If your boat were to sink, bears would not be the first thing to worry about so the 7 Steps to Survival don’t include bear encounters. When riding bikes in the woods, bears are an issue. We even have bears in our neighborhood. One took the month of September to eat everything in a neighbor’s garden, taking out the fence in the process.
Bears seem to be on the minds of the national press [along with Bison]. CNN just had an article on how to survive a bear attack which seems to offer some good advice. Not too far from my home there was a bear attack. This one didn’t end so well for the bear.
The first article suggests riding in groups, not bathing and singing/talking so the bear has a chance to stay away. Then there is the tried and true method of not being the slowest in the group. Would it be smart to carry a branch that you could shove through another rider’s spokes? Not a nice thing. I think being loud and stinky is a simple way to behave in bear country.
Many carry bear spray [I am considering it], but I really don’t want to see one in the first place. One issue with bear spray and bicycles is where to carry it. I have seen several videos where the spray is carried in a water bottle bracket or feed bag and the vibration of the bike has worn a hole through the side of the bear spray container, which then sprays the rider and leaves you without protection.
The “where to carry it” link (above) shares a few comments that are worth noting:
1. Keep the spray on your person in case you get separated from your bike.
2. Practice with the spray, it won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it.
3. Bear encounters on the trail happen at warp speed.
Near the end of that article is a section on camping in bear country. When a teenager I did some camping in Glacier National Park which was serious bear territory. This was before all the fancy ways of storing food and we had them walking through camp at night looking for a treat. Now I wonder about bikepacking in bear country. How would one safely store food although with freeze dried packages there shouldn’t be any scent to attract them. Just make sure to clean your plate/bowl.
That motel room door is looking better and better.