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  1. #1
    No, that's not phonetic
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    So we got chased by a bear on our bikes today...

    Barny and I were out riding in the rain today along some old WWII military jeep roads at the edge of the Coast Guard Base. We were doing a rough figure 8 and were in the process of backtracking a trail we had already ridden about a half hour earlier when I spotted a bear easing into the trail ahead of us. Barny was leading and not paying attention, so I gave the universal Alaskan signal, "bearbearbear!"

    We stopped about 50 yards away from him (a goodly sized boar, youngish looking, but large), and we looked his way for a few moments. He gazed back and seemed curious, unsure, and not particularly motivated to do anything. I yelled at him a bit and clapped my hands, and he eventually ambled off the trail uphill and into the brush. We wondered for a minute if we should continue on past him or turn around. I kept looking up the hill where it was more open to see if he was climbing away from us but I could not see him anywhere.

    Based on not having any idea where he was, we turned around and as we saddled up I glanced over my should and noticed him back in the trail and walking towards us. "Let's go," I said and we pushed off at a "normal" pace. He broke into a trot and I said to Barny, "speed up." We started riding faster, luckily downhill, and as I looked back a few times I could see him running after us. He was visible for about 1/4 mile but there were some twists in the trail and we soon lost sight of him. He may well have gotten bored and stopped, but we did not slow down until we were well away.

    I see lots of brown bears each summer during my job, and I have run into bears before on my bike, but I have never been chased by a brownie. Some people I know here in Kodiak have been treed by bears in town, but it is not that common. I have had countless interactions with bears, but I really don't like it when they don't act "normal" and show some fear, or at least respect, of humans. I guess I gotta start dragging bear spray along for rides in that area now...
    Last edited by tscheezy; 05-02-2004 at 10:19 PM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  2. #2
    Lay off the Levers
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    ...
    Based on not having any idea where he was, we turned around and as we saddled up I glanced over my should and noticed him back in the trail and walkiing towards us. "Let's go," I said and we pushed off at a "normal" pace. He broke into a trot and I said, "speed up." We started riding faster, luckily downhill, and as I looked back a few times I could see him running after us. He was visible for about 1/4 mile but there were some twists in the trail and we soon lost sight of him. He may well have gotten bored and stopped, but we did not slow down until we were well away.
    ... I guess I gotta start dragging bear spray along for rides in that area now...
    Woah! That'll keep you in shape for sure!
    What's Bear spray?
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  3. #3
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Bear spray is a big aerosol can of hot pepper extract. It shoots out a plume of unbelievably unpleasant powder. You aim for the face trying to hit the eyes and nose. Bears really don't like getting touched by anything, much less receiving a mucous membrane full of habanero.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Bear spray is a big aerosol can of hot pepper extract. It shoots out a plume of unbelievably unpleasant powder. You aim for the face trying to hit the eyes and nose. Bears really don't like getting touched by anything, much less receiving a mucous membrane full of habanero.
    ....MMMMMMMMMMmmmm...habanero!


    ......glad you're here to tell the tale!


  5. #5
    roots, rocks, rhythm
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    I always find I don't enjoy those situations but afterwards, once your safe it adds to the whole days ride.

    I know what it is like because I have come face to face with a female Grizzly with 2 mature cubs on a trail (about 20 feet)..........good thing my v-brakes were squeaky at the time. I looked at them and they at me......and they took off.
    I however did not turn back, we (the two of us) just made lots of noise, waited and continued on........going back would have meant 46 km back to the truck instead of 7 kms of sweet single track all down hill to my truck.......... luckily we didn't get chased but then we were in worp speed because of the adrenalin rush, so we would not have noticed.
    It also became one of the all time great days of riding and remember it fondly.......

    Something to consider concerning bear spray:

    I for one don't carry bear spray, when in bear country because I don't believe it works all that well. It is a pain to care, it weight is a problem, how you carry it and access. (Inside your pack is alittle useless.) I however don't have anything I can show you but there have been studies (Magazines and TV) that bear spray attracted the bears instead of repelled them. (I can only think that those bears maybe like it hot and spicy????)
    Another thing to consider is that for bear spray to work effectively you would have to be standing about 15 - 10 feet right in front and hit the bear right in the face. For me that is way toooooo close for me. And besides who in there right mind is standing calmly waiting for a opportunity spray the bear. I and who ever would of been out of there as fast
    as possible and not put myself in that situation. (If you have ever worked with this stuff of even the pepper spray like the cops use.......it is only really effective at the middle to close range. The further ranges the spray becomes is a mist and accuracy is difficult to achieve) It can also be unreliable because it gets clogged up and so on....

    All I am trying to say is bear spray might work or it might not. (Don't want completely discredited it) But being aware of signs and knowing what to do is better then thinking your safe because you got........."Bear Spray"
    I would have done what you did and ride really FAST!!!!!
    Just my opinion.............

