If you are mountain biking in the rockies, hear a growl and turn your head to see a charging grizzly sow, this is what it might look like:
This photo is a screen grab from the footage shot by the helmet cam of Brad Paras as he was riding in Jasper.
While mountain biking in Jasper, Alberta on August 4, 2013, my cousin Dan and I were charged by a grizzly sow three times.
We were riding single track just outside of Jasper town-site (9c) when the encounter occurred. 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 a 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, who was subsequently charged, 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 meters from him – just outside the spray’s effective range. Frankly, I’m glad we didn’t have to injure the mother in any way.
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.
We waited a few minutes, then walked away from the scene along the trail with bear spray in hand.
Here is the full video.
Brad and Dan did well to stay calm. I know the look that one cousin gives another at minute 3:03–a moment they will not forget.
This was clearly a defensive attack by the bear. She wanted them to go away and they did.
It’s hard to stay calm when you are involved in a bear encounter and easy to criticize actions in retrospect (I’m referring to some of the comments underneath the video). I understand the impulse. For a long time, I was obsessed with finding out what went wrong in the bear attacks I heard about. Maybe I thought that if I didn’t repeat the mistakes, I would be safe.
But, life is filled with risk, isn’t it? The chance of the getting hurt by a bear is small, while the risk of missing out on life because you are worried about a bear is huge. I hope Brad keeps riding.
Thanks for sharing your bear story, Brad.