Santa Cruz Style


March 16, 2007



Jamie Goldman: Take a freeride



Jamie Goldman can't ride his bike right now because of a sprained right knee, and he's getting impatient watching other bikers fly over and flip off dirt ramps sculpted into an Aptos field.

"It sucks, but it really just makes me want to ride more every time I get hurt it's kinda weird, actually," says Goldman, 20, a professional freeride mountain biker and team rider for Syndicate, Santa Cruz Bicycles' pro team.

Injuries are just part of the job for Goldman, who fell in love with freeride mountain biking at age 12. He uses his bike to go airborne off dirt or wooden ramps and perform astonishing tricks while flying flipping 360 degrees and landing perfectly, kicking the bike around in a horizontal circle while holding onto the handlebars and reconnecting his feet with the pedals just before hitting the ground.

But with the ecstasy of soaring comes the fact of gravity; Goldman has ruptured his spleen, had his appendix removed, broken his collarbone and a couple of ribs and torn ligaments in his knee. Perhaps worst on the injury list, at 16 he broke both his ankles at the same time and was in a wheelchair for three months.

His parents, Michael and Karen, don't really worry about him, says his dad.

"But it's hard for me to watch now, because they're going so huge," Michael says.

It's all worth it, according to Goldman, because the sport has him hooked.

"I think it's just the adrenaline and being able to push your body and see what you can do with it," says Goldman, squinting in the hot spring sunshine on a recent weekday.

He started out biking to class at Shoreline Middle School, and he and his buddies would jump off the stairs. Then he started doing dirt jumps at DeLaveaga Park. As a boy, he raced BMX bikes, then rode motocross before making the transition to a mountain bike.

"You could ride your mountain bike anywhere," says Goldman, a Santa Cruz native with blond, all-American looks. "You could ride to trails, ride trails and jump"

With a slew of firsts and other high rankings at international contests, Goldman could rest on his laurels. But he's driven to do the best he can.

Next up on the trick wish-list? Back-flip tail-whips. "I want to do that really bad," says Goldman, who had brought his bike out so a photographer could snap him at least sitting on it.

But for now, he needs to wait a couple weeks for his knee to heal. His friends have invited him to the beach, but first, he loads his bike into his truck and heads to the taqueria.

Contact Gwen Mickelson at