    On a lighter note:
    l at least you and Barny didn't become "Meals on Wheels" as I like to say.......
    (That is what I call anyone in bear country on a bike.... including myself.........LOL)

    Kevin

  6. #6
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    Had any problems with Moose? Only reason I ask, is that a while back me and a buddy got chased by a female that I photographed just outside Anchorage. Only when I started taking her picture and looked through the viewfinder did I realise her calf was standing right behind her. Time for a sharp exit!
    Don't fancy doing the same with a bear as they can really move.

  7. #7
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgprimo
    All I am trying to say is bear spray might work or it might not.
    Yup, I hear you. I work around bears all summer and have run the gamut of non-lethal deterrents. Super socks (12 gauge bean bags), rubber bullets, rubber buck-shot, #7 shot, cracker shells, seal bombs, slingshot, rocks, and pepper spray. Pepper spray works well if you can get it in the right spot (close, no wind, etc). I have given a few a snoot full. It only attracts them when they can smell the residue on the can or where it has been sprayed. They REALLY don't like getting hit with the "fresh" stuff. The reduced effectiveness and limited deterrence duration has usually been documented in black bears. Brownies tend to get the message better (smarter?). You have to wear it in a hip or chest holster for it to be ready. I have a velcro chest attachment which is great. The problem is always the young bears who have something to prove.

    BTW I really really really don't want this thread to turn into the usual "pack a gun"/"don't pack a gun" crap like you see clogging up Passion all the time.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  8. #8
    old format's better
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    ... and if we just ... Hey, what about packing a gun?

    Bwaaaaaaaaa............

    Ken
    No matter where you go, there you are.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Barny and I were out riding in the rain today along some old WWII military jeep roads at the edge of the Coast Guard Base. We were doing a rough figure 8 and were in the process of backtracking a trail we had already ridden about a half hour earlier when I spotted a bear easing into the trail ahead of us. Barny was leading and not paying attention, so I gave the universal Alaskan signal, "bearbearbear!"

    We stopped about 50 yards away from him (a goodly sized boar, youngish looking, but large), and we looked his way for a few moments. He gazed back and seemed curious, unsure, and not particularly motivated to do anything. I yelled at him a bit and clapped my hands, and he eventually ambled off the trail uphill and into the brush. We wondered for a minute if we should continue on past him or turn around. I kept looking up the hill where it was more open to see if he was climbing away from us but I could not see him anywhere.

    Based on not having any idea where he was, we turned around and as we saddled up I glanced over my should and noticed him back in the trail and walking towards us. "Let's go," I said and we pushed off at a "normal" pace. He broke into a trot and I said to Barny, "speed up." We started riding faster, luckily downhill, and as I looked back a few times I could see him running after us. He was visible for about 1/4 mile but there were some twists in the trail and we soon lost sight of him. He may well have gotten bored and stopped, but we did not slow down until we were well away.

    I see lots of brown bears each summer during my job, and I have run into bears before on my bike, but I have never been chased by a brownie. Some people I know here in Kodiak have been treed by bears in town, but it is not that common. I have had countless interactions with bears, but I really don't like it when they don't act "normal" and show some fear, or at least respect, of humans. I guess I gotta start dragging bear spray along for rides in that area now...
    Holy moley. Glad to hear that the encounter ended peacefully. Those bears are so darn powerful.

    I wonder how bears react to very loud noises. I recently saw a mountain bike air horn. It uses compressed air in a special plastic water bottle. An air hose goes to the horn on the bars with a thumb switch. It's supposed to be extremely loud. The system looks very light.

    You can never tell if a deterrent will work until you try it. It reminds me of my favorite comic strip....Sherman's Lagoon. Sherman and his wife are sharks....and obviously eat just about everything.

    My favorite showed 2 divers underwater. The divers spot the sharks and one diver turns to the other and says "Let's hold hands to make ourselves look bigger"....in an effort to scare the sharks.

    Sherman turns to his wife....points at the divers holding hands and says...."Look! A double whopper!"

    I sometimes wonder what is going through a predator's mine when it's looking at me on a trail. I think they're probably envisioning me with a side of fries.
    Last edited by WarrGuru; 05-03-2004 at 07:37 AM.

  10. #10
    Are you talking to me?
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    Pucker factor x10!

    Holey smokes! I an glad the two of you are ok.I have not had to fly from bear, but plenty of moose.

    Perhaps you are getting the "bear thing" out of your system for the summer, and your encounters on the job will be few. Good luck.
    gfy

  11. #11
    Baked Alaskan
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    now that's funny

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgprimo

    On a lighter note:
    l at least you and Barny didn't become "Meals on Wheels" as I like to say.......
    (That is what I call anyone in bear country on a bike.... including myself.........LOL)

    Kevin
    Good one. I've had a few encounters too, they were always on the side of the trail when I noticed the dark mound move. And it always gave me a super sized adrenaline rush.

    For the Anchorage locals:

    I was riding the costal trail as a training ride, from the lagoon to Kincaid and back two summers ago. After turning at the top of the hill at Kincaid and heading back down I saw what I thought were three moose about halfway down. Turns out it was a brownie and two cubs. They were just looking for something to eat about 50 feet off the trail in the brush. That was real a heart stopper. First time I've seen a brownie in the city.

