When Bears Attack, Charge or Stalk Mountain Bikers... And Get Caught on Camera
A short internet history of big bears causing big problems
You know how it is; you’re out on the trails, doing your thing, tackling those berms, toning your steeze – whatever – and then you hear it.
You look behind you, knowing exactly what to expect and desperately hoping that you’re wrong, but nope, you called it, there’s an eight-foot bear standing right in front of you, ready to mess you up like Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant.
Sound familiar? No? Well it seems to be a more familiar trail hazard than you’d think. The internet these days is jam-packed with videos of mountain bikers riding away from bears – some of which seem more legitimate than others.
Could you bear the sight of a bear closing down on your bike? This lot dealt with it surprisingly well... Either that or got lucky.
Holy Sh*t! Grizzly Bear Encounter
"While I was running in Eastern British Columbia I came across a most affable of creature," the YouTube user writes. "This creature was in fact so social that it came over to greet me. I was not very impressed with its assertive display at hello and left quickly."
This one is proper scary! A dude is riding along in BC when he turns to his right to see a bear coming to meet him. He sped out of the area quickly and thankfully was able to get away.
If you look closely at the right moment, you can see that this is a grizzly bear, and that there's a second, smaller bear next to the mother. This dude is lucky to be alive.
Local mountain biker Brad Paras filmed this footage on his GoPro in 2013, saying: “My cousin Dan and I were charged by [this] grizzly sow three times.
“We were riding single track just outside of Jasper. I rode to the top of a hill and applied the brakes to wait for Dan and plan my descent. My brakes squealed a bit, then I heard a growl and looked to my right to see [the] grizzly bear charging at me.
“After careening down the hill a bit on my bike, I was able to distance myself from the bear. According to Dan the sow stopped on the trail where I had been standing.
“When Dan arrived on the scene, he created a distraction, which drew the bear to him. He managed to grab the bear spray from his bag in time to brace himself, but the bear stopped approximately 10 metres from him – just outside the spray’s effective range.
“Meanwhile, I worked my way along the bottom of the gully toward Dan so that I wasn’t alone in the rough bush. As I reached him, the sow and her cub charged toward us slightly once more before heading away in the direction that we had come from."
The chap in this feature is slightly less outspoken than the dude who filmed bear-scare number one.
“Just ran into a bear while biking sorry for the language I was sorta scared," he writes in his YouTube description.
This is a short and sweet entry. The dude in question is riding a trail when a bear jumps out on the trail in front of him, with no respect for trail maintenance or anything other than the fact that he’s running ten minutes late to meet up with his bear mates for the Bear-celona vs. Bear-yn Munich game. Sorry, we know, that was awful.
“It was a usual day" reads the YouTube description. “I decided tо cycle in the forest and to record my walk on the Gopro. To my great surprise, I met a bear, which hardly наброситься on me. Thanks God, I left alive due to the shots that thundered not far from that location!"
So, there are a few problems with this one. As you’ll notice in sentence two, he sets out on a cycle... but decided to record his walk? What is this chaos?! The next clue to the secret of this video, perhaps lies in the fact that ‘наброситься’ is not in fact a word.
The final clue, though, is that if you pause the video 34 seconds in, the bear that the footage cuts to looks about half the size of the trees it’s running alongside. Basically, if this video is legit, then monsters really do exist.
That’s not stopped it from getting over 14 million views on YouTube mind you...
Spotted From Above: Mountain Creek Bike Park: Bears On The Trail!
"Was riding down Alpine when a BEAR appeared in front of me. I narrowly avoided colliding with it.
"When I was back on the Cabrio Lift I looked down and saw that in fact there was TWO of them. Mama bear AND a CUB. Very bad - very dangerous! Not the sort of thing you expect to see while riding your bike!"
Well, if there's one way to avoid bears it's to spot them when you're on an uplift and maybe choose a different run! That advice came a little late for this dude who almost hit the bear, but here's hoping he warned others about the danger.
What Should You Do If You Meet a Bear on the Mountain Bike Trail?
First of all, don’t panic – just know your mountain biking bear safety! Your first thought might be to turn around and bolt if you have a close encounter with a black bear, but you’re actually better standing still, speaking softly to let it know you're human and backing away at a steady pace.
If the bear approaches, make yourself look big. Wave your hands above your head, and if possible carry bear spray that you can reach for if needed.
It’s unlikely you will be able to outrun the bear – particularly if it’s a grizzly – so these are the smart steps, and remember not to look it in the eye!
Experts recommend that if attacked by a black bear you should fight back and try and use pepper spray, while if it’s a grizzly, you should play dead and go into a defence ball, with your hands on the back of your neck.
You can also get a bike bell for your ride or shout loudly going round corners if you know you’ll be riding in bike territory.