By Mathew Schmor — As a camping and biking enthusiast, I have had my share of both black and grizzly bear encounters starting as a small child camping in the woods around Kenora, Ontario and my adult years on the mountain bike trails of Alberta.
In the writing of my Masters’ Thesis on Bear Deterrents and Mountain Biking, I was exposed to even more exciting and sometimes dangerous stories of cyclists and bears in the backcountry.
In general, the precautions for cyclists follow the recommendations given to hikers to avoid surprise encounters with bears. However, one needs to remember that on a bike you are often traveling faster. and at times quieter than those on foot.
Words of Advice
- On downhills yell out often, my go to is “Go Away Bear”
- On uphills remember to look up and scan the upcoming brush for movement
- Try not to gap your riding partner
- If you are off your bike during an encounter, it can offer good protection
- Travel in groups
- Make noise
- Do not look a bear in the eyes
- Back away slowly but do not turn your back on a bear
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Never approach a bear on purpose