Recently, bikers have become bear bait. There have been a couple of incidents that did not end well for the bikers. A biker in Big Sky was attacked by a grizzly that he surprised. His helmet took most of the chomp and may have saved his life. Recently another biker was knocked off his bike by a grizzly that he surprised. Bikers tend to move faster down the trails. This can be dangerous for critters, hikers, and bikers.
I talked with my Mountain Biker Guru Greg about the problem and here is what he said. “Most bear encounters are preventable. Bears fear humans and have no desire to mess with you but…if you surprise them or get between Mama and her cubs, you better have a plan. Here are some tips to keep you safe and bear aware!’”
Bike in groups the more bikers the safer. This is also true when hiking, fishing, or trekking in the wild. Feel free to talk, sing, and let the Bears know that a parade is coming through.
Use exterior music, not earbuds wearing earbuds takes away your ability to hear danger. Now I know there are some music fanatics that get into a zone. Attach a music system that is exterior and plays music for all to hear. Your ear gear is now able to hear the tunes and a growling bear. Other hikers will appreciate the warning that you are coming through.
Go at a reasonable speed. Light speed is not a requirement when biking. The real workout is when you are peddling, not cruising at high speed. Tractoring more slowly over irregular trails, rocks, and logs is safer and a more complete workout. It also takes skill.
Holster bear spray or guns on you and the bike. You need bear spray or protection on your bike and person. The bike is a good shield if needed but you may have been knocked away from it. Having bear protection that is quickly accessible is essential and could save your life.
Pay Attention Anticipate an encounter. Practice and plan what you would do. Understand that a blind turn is called blind for a reason. Slow down and observe what is always ahead.
Bike Better, Bike Smarter!
For more Montana Grant, find him rolling along at www.montanagrantfishing.com.