John Finley Scott was a professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis, and a profound driving force behind the early operations in developing the mountain bike. In 1953, as a sophomore in college, John developed his first prottype Woodsie bike, which he had developed as a means to travel on off-road terrain. This first version was built using a Schwinn Varsity frame, and the second, built in 1960, featured a fully custom-built Jeff Butter frame. In 1979, he purchased 110 bike frames from Tom Ritchey, and subsequently sold them to Gary on a pay-as-you-sell basis, in addition to contributing a $10,000 initial investment to the business. John's early entrepreneurship in the mountain biking industry proved that not only were mountain bikes usable, they were marketable as well.

In Charlie Kelly's words:
"John Scott saw the future of the bicycle more clearly than anyone, but the future wasn't ready for him."

John Finley Scott's 1960 Woodsie

John Finley's Scott's 1960 Woodsie with custom frame.

John Finley Scott's 1960 Woodsie featured a "custom-built Jeff Butter frame with 650B rims and tires, drop handlebars, sidepull brakes, Cyclo Benelux rear derailleur, Simplex front derailleur, a TA 52-49-30 triple crankset, and a 14 to 28 five-sprocket freewheel" (excerpt from The Birth of Dirt, by Frank J. Berto). Supposedly, John had originally conceived of a bike that could handle mountainous terrain for the purpose of allowing him to continue to enjoy the nearby mountains, despite an ankle injuring which prevented him from hiking.