest Spine Rider) and taught at the same school with him in Puga on the Tibetan Plateau. After he finished teaching he continued travelling with Noah, another good friend of the crew, going to the south of India and studying Ashtanga Yoga and Ayurvedic massage. During the same trip he spent time climbing in Thailand, surfing in South Africa and working at another rural school in Zimbabwe teaching History and English.
He came back to Sonoma County in 2006 to help his family open ´´Two Crows Roadhouse,´´ a restaurant and community space in his hometown of Sebastopol. The community based around Two Crows has been amazing. Friends have come and worked for periods of time, living on the property and helping to improve and maintain it, the opportunity to work with his parents and brother every day has been a blessing as well and many of his friends became a part of his family during this time. While working at the restaurant Simon and his friend Tom (with help from other Hams) built a huge garden on the Two Crows Property, feeding the restaurant with fresh produce. After Simon´s family sold the business in 2007 Simon and Tom have expanded the garden, farming four acres by hand and supporting a CSA, two Farmer´s Markets and several restaurant accounts in collaboration with Taylor Maid Farms (not to be confused with the Coffee and Tea company).
Before heading down to the Spine Simon was working on a beautiful circular house in nearby Forestville, a renovation of his own house, some substitute teaching and a full time job working with another friend named Rusty doing permacultural work in the Sonoma County.
Simon is stoked to take a break from his life at home to ride with the guys through Ecuador and beyond! He is also stoked to encourage sojourns from biking into other activities, especially surfing!
© 2006 Riding the Spine