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Whilst riding solo in Bent Creek I came across a bear on the trail on Lower Side Hill. I didn't see it as it was obscured by a bend in the trail. When I came upon it I was only around 20' away and I startled it. I hit the brakes and stopped. The bear as soon as it heard or saw me ran up into the woods and stopped 40' away and turned around to look at me. I slowly moved forward until I was passed it and then slowly built up speed and got the hell out lol.

Fortunately it wasn't a mum with cubs, well at least I didn't see cubs. It got me thinking that perhaps I should be carrying some spray or something when riding solo. The encounter did spook me a little to the point I'm not so comfortable riding out in the Pisgah / BC area solo anymore as it could have been a lot worse if the bear got aggressive instead of running.

So does anyone ride with sprays or other deterrents? Any suggestions?
 

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Meh, just make noise and they will run from you. Stand your ground if a female with cubs charges. Black Bears are deceptively fast and agile... If you can hit one in the snout with a $5 can of spray in the extremely rare event that you get charged then you are super human. Dogs on the other hand...spray is useful for them.
 

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Bear spray? For a black bear? In NC?

Fire some neurons, engage a couple of muscle groups and pedal your bike away. Problem solved.




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I do, but not everywhere and not all the time. The one place I do is Bent Creek, earlier in the season when mamas are a bit more protective of the cubs. And especially when I'm riding with kids. I'll also carry it if I'm bikepacking/backpacking and have more things like food that might be attractants.

I have a holder that allows me to put a can of bear spray in a water bottle cage.

For one, I want to know what can of bear spray costs $5. Cuz...

https://www.rei.com/product/154930/counter-assault-bear-deterrent-spray-81-fl-oz-2019

And also, the spray pattern is more of a fog. You don't have to aim at anything. Just point it in the general direction.
 

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I do, but not everywhere and not all the time. The one place I do is Bent Creek, earlier in the season when mamas are a bit more protective of the cubs. And especially when I'm riding with kids. I'll also carry it if I'm bikepacking/backpacking and have more things like food that might be attractants.

I have a holder that allows me to put a can of bear spray in a water bottle cage.

For one, I want to know what can of bear spray costs $5. Cuz...

https://www.rei.com/product/154930/counter-assault-bear-deterrent-spray-81-fl-oz-2019

And also, the spray pattern is more of a fog. You don't have to aim at anything. Just point it in the general direction.
It was an exaggeration. I run into mothers with cubs all the time. Sometimes you just have to turn around and ride a different trail. Once the family are all on the same side of the trail they will run.
 

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It was an exaggeration. I run into mothers with cubs all the time. Sometimes you just have to turn around and ride a different trail. Once the family are all on the same side of the trail they will run.
Until they don't run. I am more likely to carry the spray if the resident bears have had more opportunity to become habituated and if there have been lots of reports of activity and protective behavior.

I would rather have it and not need it than the other way around.

But then again, I don't ride like most, or for the same reasons.

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The key with adventuring in Bear prone areas is to make your presence known. Bears don't want anything to do with us and will always avoid people unless its an extreme case of malnourished bears, habituation to human food, young bears looking for new territory, etc.

That and I don't know how quickly you could pull, arm, and shoot bear spray if you absolutely had to.

I was bluff charged by a bear on a gravel ride once. I was riding quietly in the late evening, around a blind corner and she had two cubs in the middle of the road. Luckily she stopped short about 25ft from me but there would have been no way I could have used bear spray in that short span of time. She ran 50ft toward me in about 2 seconds...

When I see them now I yell and just throw rocks near them to scare them off. Hopefully that also teaches them humans = getting hit with rocks and they avoid the next one they see.

I DO carry bear spray hiking but mostly for crazy folks and I used to carry a little thing of regular mase (key chain sized) for dogs on road rides.
 

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The key with adventuring in Bear prone areas is to make your presence known. Bears don't want anything to do with us and will always avoid people unless its an extreme case of malnourished bears, habituation to human food, young bears looking for new territory, etc.

That and I don't know how quickly you could pull, arm, and shoot bear spray if you absolutely had to.

I was bluff charged by a bear on a gravel ride once. I was riding quietly in the late evening, around a blind corner and she had two cubs in the middle of the road. Luckily she stopped short about 25ft from me but there would have been no way I could have used bear spray in that short span of time. She ran 50ft toward me in about 2 seconds...

