Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sharing my Tour Divide with Bears and Lions

There has been some lively discussion on (starting on pg 5, )about bear spray.

Naturally I chipped in with my 2 cents about mounting your spray on the bike so you could access, arm and shoot your spray before coming to a stop.  Ha-but it was brought up what if you were knocked off your bike before you grabbed your spray?  Well if a bear knocks you off your bike it would probably be too late to use your spray, but if you have it on 'you' at least you ‘might’ get a chance.

And I should have thought of this myself as the one time I used my SPOT to call in SAR the darn thing was still attached to my bike, 15 rocky yards above me, while I franticly dealt with a 8 inch bone deep gash. 

And my one heart stopping mountain bike ‘close encounter’ with a scared momma bear took place at less than 20 yards.  She had heard me coming down the trail at a high rate of speed--and had tried to scoot up a tree, just  like her cub had, but fell from about 15 feet on her butt-- and was then scared, embarrassed and pissed—all at me, gulp!!

Well I survived both situations but it got me to thinking.  (And unlike some fellow TDR racers I believe in being efficient rather than stylish, blasé, trendy or whatever)  So my thinking got me to order one of these to be tested and played with.

It’s a light weight running vest that looks prefect to carry bear spray in a secure yet quick draw location.  Also I plan to load it up with ID, money, toilet paper, phone, chap stick, sun screen etc. etc.  In the back I can occasionally add some extra water or food as needed.   Basically in addition to a bear emergency and extra/occasional carriage space, I want to have handy all the little things that one uses over and over and many times misplaces or forgets on the bike and have to walk back to retrieve.
Yes yes, I could have just used/modified one of my many backpacks but this one looks so trendy and cool…and as you know I try so hard to always be in vogue.....
Ha-and for sneaky mtn lions who like to attack from the rear-- I will just tape two of these eyes to the back of my helmet.

In all seriousness I do carry and regularly use a whistle, avoidance really is best.  But wild animals could care less what one's philosophical quasi-religion outdoor experience leanings are.  Just because one seeks to avoid an encounter is irrelevant to an animal.  Hopefully I will never need to use bear spray but if I am going to lug it around I will try to do so in the most efficient manner possible.

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