    If momma would have charged, no way I could have beat her up the hill after an 11 mile ride with the last mile up a pretty steep hill. So I decided to step on the gas, it's a steep paved hill for the non-locals, figuring she couldn't get to me before I was long gone. They didn't even move as I sped away. The first 4 or 5 miles of the ride home was way fast and then I crashed after the rush passed and the rest of the ride was hell.

    Thankfully, I've never had any real close encounters. Every time I see pepper spray I laugh because I think of the Simpson's when Ralph Wiggam got sprayed by Marge and he said, "my boogers are spicy."
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    "Let's go," I said and we pushed off at a "normal" pace. He broke into a trot and I said to Barny, "speed up."
    What!?! No pictures? Not even a blind shot while you sped away? And you call yourself an action photographer. You're getting soft in your old age man .

    I've had encounters with rattle snakes, porcupines, and even a trapped coyote but the scariest were the two encounters with a moose, both on fly fishing trips. A cow and her calf ran me out of a stream, and the other time I came nose to nose with the biggest bull I've ever seen, probably because he was so close. I literally could've reached out and smacked him on the nose with my fly rod. I thought for sure I was a goner seeing as how I was thigh deep in water with nowhere to go.

  13. #13
    Daniel the Dog
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    I've always wondered about Brown Bears.

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Barny and I were out riding in the rain today along some old WWII military jeep roads at the edge of the Coast Guard Base. We were doing a rough figure 8 and were in the process of backtracking a trail we had already ridden about a half hour earlier when I spotted a bear easing into the trail ahead of us. Barny was leading and not paying attention, so I gave the universal Alaskan signal, "bearbearbear!"

    We stopped about 50 yards away from him (a goodly sized boar, youngish looking, but large), and we looked his way for a few moments. He gazed back and seemed curious, unsure, and not particularly motivated to do anything. I yelled at him a bit and clapped my hands, and he eventually ambled off the trail uphill and into the brush. We wondered for a minute if we should continue on past him or turn around. I kept looking up the hill where it was more open to see if he was climbing away from us but I could not see him anywhere.

    Based on not having any idea where he was, we turned around and as we saddled up I glanced over my should and noticed him back in the trail and walking towards us. "Let's go," I said and we pushed off at a "normal" pace. He broke into a trot and I said to Barny, "speed up." We started riding faster, luckily downhill, and as I looked back a few times I could see him running after us. He was visible for about 1/4 mile but there were some twists in the trail and we soon lost sight of him. He may well have gotten bored and stopped, but we did not slow down until we were well away.

    I see lots of brown bears each summer during my job, and I have run into bears before on my bike, but I have never been chased by a brownie. Some people I know here in Kodiak have been treed by bears in town, but it is not that common. I have had countless interactions with bears, but I really don't like it when they don't act "normal" and show some fear, or at least respect, of humans. I guess I gotta start dragging bear spray along for rides in that area now...
    I ride in an area where I see a bear or two every third ride up here in Oregon. However, they typically run from me. I would crap bricks if they took off after me. I would probably get mauled or killed. Bears are trained killers. Laugh. However, I'm not too worried about them because they seem so scared of me. As a matter of reality, I'm not afraid of any wild animal. If they kill me, I'm dead, and they are full. However, I'm not going to tango with either a cougar or a bear. Should I be scared of bears? Am I being an idiot?

    Jaybo

  14. #14
    dog's best friend
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    A couple of BC bear stories:

    A few years ago, I was cruising down the Riverside Trail near the Whistler dump, a favorite hangout for black bears. Rounded a sharp corner and rode smack into a healthy sized specimen. It yelped and bolted off into the underbrush and I yelped and jumped off my bike. Shaken, I yelled to the riders behind me in a couple of octaves higher than my normal voice "BEAR!". By the time they grouped behind me, the bear was gone. I encouraged someone else to ride ahead.

    On another ride, I again was in the lead on a doubletrack north of Pemberton. The trail was in a flat area with thick growth on either side. About 100 feet ahead, a black crossed the road in no particular hurry. I dismounted and tried to catch sight of the bear as my group caught up. An inner voice cautioned me not to continue riding. A few seconds later a couple of young cubs came into view on the trail side where mama bear had emerged, crossing over to her side where she was surely waiting in the undergrowth. We waited a few minutes until we were sure the bears had cleared the area and then continued riding.

    I will carry bear spray when biking in known bear habitat but I doubt that I would be able to use it in the case of a sudden encounter. Thus far we have been lucky but I would not be complacent. Any wild animal, no matter how habituated it has become, will be unpredictable in an encounter which threatens its comfort zone. So it is best to be sensible and alert in the backcountry..

  15. #15
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    Bear attacks rafter in Desolation Canyon on Green River

    I thought this was particularly interesting seeing as how the guy that was attacked is my neighbor. He was bit several times on each of his legs and scratched up here and there. All in all he's fine and is tremendously lucky to be alive.

    You hate to see stuff like this happen, but as wildlife’s habitat continues to erode there's bound to be more encounters similar to this. Be safe out there guys & gals.

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