When I see them now I yell and just throw rocks near them to scare them off. Hopefully that also teaches them humans = getting hit with rocks and they avoid the next one they see.

I DO carry bear spray hiking but mostly for crazy folks and I used to carry a little thing of regular mase (key chain sized) for dogs on road rides.
Spray is great for meth heads and random dogs for sure. If a mother bear actually charged and you were lucky enough to hit it she would run through it like nothing happened.
 

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Spray is great for meth heads and random dogs for sure. If a mother bear actually charged and you were lucky enough to hit it she would run through it like nothing happened.
No doubt... the bear that charged me seemed VERY intent and I would only guess spray would have maybe slowed her down but not stopped her.

There is a strong and growing bear population here in WNC and no shortage of folks coming here to recreate. Its a good idea to keep your head up and your wits about you when you're in the forest. Remember the forest is their home, we're just visiting...

There is an interesting article on Adventure Journal about Bears v. Mtn Bikes...
https://www.adventure-journal.com/2...s-mountain-bikes-are-a-grave-threat-to-bears/
 

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If a mother bear actually charged and you were lucky enough to hit it she would run through it like nothing happened.
You sure about that?

Does Pepper Spray Actually Work Against Bears? | Time

the primary research referenced in the article:

https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2193/2006-452

Yeah, I've had a number of encounters with black bears in the woods over the years on bike and on foot (from UT to MI to NC) and they've all run away from me. But there's a chance they won't. I've also had a couple mt lion encounters (also in UT). Having worked as a wildlife biologist, I know better than many how to deal with these encounters. No, I've not needed spray in the past, but that doesn't mean I won't need it in the future.

I also have wilderness first aid training and carry a first aid kit with more supplies in it than the average rider. I also carry a little more in my repair kit than many. Sure, most of the time I don't need those things. But there have been a couple notable times I have. I view the bear spray similarly. I probably won't need it. But I might find it helpful sometime.
 

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You sure about that?

Does Pepper Spray Actually Work Against Bears? | Time

the primary research referenced in the article:

https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2193/2006-452

Yeah, I've had a number of encounters with black bears in the woods over the years on bike and on foot (from UT to MI to NC) and they've all run away from me. But there's a chance they won't. I've also had a couple mt lion encounters (also in UT). Having worked as a wildlife biologist, I know better than many how to deal with these encounters. No, I've not needed spray in the past, but that doesn't mean I won't need it in the future.

I also have wilderness first aid training and carry a first aid kit with more supplies in it than the average rider. I also carry a little more in my repair kit than many. Sure, most of the time I don't need those things. But there have been a couple notable times I have. I view the bear spray similarly. I probably won't need it. But I might find it helpful sometime.
My wife worked with them for almost a decade so yes. Relax man carry a can if you want.
 

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My wife worked with them for almost a decade so yes. Relax man carry a can if you want.
I'm plenty relaxed. I am also interested in avoiding exaggeration (in your case, exaggerating the INeffectiveness of bear spray, which you have done repeatedly).

A person's choice to carry bear spray is theirs alone, and that decision matrix will be different for everyone. But be honest about it.

No, it won't be useful in every situation (mostly due to time to access limitations). It may not have the level of effectiveness you want every time you do use it. But research shows a pretty high level of effectiveness so the odds are good that it will help if you do use it.

I choose to carry it when I deem the risk level high enough, or when I simply forget to leave it at home.

Part of the reason I avoid being totally silent on the trail.

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Serious question - has anyone ever been attacked by a bear in Bent Creek or the greater Pisgah Forest area?
Did a quick search:

https://www.google.com/search?q=bea...7iAhUsnq0KHQRUDTU4ChDy0wMIdg&biw=1442&bih=665

Attacks on people with injury - didn't really see anything. Digging in, I found a number of articles about bears getting into campers' food, some of which prompted temporary camping closures/prohibitions, food storage requirements in certain areas, and whatnot.

Bluff charges are somewhat common. I know people who have been charged by bears in the area within the past couple years.

Big thing I see is that land managers in the area are pretty diligent about posting info about heightened bear activity to get people thinking about prevention. They also fairly regularly promote "bear wise" behaviors (especially at home, but also in camp and on the trail), which help to prevent habituation and problems to begin with.

Like I said, I don't always carry my spray. I think about the risks and I choose when to carry it and when not to.
 
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